Candidate Journey Mapping: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

a picture of the step by step guide of candidate journey mapping

Sometimes, it takes us quite some time to make up our minds when we purchase something online.

We read reviews, we ask our friends, we Google the product or service, and we scroll endlessly through other websites.

Recruitment is no different.

When candidates apply for jobs, they are looking to build a certain level of trust with your company before they decide to click on “Apply”. Candidates go through various touchpoints and interactions with your company before, during, and after the hiring process.

This is called a candidate journey.

Now you may ask…

Why do I need one? And why is it important?

In this article, we will touch base on what is a candidate journey map, the stages of a candidate journey, and how to map out the best one for your company!

What is a candidate journey?

In simple words, a candidate journey reflects the set of experiences that candidates go through in their job hunting process. Basically, a candidate journey map is a visual representation of all the touchpoints that candidates have with your company during the hiring process.

Why is it important?

Mapping out a candidate journey is the best way to improve your candidate’s experience, as it will help you put yourself in your candidate’s shoes. Is the process smooth? Complicated? Lengthy? Or frightening?
Through this journey, you will be able to gather valuable information that can guide your recruitment strategy.

This way, you will also be able to better understand your candidate’s needs and tailor the type of content that you will use across various channels.

Stages of a candidate journey

a picture showing the stages of the candidate journey in the form of a pyramid

A great candidate experience doesn’t happen overnight. Candidates go through 6 different stages in the candidate journey. And at every stage, recruiters can approach things differently to influence the behavior, attitude, and experience of the candidates.

We’ve laid out the stages for you below:

1. Awareness: In this stage, candidates become aware of your company from either an advertisement, a referral, or social media platforms.
2. Consideration: In this stage, candidates consider your company, and begin researching more about your culture, environment, work benefits, and candidate reviews.
3. Interest: In this stage, candidates show a peak of interest and choose you amongst other competitors as their preferred employer.
4. Application: In this stage, candidates take the leap and begin applying to your open job vacancies.
5. Selection: In this stage, candidates go through your selection process right after their interviews.
6. Hire: This is the last stage, where candidates either get hired or rejected through a phone call or email.

How to map out a perfect candidate journey?

Now that we covered the basic behavioral stages of your candidate journey, it’s time to map it out. Every single stage in the candidate journey plays a pivotal role in whether candidates will turn or convert into potential candidates. To make it easier to visualize, we’ve broken them down into easier steps for you.

Step 1: Identify your candidate persona

a picture of a candidate persona

This is the stepping stone of the entire process. There’s no candidate journey without a candidate, right? Therefore, the first thing you’ve got to do is define and create a candidate persona. A candidate persona is somewhat of a fictional candidate that ideally represents what you are looking for. Here, you specify the skills, motivation, goals, personality, influencers, and the demographics that you expect to see in the candidate.

Step 2: Define your candidate’s needs at every stage

A picture of a girl looking on the laptop

Each stage in the candidate journey is crafted based on the wants and needs of your candidates. In this step, it would be wise to identify what drives the candidate’s behavior, thoughts and feelings.

1. Awareness: In this stage, candidates think “What does this company do?”
2. Consideration: In this stage, candidates think “What’s in it for me, if I join this company?”
3. Interest: In this stage, candidates think “What makes this company different from others?”
4. Application: In this stage, candidates think “Have they received my resume? How long do I have to wait?”
5. Selection: In this stage, candidates think “Am I qualified enough? Are they considering me?”
6. Hire: In this stage, candidates think “Yay I got the job! So…what’s next?”

Step 3: Determine the candidate’s touchpoints

A picture of an employee thinking of the candidate's touchpoints

This step is driven by your candidate’s needs. Here, you should discover all the potential touchpoints that your candidate persona might have with your company. We know that there are many touchpoints. But there’s no reason to panic!
Here’s a simple little trick. Put your candidate persona hat on, and ask yourself the following questions:

How and where would I hear about this company?

Where can I learn more about the company’s value and culture?

Where can I find the information I need to compare the company to competitors?

How do I apply to the position? Where do I go?

What should I do during the selection process?

What do I do if I get hired?

The answers to these questions will give you all the touchpoints that you need to focus on. The number of touchpoints are endless. Therefore, we suggest you learn more about how your candidates spend their time and how they browse the internet. Try to identify what sources they would use to learn more about your company. It might be through social media, a career page, your website, or other job comparing sites.

Step 4: Create a visual representation

A picture of employees creating a candidate visual representation

Now for the fun part!

In this final step, you will gather all the information that you gained from the steps above, and assemble them together to create a visual map of the candidate’s journey.

There’s no right way to do it. It all depends on your preferences. All you have to do is unleash your creative side and display the information in a way that is digestible, less complex, and looks best for you.

Whether you sketch it out on a whiteboard, splash some color and add some sticky notes, or go all out and print out a huge billboard – the ball is in your court!

That’s a wrap!

The candidate journey map that you just created will immensely help you power up the entire recruitment process. By anticipating how your candidates will feel and think in each stage and touchpoint, you will be able to ensure that your recruitment efforts are moving in the right direction. When you analyze every step, you will unravel various bottlenecks that might have missed your attention.

By crafting your own candidate journey map, you will be able to map out the strengths and weaknesses of your recruitment process and place your research findings into motion.

And you’re all set!

Good luck and have fun creating your own unique candidate journey map. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line!

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