The Ultimate Guide to Candidate Experience


The Different Kinds of Candidates,
The Candidate Journey Funnel
& Experience Pain Points

Candidate Journey


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There might be a specific reason for you to want to get candidate feedback. You could be underperforming in one particular phase of your candidate journey. For example, your candidate retention in-between rounds of interviews could be alarmingly low: during the selection phase, most selected candidates would not respond to your invitation to come to the 2nd round of interviews. That is the thing that would damage you the most and, thus, the one to focus on.

Let me mention one last thing before we dive deep into the candidate journey. Not every candidate is the same. As a matter of fact, there are active and passive candidates.

The active kind goes through the phases of awareness, consideration, and interest before applying. These candidates are, though, a minority: a Linkedin report say they only represent 12% of the total.

The passive candidates are the majority and only enter the funnel when they apply. The phases of awareness, consideration, and interest need marketing efforts from recruiters. The phases of application, selection and hire need standard recruitment work. Talent Acquisition teams in in-house teams cover all the steps, from awareness to on-boarding.

As previously mentioned, the Candidate Journey Funnel is composed of 7 steps, if we include on-boarding. The first six are: awareness, consideration, interest, application, selection and hire. We will analyze each and the pain points candidates can experience during every step. A good in-depth source for learning how to map your funnel is the article Candidate Journey Mapping: Step-by-Step Guide.

Candidate Journey

Let’s start describing the first phase.


As we mentioned before, it all starts with awareness. The candidate could find out about your job vacancy in many ways. To quote some:

  • Through a vacancy advertisement on a job board, such as Indeed
  • Through their network: one of their contacts could start working for your company. They might end up on your career page like so
  • If you are very well known, they might go and search for your career page
  • They might stumble across your content on social media, by reading an article on a subject of their interest


The second phase is consideration. During this period the candidate will consider a few elements. How good and attractive is your job posting? Do your values resonate with them? As we mentioned earlier, usually candidates read reviews, too. Usually, they use a website like Glassdoor, Indeed or CareerBliss for it. They are wondering if they should apply to your job offer. If your reviews or job postings are bad, they will lose interest in you.


Then the third phase comes: interest. This sees the candidate comparing a few potential employers by gathering information. During this phase, they might scan your social media and the About page of your site. Some pictures of your employees might stand out and give the job seeker hints. They could also draw conclusions about you by looking at your organizational charts or your team structure. You should avoid for them to lead to a cultural perception gap. If they will be interviewed, they will come with a set of expectations. Is your culture properly represented? You don't want a candidate to expect a startup vibe and find a corporate environment instead. What differentiates you? Will they choose you as their preferred company and commit to you enough to apply? Sometimes the interest phase can be very quick - sometimes it's even postponed until after the selection phase. That happens if the candidate has the urgent need to find a job.


We reach the 4th phase, interesting both active and passive candidates: the application. This is where the candidate will judge the length and simplicity of the process you put in place. Asking the job seekers to input their CV manually is very risky. If you do so, most candidates will probably give up. As a matter of fact, CareerBuilder research quotes that because of this, 60% of candidates drop an application midway through.

They will also notice whether you will send them updates. Did you receive their application? If they do not pass this screening test, do you notify them in a clear and friendly way? 80% of candidates would not consider other job offers at a business who didn’t notify them of their application status. If they did get a notification they’d be 3.5 times more likely to apply again to that same company. The time you take to reach out to the candidates is a very important factor. The average recruitment process lasts 23.7 days. If you take too long, your applicant might not be available anymore.


We reach the selection phase. The candidates will be interviewed and tested. They might have to take part in business cases or deliver projects. They're being selected for a very simple vacancy and the application process is heavy? They will leave. No one wants to go through 6 months of interviews to become a store clerk or a secretary. If there is a match, the candidate will proceed to the last phase of the recruitment funnel.

Hire and On-Boarding

The sixth step is hire. Is there a role and cultural fit? Was your communication fair and friendly during your interaction insofar? Are the compensation, perks, and benefits relevant? The candidate gets the job offer. Will they say yes? If, so, the on-boarding will start. The new employees will be introduced to the team and the role by at least one HR person and a colleague from their team. If you work for a corporate company, this phase is very important. Is your personnel clear, available and friendly enough during this phase? 28% of new hires leave before their first 90 days. By now, you've expended a lot of resources to get these employees. Don't let them run away! Will the candidate stay after the probation period?

We’ve gone through the 7 stages of the Candidate Journey Funnel and indicated their respective experience pain points. This should help you map out your own and identify your candidates’ issues with your recruitment process. In the next chapter we will show you how to gather Candidate Experience feedback. We will also suggest some questions for you to ask your candidates, after the application, the interviews and their rejection or withdrawal.