If you’re familiar with the concept of the candidate journey, you’re probably aware of how crucial it is to provide an excellent hiring experience for candidates.
For those of you who are unfamiliar or need a refresher, here’s a quick definition:
the candidate journey is the way candidates perceive and react to an employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and on-boarding processes.
If you’ve been in the workforce long, you’ve likely had your share of positive and negative experiences in this realm – some companies get back to you quickly, guiding you throughout the journey, updating you on your status frequently; others accept your application never to respond – and even after you send a follow-up message, they still ghost you.
Not the best feeling, right?
I could make an educated guess as to which company you’d prefer to work for, and the majority of others would echo your opinion – according to a survey by Software Advice, a significant 63% of job seekers will likely reject a job offer because of a bad candidate experience.
Before we go any further, we’ll briefly review each stage of the candidates journey with examples of the actions taken in each one. We’ll then delve into why it’s important that you prioritize providing an excellent experience for candidates interested in working for your company.
Stages of the Candidate Journey
Awareness – a candidate becomes aware of your employer brand; a friend has referred them to your company, or they came across your advertisement on a job site
Consideration – a candidate decides they want to work for your company; they join your talent network or talk to one of your company representatives at a career fair about open positions
Interest – a candidate begins researching your company as well as your competitors; they check out your website and read your blog, or visit sites like Glassdoor and look through your reviews
Application – a candidate actually applies to a position within your company; they fill out an online application and send it in
Selection – a candidate moves through your selection process; your hiring manager and/or recruiters screen and interview the candidate
Hire – a candidate becomes your new employee; your hiring manager makes an offer, and the candidate accepts
Now that we’ve reviewed the stages of the candidate journey, let’s closely examine why it’s critical to provide a smooth, uniform experience for the candidates interested in working for your company. We’ll begin by telling a short story about a poor candidate journey from the perspective of the candidate. (img source)
The Candidate’s Story
A candidate comes across a job posting a recruiter from AnyTechCo put together on Indeed; it’s the first time the candidate has come across their employment brand, and after checking out the job description and requirements, they’re confident they could succeed in the role. Where do they go next?
They decide to check out their website first – the information they glean from the site lines up with what they saw on the job posting, so they reach out to an AnyTechCo recruiter and schedule a conversation.
Halfway through the conversation the candidate realizes the role described on the site doesn’t exactly match up with the position the recruiter is depicting – the responsibilities seem to be far greater than the job posting let on.
A slight feeling of uncertainty begins to creep in, and the candidate wonders – if the job description wasn’t accurate, how can I be sure that everything else I’ve researched about the company is?
Against their better judgement, the candidate continues throughout the journey, until the hiring manager makes an offer that’s 5k less than what the recruiter and the job description said the position would pay. At this point the experience has been so rocky for the candidate that they decide to drop out and pursue a position elsewhere.
Could you blame them?
As much as we’d like to believe that this isn’t a common occurrence, 60% of candidates report that they’ve had a negative candidate experience at least once, and 60% of employers have read online negative feedback about their processes.
An effective candidate journey lacks any obstructions or causes for concern; the candidate continues moving forward unworried because there’s no unexpected changes in the journey. This is what you want to aim for – the less diversions present in the candidate’s journey, the better the experience will be for them.
Next, we’ll move on to how a poorly-developed candidate journey affects your business’s branding and bottom line.
Branding and Your Bottom Line
A recent study found that 72% of candidates who had negative experiences had gone on to share their stories in person or online.
We all know that whatever’s posted on the internet will remain there forever, and that word of mouth from a trusted resource is an effective marketing tool. Negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Yelp stick around indefinitely – even years down the road, the candidates you failed to effectively guide through the journey will impact the number of candidates applying to your company.
Continuing with that, a study by LinkedIn revealed that 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. By not prioritizing the effectiveness of your candidate journey, your brand suffers, and as a result you severely limit the pool of talent candidates interested in joining your team.
This limited pool of interested candidates has a costly ripple effect on your hiring process – you can expect an increased time to hire, increased cost per hire, as well as less qualified candidates overall due to poor reputation and branding.
The goal of your candidate journey should be to make every candidate an ambassador of your brand, regardless of whether they get the position or not. Need more convincing?
An incredible 64% of candidates won’t purchase from or recommend a company after a bad recruitment experience. Don’t forget, your candidates are your customers too.
If the point hasn’t been driven home yet, you’ll reap countless financial and reputational benefits by investing time and money into perfecting your candidate journey, which we’ll talk about next week.
Check in next Monday to read our new article on how you can build a more effective candidate journey for your business and delight your candidates along the way.
If you’re in search of talent consulting or recruiting services and could use help determining your business needs, contact our team of experienced talent acquisition consultants now.