Candidate journey

Improve Your Recruitment Process by Understanding Candidate Journey

A candidate journey is a 7-stage process that every candidate undergoes before they become a part of the organization. It is based on a psychological approach as well as technical ones. As a recruiter, you must understand that if you want your recruitment process to have top-notch performance, you must improve the candidate journey. While the problems of recruitment continue to knock at the door, we have plentiful solutions to knock them away. In this article, we will present the 7 stages of a candidate’s journey and suggest several ways to understand and improve that.  

What is a Candidate Journey?  

  • A candidate interested in a job role first gets to know about the company, decides if the job is right for them, evaluates their experiences during an interaction, and makes a judgment if they will work for the company or not.  
  • This entire process can be defined as a candidate journey. In fact, a candidate journey begins before the candidate applies for a job and continues even after the candidate has been hired.  
  • Understanding the candidate journey is crucial to improve the candidate experience as well as the entire recruitment process.  

What are the Candidate Journey Touchpoints?  

The touchpoints in a candidate’s journey are the several steps that go into making a candidate journey. It can be referred to as the point of interaction between the recruiter and the job seeker. Touchpoints help both the recruiters and recruits to envision the way a candidate journey will work.  

Positive touchpoint experience is important because it determines whether potential candidates will engage with the recruitment process or not. The different touchpoints in an online or offline mode of hiring are:  

  • Viewing your job advertisements  
  • Interacting with your career site and social media pages  
  • Communicating with a representative of a company at job fairs  
  • Applying for an online job  
  • Sending emails before and after the application  
  • Having feedback from candidates on the recruitment experience  
  • Other interactions  

7 steps of a candidate journey  

  1. Awareness 
  2. Consideration 
  3. Interest 
  4. Application 
  5. Selection 
  6. Hire 
  7. Onboarding 

The recruiter in these phases of the candidate journey needs to advertise the available job vacancies to attract passive candidates. They must grab the attention of job seekers, making them excited about the vacancies available and getting them to apply. 

Let’s discuss each of these steps in detail:  

  1. Awareness 

Awareness is a pre-application phase. In this stage, the candidate becomes aware of your company and tries to understand the experience of working there. In other words, this is the “knowing” part of a candidate journey. There are different ways that a candidate may across your company. It may be through job advertisements on a website they are visiting, social media platforms, or by talking to an employee that works there.  

  1. Consideration 

  • Consideration is the second step in the pre-application phase.  
  • The consideration step of a candidate journey is when the candidate starts considering if they might go ahead with the company that they came across. 
  • At this stage, the candidates may visit the careers page for additional information. They might even attend job fairs to meet representatives who will provide them with some knowledge about the company that they have just started considering.  
  • This is the stage where the candidate may either move in or move out of the candidate journey. This means that candidates may advance to the next stage or decline the idea of joining the company.  
  1. Interest 

  • Interest is the last step of the pre-application phase. it is when the candidate shows genuine interest in working at your company. 
  • Candidates at this stage are eager to apply for the job role until they are hindered by some other reasons like getting a job offer from another company or reconsidering their decision and giving up the idea.  
  • There may be several touchpoints at this stage like the candidate sending an email or dialing numbers to know more about the job. 
  1. Application 

  • Application is the first step of the application phase in a candidate journey.  
  • It starts when your applicants fill up the application form and submits their resume.  
  • After reviewing the application form and the resume, the recruiter may either decide to move forward or reject the candidate. 
  • In this phase, the candidate collects crucial experiences from the manner you include or exclude them from the recruitment process.  
  1. Selection

  • Selection is the second step of the application process in a candidate journey.  
  • Once the interview process is over, then comes the crucial decision of selection. A candidate undergoes a complete evaluation in this stage. 
  • Typically, there is not much interaction between the recruiter and the candidate at this level.  
  1. Hire 

