Why is understanding Candidate Journey so important?

As an business function, Staffing is making huge strides in the way we measure and evaluate our recruitment marketing strategies.  While efficiency metrics like time to fill and cost per hire are still part of the evaluation process, quality metrics that are tracking where organizations are finding their most qualified candidates and hires are becoming integral to strategic decision making.

However, even with these metrics there is room for growth.  Over the past few years, there’s a push to move past these static single source recruitment metrics (which are in my opinion the basic information a recruitment team should have at hand to ensure optimal performance) and move towards understanding all the sources and factors that influence a candidate to apply.  What is becoming known as “Sources of Influence”.

In a nutshell, and similar to the interactions an online consumer has with products to be consumed online, when a candidate applies, it is more than likely they’ve had multiple interactions with your organization.  In many cases, measuring a single source of hire (which more accurately is source of application) while helpful is overly simplistic and gives less insight into all the initiatives that influence a candidate to apply. 

Being able to measure a candidates interactions from the source of application to social recruiting interactions to career site pages viewed to communications with the recruiting team to the Google keywords they used to find your jobs to the email campaigns they interacted with in your network, there’s a number of data points that we can capture to give a better idea of all the initiatives that we spend time on that have a positive affect on a candidate’s decision to apply.

The technology and capacity to measure these interactions accurately doesn’t exist completely in the marketplace today just like retailers face a huge challenge to find tools that will enable them to track their customers journey in and offline as a whole to understand the impact of their advertising efforts.  It’s getting there and I expect there to huge strides in this within the next year.  The real question, however, is how would you use this new data effectively in your process and what value it would hold in understand candidate motivations better.


Understanding and Creating Candidate Buyer Profiles


For sales and marketing, we are constantly trying to understand the motivations and actions of the people that buy and don’t buy our products and services.  We record their interactions with our brand, social profiles, website, sales process, etc. to see how we can better engage and convert in our marketing and sales process.

Recruiting is very similar in this regard.  We need to be able to understand what drives the best candidates to apply for our job positions or in short, the key drivers of employer of choice.  From the recruitment sources that are most successful to the content that we create on the career site to the messaging used in email campaigns, we need to be able to track these interactions back to every candidate.  This will help us better identify the actions and sources that provide the most value in our recruitment marketing strategy.

Wink wink, Lean analytics and data visualization implementation.

So say we are able to capture and analyze the source of influence data on a candidate?  What then?  Well, first I think we need to identify what we determine to be qualified and split these candidates from the rest of the group and look at the results for all past jobs.  While it can be beneficial in the aggregate, you may also want to break up the data by job category and different candidate populations as well.

In looking through the data, you’ll get a better idea of how candidates initially came across your brand, whether that’s a job ad, through Google search, directly through the website or sourced by your recruiting team.  This can give you a good idea on the quality of source.  Second, you’ll start to form an idea on the interactions it takes for candidates to take action to apply for a job.  In most instances, it may be a quick turnaround where they come across a job and immediately apply.  But in others it may be a longer time period of relationship building through engagement via content, email or social channels.

The key here is to get some clarity on how your best candidates are finding and converting in your process, what messaging they interact with and the overall life-cycle before these candidates apply.  All so you can hopefully duplicate this success for future recruitment campaigns.


Better Target Current Candidates


While a lot of the value of capturing source of influence lies in retroactive analysis, source of influence should also help you determine fit in real time.

Once you understand better how you are attracting quality candidates, it’s time to use this info to better identify these candidates in your process.  Say you find that candidates that read your blog or engage with your email newsletter are typically more informed, have more interest in your jobs and are more likely to accept job offers if presented.  Within your recruitment technology, you should be able to filter and sort candidates that fit this criteria within your initial search.  This data can be very useful in coordination with the keywords you use to filter resumes for qualified candidates as well as the screening calls done by your recruiting team.

Candidate behaviors in this regard will help you identify interest and the level of engagement from candidates.  This can help you find qualified candidates that are more excited about the prospect of working for your organization that are more likely to become hires if made an offer.


Another Data Point in making better decisions


Source of Influence data will provide more insight into the candidates you are trying to attract.  Used in concert with key screening and filtering information through the process can provide a way to identify individuals that are qualified and have a serious interest in your organization.  In addition, it can help you determine the initiatives and campaigns you use in your strategy that have a real impact in getting qualified candidates to apply, give you a better idea of the overall candidate life-cycle and help you better understand the messaging and engagement that really matters to your best candidates.


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