Job Seeker Journey: A Framework to Truly Understand the Job Seeker Experience

Job Seeker Journey: A Framework to Truly Understand the Job Seeker Experience

«People ignore design that ignores people.» – (Frank Chimero)

Employers need to attract the best talent to achieve recruitment and business goals. By not truly understanding the job seeker experience, a significant amount of potential candidates are overlooked.

To help recruiters understand that experience and implement the framework known as the job seeker journey, this post will explore:

  • The importance of the job seeker experience to attract the ideal candidates
  • The job seeker journey concept as a way to better plan recruitment advertising campaigns

Why Recruiters Should Put the Job Seeker First

Options to reach job seekers have evolved all the way from the old “help wanted” ads to the state-of-the-art programmatic recruitment technology of today. But recruitment strategies have not always followed. Recruiters keep sticking to old, less efficient approaches for reaching job seekers.

The old recruitment approach centers around ‘requisitions.’ This reduces job seekers to  second place, with job openings focusing on lists of requirements and certifications. Job ads tend to neglect important aspects such as expected results, exciting challenges, and growth opportunities. As a result, recruiters end up attracting only active job seekers who might not be the best fit for the position.

To attract passive job seekers, recruiters should focus on the candidate first. Drawing parallels from “human-centered design”, recruiters can:

  • Understand the needs of the job seeker
  • Identify opportunities based on those needs
  • Generate ideas from those opportunities
  • Apply those ideas to attract the right talent toward the recruitment funnel

User experience is key: Application sites should not only be easy to use, they should also respond to questions about the adequacy of the job and the applicant’s interests.

Human-centered design puts the context and realities of the user first. Likewise, a human-centered approach to recruitment starts with the job seekers and keeps them at the heart of the process.

Job Seeker Journey: Candidate Experience Meets the Customer Journey Map

An important concept for the modern recruiter is that of the job seeker journey. This concept derives directly from what marketers know as the “customer journey.” The job seeker journey draws key parallels between the experiences of a company customer and a job seeker.

Usual implementations of the customer journey map include thorough descriptions, by means of a visual representation, of all the interactions between a customer and a company. The main goal of a customer journey map is to deepen the relationship between the company and its customers. This is achieved by detecting opportunities for improvement in the relationship.

The Job Seeker Journey Map: A Framework to Improve Your Recruitment [own figure]
The Job Seeker Journey Map: A Framework to Improve Your Recruitment [own figure]
Customer journey maps vary from company to company, but some common factors to their creation include:

  • User personas or customer profiles: each journey map should represent a single customer. It should serve to describe that person’s experiences, needs, and goals.
  • Timeline or stages of the journey: stages are highly dependent on the nature of each company’s products or services. They also depend on the customer’s perspective on each stage. Yet, the recommended format for journey maps is the chronological, left-to-right timeline.
  • Customer emotions or sentiment: customers’ anxieties, feelings, and other expressions of emotional state help define their journey. These emotions provide insights on pain points and opportunities to offer better products or services.
  • Experience across touchpoints: the specific interactions of the customer with the company provide valuable insights. These help close any potential gaps, improving the customer journey and optimizing the lifetime value.
  • Channels: closely related to touchpoints, channels describe where the interactions take place. These include websites, mobile, phone calls, physical locations, and more.

Recruiters can translate these and other elements of the customer journey map into the job seeker journey. To this extent, Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) are ideally suited to help employers. DSPs allow to plan recruitment advertising campaigns with the job seeker journey in mind.

DSPs provide key benefits that help recruiters increase campaign efficiencies:

  • Expanded audience reach: DSPs feature advanced targeting methods. These allow reaching job seekers where they are (location), in whatever activity they are engaging (behavior and interests), and across several channels.
  • Advanced control: DSPs features such as frequency capping, dayparting, and behavioral targeting, help to increase recruitment campaign efficiencies while keeping the context of the job seeker upfront.
  • Real-time optimization: the job seeker’s context informs the recruitment campaign. These external conditions provide real-time feedback to serve relevant job ads.

These benefits focus on putting the job seeker context first. Recruiters can devise efficient job ad distribution strategies by understanding the job seeker journey and its relevant touchpoints.

Recruiters can split the candidate experience into two phases: recruitment and retention. Each phase features corresponding journey steps:

  • Recruitment—in this phase the journey is optimized to get the right amount of qualified applicants. Careful branding and sourcing strategies drive optimal candidate experiences. The recruitment stage includes the following steps:
    • Awareness: job seekers find out about open positions through display ads, job board postings and/or text message ads. Employer branding plays a key role.
    • Consideration: job seekers start to consider about applying for the position. Here they get retargeting ads, email alerts or calls, and get directed to landing pages to apply for the job.
    • Application: job seekers become applicants and receive programmatic ads to drive their advance through the application funnel.
  • Retention—once job seekers become new hires, the retention stage focuses on other key metrics. These include lifetime value (LTV), quality-of-hire (QoH), time to productivity, and overall retention rates, among others. The steps involved in the retention step are:
    • Onboarding: new hires receive email alerts and bonus ads to offer extra benefits as part of the new position.
    • Advocacy: new hires can play an advocacy role to keep more job seekers entering into the application funnel. Programmatic engagement, referral, social, and content ads can help further this role.

Bottomline: Focus on the Job Seeker Will Improve Your Recruitment Process

Transfer of the customer journey concept into the area of recruitment can give a clearer insight into:

  • Who: Which job seeker profiles are usually interested in your positions
  • When: At what points in time are job seekers interacting with your application funnel
  • Where: Which channels are used by job seekers to apply for a position
  • How: Which states are they in during their application and which triggers result in action

The following post will expand on these stages, steps, and types of ads for each touchpoint.

3 thoughts on “Job Seeker Journey: A Framework to Truly Understand the Job Seeker Experience”

  1. Pingback: Job Seeker Journey (Part 2): Stages of a Job Search - Perengo

  2. Pingback: Evolution of Perengo DSP: The Programmatic Recruitment Platform

  3. Pingback: Best-Practices in Structuring Recruitment Funnels

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