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One of the rapid developments in hiring over the last few years is around candidate experience (CX). The candidate's experience journey is the process taken by an individual as they apply and interview for a job. It starts when they first become aware of the job (perhaps through online advertising or word-of-mouth) and continues until after the offer is accepted or declined.
At each stage of this journey, candidates must feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. Candidates want to feel that you have a map for them to follow, that your company has a bigger vision that they can contribute to achieving, and that you want them as part of your team. This is why a candidate journey map/ template is so important. Candidates need to know where they are in the process and where they're going. Any ambiguity in this plan can lead to indecisive candidates and lost opportunities.
At a minimum, the candidate's experience journey should include:
1. A clear description of the job and what you are looking for in a candidate.
2. An efficient application process, including the ability to apply through multiple channels such as online, phone, and in person.
3. Interviews that provide an opportunity for the candidate to get a good feel for the company culture and expectations.
4. A timely decision process that communicates to the candidate their status in the hiring process.
5. Communication with the candidate during and after the application, interview, and decision process.
6. A positive onboarding experience that sets the foundation for a successful long-term employee relationship.
Why is the candidate's experience important? That's why.
A detailed candidate journey map can be a great way to visualize the hiring process and help candidates achieve an excellent CX. A candidate journey template that includes all of the previously mentioned factors looks like this:
- Pre-Application: This is the stage where you first come in contact with potential candidates. The pre-application phase includes things such as job postings, career fairs, social media campaigns, and other methods of outreach.
- Application: This is the stage where the candidate actually submits their application. This includes the collection of information such as resumes, job history, skills, and education.
- Selection: This is the stage where the candidate is screened and evaluated. This includes things such as referrals, interviews, assessments, and background checks.
- Onboarding: This is the stage where new hires are integrated into the organization. This includes things such as orientation, training, and onboarding paperwork.
That said, there are smaller steps within the overall map that a candidate must take to achieve team approval. Once an application has been submitted, a phone screen with someone from HR is usually the first step. Then, a hiring manager interview, a team (OR) panel interview, an executive interview, technical skills assessment, and finally reference checks are all part of the selection process.
By creating a comprehensive CX plan, you can ensure that every touchpoint along the candidate's experience journey is smooth, efficient, and memorable. This helps to create a positive experience for the candidate, which leads to better hiring decisions and improved employee retention. Pillar offers an excellent CX through our interview intelligence software and a suite of video interview tools. By utilizing Ai, we help companies make better hiring decisions and build better teams.
How do I improve the candidate experience? In this section, we're going to talk in-depth about candidate journey stages and give you a candidate experience checklist.
How to improve the candidate experience:
The candidate's journey is made up of a number of steps that should be taken to ensure a positive and successful experience for the candidate. These steps were mentioned above, but let's dive a little deeper into the specifics.
First, it is important to make sure your pre-application process includes all necessary information. This should include a job description, company background, contact information, and role expectations. Especially, expectations. Additionally, this is the time to craft a message that will encourage potential candidates to apply.
For the application process, make sure you are asking for only what is necessary and that all the questions are clearly worded. Additionally, make sure you are using an applicant tracking system that allows for quick and easy application submissions. We like Lever ATS as a place to start. Once the hiring manager has narrowed down the applications, the selection process begins. This is when you should select a team (or panel) for interviews and also consider using assessments to further narrow down the applicant pool. Pillar will serve you well in the process of selecting candidates as our Ai platform identifies things that human interviewers miss.
Next, onboarding is a vital part of the candidate experience journey. The best candidate experience examples include creating a welcome packet with all the necessary paperwork, setting up orientation to introduce them to their team and company culture, and offering training courses or mentorships to ensure their success.
Finally, the post-interview phase is where you should follow up with feedback for both successful and unsuccessful candidates. This will help create a memorable experience, and it will also help you maintain a good relationship with the candidate in case they decide to apply again in the future. Following the steps outlined above will help ensure a positive candidate experience journey and keep your company at the top of mind for potential applicants.
By taking the time to create a detailed candidate experience map and checklist, you will show your potential hires that you value their time and that you are committed to the success of their journey. In this way, you will create a positive experience that will help attract and retain top talent for your organization.
Side note: Creating a candidate journey map/template is the best way to ensure that candidates have a smooth and enjoyable experience throughout the recruitment process. A journey map allows you to plot out each step of the recruitment process, from pre-application to post-interview and gives candidates a clear roadmap of where they are in the process. This helps to eliminate confusion, reduce anxiety, and ensure a positive CX for potential hires.
So you're mid-hiring process, when do you reach out to the candidate? How often do you need to communicate with them to keep them engaged in the process? Candidate journey touchpoints are the key to making sure that each candidate feels supported and heard throughout the process.
Let's start with pre-application touchpoints. These initial touchpoints should be used to introduce the candidate to your company, its culture, and its mission. This is also a great time to show potential candidates why your company is a great place to work and what sets it apart from the competition.
Once someone starts an application, you should keep them in the loop as often as possible. This should include short emails or texts with updates and timeline expectations. If you are taking longer than expected, it's important to let the candidate know why and what the next steps are.
When it comes to interviews, you should be in regular contact with the candidate but also ensure that you aren't overwhelming them. You don't want to bombard them with emails, calls, or text messages. Instead, make sure to communicate when necessary in an organized and timely manner. Depending on how many steps there are in your interview process (we normally recommend 6- 7), phone screen, hiring manager interview, peer interview, panel interviews, executive interviews, assessments, and reference checks should all be included.
Finally, don't forget the post-interview touchpoints. This is the time to provide feedback on the candidates' performance and let them know either way if they have been selected or not. Make sure you are consistent and that you offer a good explanation for the decision. By effectively mapping out your candidate journey touchpoints, it will be easier to keep track of where each candidate is in the process and make sure that their experience is positive and successful.
Attracting top talent isn't hard, but it's not simple either. Having steps in place that define your candidate's journey from recruitment to onboarding will help you create a positive experience for all the candidates that apply for your roles and ensure that your company is seen as an employer of choice. And with the right candidate journey map and checklist, you can create a smooth, successful experience for all your potential hires.
Pillar's interview intelligence software is one of the top solutions to help your team create an excellent CX. Our solution uses Ai to uncover candidate insights that can help you make the right hiring decisions. With Pillar, you will be able to create an efficient and comprehensive candidate experience map tailored to fit your company's specific needs.
So start creating your candidate journey map today, and make sure to include Pillar as one of the steps in the process. Book your demo today to see how we can help you create an excellent CX!