  • With the choice being made, the candidate is hired! This may seem to be the last step of a candidate journey but isn’t so. However, it is the last step in the application phase.  
  • The touchpoint used at this stage is an email or a call delivering the good news to the candidate.  
  • Even if any candidate gets rejected, reach out to them too and provide a reason why they didn’t make it. This will bring candidates to acknowledge their weak points and work on them. Additionally, it will improve the candidate experience. 
  1. Onboarding 

  • Onboarding is the post-application phase in a candidate journey and is the most important part of the recruitment process. 
  • This stage determines if your candidate will stay after the probation period. 
  • Plan the entire onboarding process for the recruit if you don’t want to lose on them. Losing them would mean that all your time, efforts and money went to waste. 
  • Onboarding should be conducted by different people from different departments. For example, one HR member and one team member may carry forward the onboarding experience. 
  • A candidate with good onboarding experience feels welcome and is likely to stay within the organization. 

Mapping out and Improving Your Candidate Journey  

Charting Candidate Personas 

  • Understanding your ideal candidates is the first step to charting your candidate journey. 
  • It is important to have a vision regarding how your ideal candidate should be and how they might interact with your company. 
  • Knowing a candidate’s journey is vital to have an understanding of what touchpoints will be used by the candidate at each step of the journey. 
  • Charting the candidate persona will help in realizing what factors are affecting the candidate’s behavior, attitude, and experience. 
  • As each job may have multiple personas, different candidates may have different journeys.  

Improving the Candidate Journey Touchpoints 

We already have been introduced to the candidate journey touchpoints or the 7 stages of a candidate journey in the article. 

Now, let us understand how these steps may be optimized to improve the candidate journey. 

  1. Awareness – Through advertisements, you may grab the attention of job seekers.
  2. Consideration – The representatives of the company should be prepared with ample information for the candidates they are likely to meet at job fairs.
  3. Interest – Recruiters should display eagerness in answering calls and responding to emails sent by a candidate interested in a job role.
  4. Application – To improve the candidate journey touchpoints, canceling unnecessary portions of the application form can speed up the application process.
  5. Selection – As a recruiter, you can improve this step of the candidate journey by generating touchpoints. For example, if the selection process is delayed, you may send them an email thanking them for their patience and also mentioning the time that they may get back to you.
  6. Hire – As already explained, by sending an email affirming the positive or negative news about the selection of the candidate, you can make the candidate journey more effective.
  7. Onboarding – To know how you can improve the onboarding process, read this article. 

Making the Recruitment Process Candidate-Centric 

  • The entire recruitment must be candidate-centric. in other words, you must have the candidate’s needs and experiences as a priority above all. 
  • To make the recruitment process candidate-centric, do not simply focus on the experience but also build long-lasting relationships with the candidates.  
  • Keep the interaction going even if the candidate isn’t hired.  
  • This will have a positive impression on the candidates and even if they quit before the recruitment process is over, they might even consider joining your company in the future or suggest referrals that will be quite useful. 
  • Make the application procedure an easy-to-go process that will keep the candidates engaged. Since you are putting an applicant’s needs first, you must manage candidate expectations by providing them with a realistic preview of the job offer. 
  • Do not stretch the interview process and evaluate the candidates both on a structured as well as a behavioral interview process. 
  • Make sure to request feedback as feedbacks go a long way in improving the candidate’s experience and the candidate journey. 
  • However, make sure you are not overemphasizing candidates while you trying to keep the recruitment process candidate-centric. 

Building a Strong Employer Branding 

  • The company brand is crucial for a candidate. 
  • As per reports, 3 in 4 job seekers (75%) consider an employer’s brand before applying to a job role.    
  • Similarly, according to a report by Randstad, 50% of candidates declined to work with a company having a bad reputation, even if their pay was increased.  
  • Therefore, it’s vital to consider what aspects of your company will the candidate consider before deciding to make the first interaction. 
  • Therefore, working on the touchpoints, be it career sites, advertisements, emails, etc, is extremely essential. 

