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How to create a candidate journey

What in the world is a “candidate journey?” It is simply a candidate’s experience from the moment he/she interacts with the company (e.g. visiting your company’s website) all the way through offer acceptance or candidacy rejection. Before I continue, I must preface that this article is really meant for earlier stage startup companies, with a very lean HR & Recruitment team. With that in mind, below are 3 things to consider when creating your company’s candidate journey.

Company values

There are tons of companies out there with a great product, amazing overall compensation package and a beautiful office. So what makes your company stand out? Why should anyone work for you? That is certainly something you want to discuss with your executive team. Your products may evolve, and your business strategies may pivot, but “the why” should never change. I typically call “the why” your company values. I would recommend your team coming up with 2 to 3 values your company will always hold on to. Once you establish your company values, you can begin to create a company message and selling points.

Online presence

The likelihood of a good candidate going to your company website and applying for a job is rather slim, especially if you are an early stage startup. You may want to advertise your jobs via various online social channels - SmartRecruiters, LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor - in addition to your own company’s careers page.

Now that you have your company values nailed, you can create a story as to why people should work for you. Painting a clear picture of what candidates are getting themselves into is very important. For example, you may want to post pictures of your team, how work environment looks like, or very descriptive phrases as to what it’s like to work for you. Since candidates only know the picture you paint, be sure the picture matches with reality. I had a client who wanted to message his company as a “work hard play hard,” “young energy” and “highly collaborative” company. In reality, the company was a “work hard and work even harder” that honored a strictly business attire environment. While you can still hire great people, when a candidate experience is incoherence with what was portrayed, you compromise a part of your company’s integrity, and ultimately hurt your company’s recruitment brand.

Offline presence

I lightly touched upon this in my previous point. Whatever you message online, it should match what your company is like in real life. And that’s why it is important to build the online presence based on your company values. If you are an early stage startup company where people truly work hard and play hard, show that in real life. Don’t be afraid to show candidates your flying drone in the office, or your full size stove in the kitchen because you practically live there.

Another point about offline presence is the interview itself. If your company values people, how will that reflect in the way you architect the interview process? Are you going to have candidates wait for 2 weeks before even replying to their application? Are you going to have a candidate go through insane number of hoops before making a decision? Are you going to come across cold at any stage of the interview process? How do you want this candidate to walk away feeling? Again, your company values should be the anchor to the answers to those questions.

Hopefully you find my post helpful. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any feedback or comments as well.


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