What Is the Candidate Journey, and Why Do You Need It?

The experiences job seekers go through while looking for a job are the candidate’s journey. It begins before applicants start submitting a job application, and it goes on even after the applicant has been hired. Understanding the candidate journey helps in improving the overall candidate experience, reducing hiring costs and time, and building a strong business brand.


Candidates go through multiple stages in the candidate journey before they decide to apply for a job. In this article, you will learn about the candidate journey touchpoints and how to map a candidate journey.

Candidate Journey Touchpoints

Candidate journey touchpoints are six stages divided into two phases. One is the pre-application phase, and the other is the application phase. The first three stages come under the pre-application phase. This phase of the candidate journey includes all the interactions applicants have with your company before applying. For this, both online and offline options are available.

candidate journey

1. Awareness 

The initial stage of the candidate journey touchpoint with your business is awareness. They inform the potential candidates about who you are, what your company does, and what it’s like to work there. Candidates are still getting to know you at this stage. This could be done through jobs or by talking to your current workers.

2. Consideration 

During this stage, they might make further contact with your company, which will either advance them to the following round or eliminate them from consideration. It is critical to remember that the candidate may return from the consideration phase to the awareness phase. Everyone’s candidate journey is not linear, especially during the pre-application phase.

3. Interest 

At this stage, potential candidates are really interested in working for your organisation. This is the last phase of the pre-application process before applying. Potential candidates are likely to apply after they reach this stage unless something unexpected occurs, for example, getting a job offer from another company.

The next three stages come under the application phase. When the candidate starts filling out the application form, they enter the application phase of the candidate journey. This phase includes everything that takes place from the time a candidate fills out the application to the time the candidate hires or rejects it.

4. Application

Usually, the application process begins when applicants submit their application forms. The way you interact with the candidates throughout this phase will greatly influence how they view your company. The primary method of contact is face-to-face interaction. At this point, you have a great chance to demonstrate to potential employees what your business is all about and why they should work there.

5. Selection

The selection process starts immediately after the interview. Companies assess the candidates in this step based on the information from their interviews. The ideal candidate has to wait a long time as a result. The majority of businesses don’t talk to candidates that much at this point but still create touchpoints to improve the applicant experience.

6. Hiring

The final stage of the application phase is when candidates are hired or rejected. This stage is often the last step in the hiring process for recruiters. At this stage, the touchpoint is the call or email to inform the candidates of the decision. If rejecting a candidate, be sure to explain your decision. The candidate journey is improved by transparency in your hiring process.

Developing a Smooth Candidate Journey Map

The candidate journey must be mapped out in order to fully understand what the candidate experiences and what you can do to enhance the candidate’s experience. It can help you enhance the process to make sure you draw in the most qualified candidate, reduce the time it takes to hire, and lower your hiring costs. The following are the three steps for developing a candidate journey map:

1. Create a Candidate Persona

The first step in mapping out the candidate journey is to understand the ideal candidate. You need to be aware of whose journey you are mapping. Developing a candidate persona is one way to do this. The process of creating candidate personas is similar to creating customer personas. This involves thinking about and describing the ideal applicant. Multiple personas are acceptable to have for each job. You may explain whose journey you are charting for what job with the help of candidate personas. This is significant because the paths taken by various candidates can vary greatly.

2. Build a Framework

The steps and phases mentioned above should serve as the framework for your candidate journey map. This model is generally relevant since every candidate, regardless of where they apply, must go through every stage of the selection process. The needs of the candidates become the basis for each stage of the application process. You must consider these demands as well as the thoughts and feelings behind the candidate’s behaviour in order to map the journey. In 2023, the employment rate in the UK was 75.7%. By considering your candidates’ thoughts, you can gain a much better understanding of their journey.

3. Create a Candidate Journey Map

You must be aware of the points of contact between your business and the candidates in order to plan the journey. There are countless touchpoints that candidates may experience, particularly during the pre-application stage. It may be challenging to identify every touchpoint and the places where your candidate persona will be most helpful in this situation. Don’t forget to make a list of the channels where these interactions happen as you map out the touchpoints. Knowing where to contact each persona, at what step of the journey, and for what job is easier when you have a channel overview.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does the candidate journey matter?

Candidates and your company engage in a variety of online and offline contacts. Every time you engage with a candidate, you have the chance to deepen your bond with them and raise the probability that they will identify with your brand. However, these interactions can also go horribly wrong if you’re not careful. You run the danger of seriously damaging your employer brand, which may be very challenging to repair if any of these crucial interactions leave candidates with a bad impression.

2. What are the benefits of customer journey mapping?

The following are some of the most important benefits of the customer journey:

  • Improving the experience for customers.
  • Delivering better customer service.
  • Recognising the issues that customers face.
  • Perspective-taking for team members.
  • Increasing marketing assistance.
  • Raising sales and profitability.

3. What is the difference between the candidate journey and the candidate experience?

The path an applicant moves while applying to a company is referred to as the candidate journey. Thus, the candidate journey shows the entire procedure, from the start of the search for new challenges through the corporate decision-making process to the conclusion of the application process. The views and feelings an applicant gathers while submitting an application are referred to as their candidate experience. The likelihood that the candidate will apply for and accept the job offer increases with the positivity of these events.

Closing Thoughts

The candidate journey is becoming more important than ever. Even if you ultimately decide that you don’t have a place for them at the time, you still need to make your candidates feel secure, appreciated, and educated at every turn. Although the candidate journey touchpoints may differ from one firm to another depending on their hiring procedures, the candidate journey definition shouldn’t be too different. 



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