Making Candidates Experience What it is Like to Work in Your Company 

  • Apart from communicating what the company’s core values are, how your team functions, and details about the work culture, it will be quite exciting for the candidate if they can have a realistic preview of the job role. 
  • A job on paper and a real-life job are quite different. One cannot estimate what a job may entail by simply going over the information. 
  • In such a scenario, candidates may find it hard to envision themselves in the role. 
  • This can be sorted out through live chat simulation modules, an experience offered by some recruiting agencies, that will help applicants get a taste of what it is like to work in a company of their choice. 

How Hiring Management Tools can Help? 

Hiring tools can aid the candidate journey by improving the candidate’s experience.  

Applicant Tracking 

The Applicant Tracking System tracks applicants right from when they apply, spanning interviews to their final selection. It helps in evaluating the performance of the candidate and also provides insights into the recruitment process. With this hiring tool, a candidate journey can be streamlined as the recruitment cycle can be shortened helping candidates move forward to the next steps of the hiring process. ATS communication tools prove immensely useful when it comes to sending candidates automated emails thereby keeping candidates in the loop and improving the overall candidate experience and candidate journey. 

Communication and Collaboration 

Ineffective communication can lead to ineffective collaboration. A robust recruitment management software like HireMe can help with that. A hiring software integrating with communication tools is the ideal way of managing interactions. A team communication tool in a hiring software can connect employees and improve relationships. Additionally, it will also help in collaboration thus helping more people to work as a team together and finish the task appointed. 

Data-driven insights for better decision-making to improve the recruitment process 

Data-driven insights are extremely crucial if you want to be more efficient, reduce costs and improve your overall hiring process. Data-driven insights are about hoarding tangible facts to create hiring plans and make hiring decisions. A talent management software like HireME will help you in tracking channels that help source candidates. You will also have insights to work in key areas where you need to speed up the time-to-hire or solve hiring issues. There is more as you can even benchmark and forecast your hiring process. Having insights will impact the candidate journey positively. 

JD creation- AI-enabled 

AI in a recruitment management software like HireME refers to artificial intelligence that with predictive analysis can help in automating recruiting processes. AI improves candidate experience by focusing on real potential and reducing bias. AI also helps in conducting remote interviews which is helpful for both the interviewer and interviewee. The technology is also useful in creating job descriptions. AI-enabled recruitment software makes it easy for job seekers to apply for open positions and has direct communication with the organization. 

Pre-employment tests or screening tests and results 

HireME tests the true potential of the candidates and helps in determining if they are a right fit for the company by conducting cognitive aptitude skills tests or job skills tests. Such a recruitment platform can be utilized to screen and filter candidates down the recruitment funnel. Pre-employment tests can help speed up the hiring process and gain insight into the productivity and performance that the candidate is likely to bring to the organization. 

Final Thought! 

Once you understand the candidate journey, it will be easy to improve the candidate recruitment process. As this article highlights several ways of understanding the 7 steps, you now have ample idea of how you may make recruitment processes work better and faster. Additionally, if you use hiring software like HireME, you will discover candidates not only applying to your positions but also that you can retain candidates more efficiently. With that we can say, you are all sorted! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How do I improve my candidate journey?  

You can improve the candidate journey by making the recruitment process candidate-centric. You can also make improvements by charting the candidate persona, building the employer brand, and using hiring software like HireME. 

Why is the candidate journey important? 

The candidate journey is important as it helps the candidate progress from the initial steps of awareness, and consideration to the advanced stages of selection and hiring. The recruiter needs to take due care of the candidate journey by improving the recruitment process. 

What are 3 areas that the candidate could develop or improve? 

The three areas that the candidates could develop are time management, organization, and cooperation. 

How can we improve the recruitment and selection process? 

One way to improve the recruitment and selection process is the adoption of recruitment management software like HireME that will leverage your overall hiring process by lowering costs, reducing time to hire, and several other advantages. 






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