The journey candidates take when job hunting is very similar to the one customers go through when looking to purchase a product or a service. Just as customers assess and weigh all options from different sellers before actually deciding to buy, candidates go through several stages and are exposed to different organizations and opportunities long before they become active job seekers.
As a company that’s making its way through a very competitive, candidate-driven market, you need to carefully identify these stages and how prospects interact with each one of them. That way, you’ll be able to create the right content to meet candidates’ expectations every step of the way and drive them towards you.
The Journey and its Stages
The candidate’s journey starts when they experience a professional discomfort with their current job or when they become aware of the need for a new job. At this point, candidates are simply having second thoughts about their current professional path—and might not actively be looking for a job.
Once candidates have fully defined their needs and professional concerns, they start looking for new opportunities, searching the market and being exposed to the many brands that come their way. After exploring several opportunities, candidates submit their applications and eventually meet with different organizations, hoping to be a good fit for the role.
The Journey and Your Brand
Throughout their journey, potential hires go through many stages that determine the next step they’ll take towards the final goal: being hired. What can you do to make sure they’ll stay with you until the end of the journey? Here’s how to create and convey a compelling message that will ultimately draw them in:
Define your candidate persona. A candidate persona is a representation of your ideal candidate based on data you’ve curated. Identifying the traits, characteristics, motivations, and interests of your target audience will help you create the right content to address their concerns at every stage of the process.
The key is to stay ahead of the curve and give them answers before they even start asking questions. Is your company’s culture right for them? How can candidates experience what your corporate culture is about? Do you promote career growth? And if so, how can you make sure they know about it? Remember to address their doubts and minimize the obstacles they may encounter along the way and that may cause them to get off course.
To help define your candidate persona, you can survey your current employees or lead market research with professionals that have similar roles. Look for things like what made them explore new career options, the reasons behind applying to a certain job (or giving up in the middle of the process), what aspects they’ve enjoyed the most (and the least) from their previous jobs, or what kind of tasks they’d like to take on (or hate doing). This will allow you to collect the necessary info to create your candidate persona and to select the channels and message you’ll use to connect with all the potential candidates out there.
Identify touchpoints. Touchpoints represent all the specific moments where candidates connect, interact, and engage with your brand. They are opportunities for candidates to get to know your brand better and to connect with it. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common touchpoints:
• A Google search;
• visiting a company’s website or career site;
• reading reviews about your company;
• social media posts;
• finding your job ad on a job board;
• filling out an application form; and
• email, phone, and in-person contact, such as interviews.
Once you’ve identified all available touchpoints, you will know when and where you should reach candidates and what type of content you could offer them, so you can meet their expectations and lure them your way each step of the process.
Track candidates’ behavior. Every time a candidate gets in touch with your brand, their perception of your company will influence the actions they’ll be taking next. From a search result on a job board to an ad on a social media platform, all the channels your company uses to connect and reach potential candidates drive a reaction–whether a positive or a negative one–that can help you understand candidates’ behavior throughout their journey.
Tracking down these actions–the amount of people who viewed the job ad, the amount of people who clicked to apply (intent of apply), and the number of applications you actually received–and comparing all related data will allow you to assess how candidates feel about your job ads and your application and hiring processes. Then you’ll be able to evaluate whether you’re sending the right message at the right time to engage and motivate them to join your team.
Long Story Short
Every time a candidate is exposed to your corporate image, it shapes the choices they make and ultimately transforms their whole journey. It's up to you to be at the right place and time and to portray your brand in such a way that it gets candidates’ attention and engage them for good.
Nany Indriago / NEUVOO
Content Marketing Strategist