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What Is the Candidate Hiring Journey?

As a talent acquisition professional, you use a combination of tools and methods to attract a variety of applicants and select top talent to fill a specific role. However, job seekers facing the same journey have a very different experience. Any candidate seeking a new position is facing a significant life change that will likely have a dramatic effect on their future. The interactions they have with your brand during the hiring process will help them determine whether your organization is the right fit for their career. The candidate journey is the experience a potential candidate goes through when looking for new job opportunities. When you get a firm understanding of this journey through the eyes of your ideal candidate, you can create an exemplary candidate experience that will help you streamline your company's hiring process and achieve recruitment success.

The Candidate Journey Map

Recruitment is an essential part of keeping any business afloat, and finding the ideal candidate is no easy task. As a result, the hiring process is often slow and costly. When the average cost of hiring a new employee is around $4,000, recruitment efforts often focus on volume instead of quality. By getting a clear image of the journey from your ideal candidate's point of view, you can pinpoint inefficiencies and bottlenecks in your hiring process.

A candidate journey map is a visual representation of every touchpoint your ideal candidate has with your brand during the hiring process. By mapping the hiring journey, you can determine what is missing from the candidate's point of view and reasons that your selection process may lead to frustration for potential employees. These tips can help you create an accurate representation of the candidate journey.

  • Identify your ideal candidate. By creating a candidate persona, you can get a better idea of the methods that will best meet your candidates' needs and concerns when considering your organization.
  • Review your current recruitment process. List the steps in your current recruitment funnel and consider each step from your ideal candidate's perspective. Note areas for improvement that will deter under qualified candidates and target those who are qualified to fill a specific position.
  • Consider where the candidate journey actually begins. While your job advertisement generates awareness of an open position, it's important to recognize that 75% of job seekers consider an employer's brand before even applying for a job. Determine whether you need additional materials, content, or tools to meet the candidates' expectations with your branding.
  • Define the stages of the candidate journey. Similar to the consumer journey when purchasing a product, the candidate journey includes specific stages that can serve to lead potential employees toward your company or push them away.
  • Identify touchpoints to provide a great experience during each stage of the candidate journey. When surveyed, 58% of job seekers said they've declined a job offer due to a poor experience with a potential employer during the hiring process. By creating engaging and informative touchpoints during the process, you're more likely to meet the expectations of your candidates.

There's no right or wrong choice when it comes to the type of graphic visualization you choose to represent your candidate journey. Your candidate journey map can be any chart, graph, timeline, or infographic that incorporates all the information you've gathered into an easy-to-digest format.

Steps of the Hiring Journey

The candidate journey begins when a potential candidate becomes aware of an available position, and takes them through the stages that could lead to acceptance of the role. While the candidate journey will vary by industry and each unique organization, you can expect candidates to experience these basic stages.


There are a variety of ways that both active and passive job seekers may become aware of your job opening. The most common strategies to raise awareness are postings on job boards, social media posts, relevant content provided by your company that includes a link to your website's job openings page, and referrals. To attract and engage relevant candidates, refer to your ideal candidate persona, and don't be afraid to think outside the box with engaging tools like going beyond text job descriptions and generating engaging content with tools like Lumina's video job postings.


After candidates become aware of your job opening, they'll seek information about your company to consider relevant factors about your brand. Strong employer branding practices can help you provide engaging and informative content about working within your company. During the consideration stage, your candidates will attempt to get a better sense of your organizational values, mission, work culture, and benefits.


If you've managed to create an engaging and attractive profile of your company, your ideal candidate begins to seriously consider taking steps to pursue the position. At this point, the candidate has likely visited your professional website as well as social media platforms. This can be a great time to highlight benefits packages and connect with the candidate to answer any questions or address relevant concerns.


This step is crucially important. If your application is overly complicated or confusing, it can deter candidates from finishing the process. The best applications are short, clear, and mobile-friendly. In fact, 60% of candidates quit an application that takes too long to complete. Ensure your application isn't long-winded or repetitive, and make sure all links are active. Including an extra step that acknowledges every application received and addresses the applicant by name, can provide a personalized touchpoint that candidates will appreciate.


Poor communication during the application process can cost you top talent and damage your company's reputation. When surveyed, 77% of job applicants revealed they've been ghosted by a prospective employer after an interview.

When a qualified candidate submits an application they need reassurance that you're interested. Keep top talent engaged with a variety of touchpoints that provide information about the position, your company's culture, how the company is structured, and perks that come with the job. Encourage questions and answer them promptly.

Take the time to follow up with candidates that were not a good fit for the role. For a job seeker, a genuine response provides an improved experience in comparison to waiting endlessly for a position that is no longer available. This type of personalized communication can lead to good reviews that help boost your employer brand.


When the big moment arrives to offer the position to your top candidate, ensure you're prepared to provide any additional information necessary to seal the deal. At this point, you should have established a relationship with the candidate. Set aside time to address any lingering concerns about the role and ways you can address a potential decline.


A high-quality onboarding experience is the most effective way to get your new employees off to a good start. 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience great onboarding. Your structured onboarding process should introduce coworkers, provide a chance for the employee to settle into the role, and provide a clear vision of the potential career path the position provides. 

How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience

Developing a process that helps you envision the candidates' point of view can vastly improve your hiring process and eliminate poor recruitment practices. After you've created a candidate persona and created a candidate journey map, use these tips to help you fine-tune your strategy to deliver a positive candidate experience.

  • Create clear job descriptions that accurately reflect the requirements and qualifications for the position.
  • Make it easy for candidates to apply for a job.
  • Make your application process obvious and keep it to one page when possible.
  • Use names instead of candidate reference numbers.
  • Provide engaging content on your website, social media, and other points of contact.
  • Perform an in-house test run on your application.
  • Acknowledge receipt of all applications.
  • Give candidates information about what to expect during each stage of the process.
  • Communicate frequently to share relevant information. 
  • Be transparent about your timeline.
  • Provide multiple points of contact.
  • Be open to giving and receiving feedback.

Understanding the Hiring Journey to Achieve Recruitment Success

Your hiring process does more than funnel potential employees into your hiring office. It provides potential employees and customers a clear view of your organizational values and the way you're most likely to treat employees after they're hired. By providing a positive candidate experience, you can build your employer brand and generate relationships that will improve your future candidate network. 

In today's competitive hiring market, it's essential to develop engaging content that helps you attract top talent. At Lumina, we offer an intuitive platform that bridges the gap between HR and marketing to provide high-performing companies with instant videos that focus on recruitment, HR, and employer branding.  Lumina can help you create an engaging candidate experience, try it for yourself today.