The 6 Steps of the Candidate Journey
There are various points of the candidate journey when it comes to applying for a job, and it’s up to recruiters to ensure that each stage of the process is executed properly.
If one or more stages of the candidate journey are compromised – whether it’s down to attention to detail, feedback time or poor communication – could result in you losing the ideal candidate for a role you’re recruiting for.
Here, we look at the 6 steps of the candidate journey and how to improve the overall candidate experience.
Awareness is the first stage of the hiring journey where the candidate initially becomes aware of your organisation and the job vacancy they’re interested in. Awareness can first happen in many ways – they could see your job ad on a job board, a post from one of your recruiters on LinkedIn, or hear about your company through a friend or colleague.
The awareness stage being the first part of the process is what makes it so critical. If a candidate hears something negative from a friend about your company, or the job advert is poorly written, for example – you could lose the perfect candidate before you even know anything about them.
Ensure all your communication with candidates and clients is clear, concise, polite and friendly to minimise negative feedback. Proofread all your job adverts and social media posts to ensure they’re full of all the information candidates might need. The knock on effect of how you communicate with people online, on the phone and via email is crucial to improving the candidate journey.
The second stage of the candidate journey is when their interest peaks. They’ve done their research into the role and your company’s reputation as a recruitment agency in their sector. They might have connected with you on LinkedIn, or simply reviewed your company website and looked at candidate testimonials. When they’ve reviewed your job advert sufficiently and decided they’d like to go be considered for the role, their interest is far greater than it was at the awareness stage.
To improve this stage of the candidate journey, ensure that if anyone connects with you on LinkedIn who you think may be a great fit for a role you’re recruiting for, you send them a message introducing yourself and asking if you can help them in any way. Initiating the conversation is likely to speed up the next stage in the candidate journey.
The application stage of the process is key. Your candidate has found out all they need to know and they want to apply for the role you’ve advertised. They’ve taken the time and effort to find out what your client wants in their new hire, what the company they could potentially be working for is like, and what is needed to be successful in their application.
At this stage in the candidate journey, recruiters need to ensure that they’re doing all they can to help their candidate be successful. They know exactly what their client wants, so they will be able to best advise how to tailor certain aspects of their CV and emphasise particular skills and experience that their client will be interested in.
Giving this kind of advice and guidance is particularly valuable to candidates – they will know that they can trust you to sell them in the best possible light to the hiring manager.
The selection stage of the candidate journey is a particularly key stage, as not only will they be waiting to hear if they’ve been selected for an interview, but they could also be applying for additional roles or speaking to other recruiters. Although this isn’t the ideal scenario, it’s entirely possible – which is why recruiters need to stay in close communication with candidates during the selection stage.
Stay in contact with them via email, phone or text to keep them updated on when you’ve sent their details over, when the hiring manager is available and what the interview will probably look like. From there, you’ll be able to coach them through the whole process and give them tips and tricks on what your client is looking for. Keeping in touch with your candidates through this stage is vital to keep yourself and your role at the forefront of their mind.
One of the best ways to receive candidate referrals and positive testimonials is to stay in close communication with your candidates, particularly during the hiring process. If they have been offered the job and you’re negotiating salaries and benefits between your candidate and client, it’s the most crucial time to ensure every part of the process has been a good experience.
If, at the hiring stage, you are reluctant to negotiate a salary offer or ask your client for additional benefits at the request of your candidate, you could lose your candidate at the last hurdle. Be sure to be your candidate’s biggest cheerleader throughout the whole journey, because this could land you with even more candidates going forward, based on who they talk to about your level of service.
Similarly, the onboarding stage of the candidate journey is where you don’t want to lose contact with your candidate for a variety of reasons. When they’re starting their new job, you are their key contact to ensure everything is running smoothly and going to plan. If they have any queries or concerns, it’s likely they’ll voice them to you initially as opposed to their new manager.
Keeping in touch with them over the first few months of their new job will not only reassure them and help them settle in, but when the time comes for them to find a new job again in the future, they will most likely remember the excellent service you provided for them. Improving the candidate journey is about more than placing a candidate in a role – it’s about developing a long-term relationship with them, enabling you to work together again in the future.
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