The Candidate Experience is Interactive not Linear

Much has changed in the candidate experience since the early internet and classified ads days. Not only is it easier to track and capture recruitment metricsfor all the recruitment sources you use but from a candidate viewpoint it’s becoming less and less straight forward.


Let’s take a look back.  Early on when candidates apply it was a very linear process.  A candidate found a job they were interested in.  They applied either via the web or sent in their resume and/or job application.  And then they waited until the recruiting organization got back and hopefully gave them an interview.  There really wasn’t much to do other than apply and wait.


Now, let’s look at today.  Once a candidate clicks through a job and get to your Career Site, there is a lot they can do.  They can apply for the job.  Search for similar jobs.  Sign up for job alerts.  Join your Talent Network or Community.  View Employer Branding Videos.  Read your Careers Blog.  Follow your social channels (and maybe RT you or click on a link).


Sure, the linear process still happens for some candidates but today they have a lot more options.  And let’s face it, more likely than not, they are doing one or more of the things above before and after they apply.


So the real question is, how do all these actions affect a candidate applying for and most importantly becoming a hire for a position?


Tracking Candidate Touchpoints and what you might be missing

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m pretty amped about this idea around Candidate Touchpoints.  I’ve wrote about it in the past (which you can view here) and I won’t go into in depth here.  However, in short, companies are trying to find ways to track all the influencers that trigger a candidate to apply whether that’s a job board, pages on the Career Site, social channels, branding videos, etc.  It is in understanding what best drives applications that can help organizations reduce cost per hire and overall return on investment.


While I won’t talk about all the Candidate Touchpoints, I do want to go over some places that I’ve seen where companies are missing out the most in capturing this important data on candidates.


Here are some data gaps that I’ve seen in a number of organizations:


Source of Application (or Hire): I know I sound like a broken record but it’s really important that you capture your hire data.  For every candidate that you hire, you should at the very least be able to track the source of application (i.e. the source that they came into the application from).  There are a number of recruitment technology solutions that can help you integrate with the ATS to ensure this data is correct and be able to pull this data into a usable format.

If you don’t capture or know this information today, you need to research how you can do this with your current technologies or find a way to do it externally.

Career Site Source Tracking:Many organizations do a great job of tracking what pages and content is providing the most views and traffic.  However, the one place they most often fail is tracking the entering source.  And even if they do track this, there is usual a disconnect if and when a candidate leaves the landing page and views other pages on the site.

For instance, a candidate clicks through for a job on a Career Site because they thought the job title fit their qualifications.  They get to the job page and realize they have too much or too little experience.  At this point, they either close out the website or try and find a job they are qualified for.  So let’s say conduct a search for similar jobs, join the Talent Community, view some recruitment videos on their discipline and/or ultimately apply for another position that suits their qualifications.

What you really want to do is track that whole session for the candidate.  In most scenarios, however, companies are only tracking the source for the first position and that the candidate dropped off in the apply process.  The second position that they applied for is tracked but the initial source is lost and replaced most likely as just came in from the “Career Site”.

For comprehensive tracking, organizations should strive to capture whole candidate website sessions and understand what sources and jobs are driving candidates to the Career Site and the specific outcome from those visits.  Better yet, companies need to try to link candidate sessions together so if they don’t apply today you will be able to track when they come back and apply.

Qualitative Data:While the quantitative data is great and you need to set up an infrastructure to capture it, qualitative data can provide great insights into the candidate experience that numbers just can’t do.  One of the best ways to collect this data is through surveys.  Survey the people you hire to determine what had the greatest impact on them applying and accepting their offer.  Survey candidates that joined your Talent Community but failed to apply for the position they came in from.  There are a number of ways to capture this data and learn where your candidate experience is strong and where it needs improvement.

Those are some of the areas that I feel are missed opportunities for companies to better understand what’s driving their recruiting results.  If you have any more, please share them in the comments.


Interactive Candidate Experience

Today’s candidate experience is interactive and that’s a good thing.  It’s a way to differentiate yourself and your employer brand from the other companies going after the same talent.  It also ensures that a candidate that drops off the process isn’t necessarily lost.


Let’s face it, many of the candidates that view your jobs probably won’t apply today.  However, it is through all the other aspects of candidate experience (content, communities, social, etc.) that can keep candidates engaged and help bring them back to apply to your company.


The key is understand the activities/content/sources that drive applications and most importantly hires into your organization.  With these metrics and takeaways you can improve your process and overall candidate experience.

Views: 303

Comment by Lauren Smith on March 29, 2012 at 10:16pm

Great article Chris.  You might like a similar article I wrote on the topic of candidate's experience.


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