Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

7 ways to perfect your candidate application journey

Candidate journey is an important component of your employer brand, and something you should be constantly looking to improve. Comprised of every touch point that a candidate has with your brand as they move along your application process, it will play a big part in shaping the opinion that is formed of your company as an employer.

From applying to job adverts and having initial discussions with recruiters, right through to interview and offer stage, every part of the journey must reflect your brand’s professionalism and personality. This infographic from StandOut CV shows 7 actionable steps you can take to perfect your candidate journey and strengthen your employer brand.


1. Qualify your vacancies

Before connecting with any candidates it’s crucial that you have a deep understanding of the roles you are recruiting for. without this, the candidate journey will have weak foundations and will fall apart very quickly. Ensure that all vacancies are qualified thoroughly via in-depth meetings with hiring managers to understand the exact candidate requirements for the role, and create a detailed job spec to work from. A five-minute phone call with a hiring manager will not produce nearly enough detail to recruit for a role effectively and will result in the wrong candidates being brought into the process, who will ultimately end up frustrated with the lack of info on the role.

2. Write accurate job adverts

In order to provide a pleasant experience for candidates, you must ensure that you are attracting the most suitable people for your company and the role in question. Whilst you want to sell the role, be sure not to make any exaggerations, keeping the description as factual as possible, especially when it comes to describing remuneration. A candidate who receives a job offer that was much less than they had been led to believe by the advert they applied for, will not become a huge fan of your employer brand.

3. Communicate with all applicants

Once your job adverts are live, it’s important to maintain clear communications with all candidates whether they are successful or not. Ensure all unsuccessful candidates receive some form of notification of their application status, whether it’s an auto-response or personal mail. If candidates have taken the time to apply for your roles and feel as though they have been ignored, it can be very damaging to your employer brand. Communicate with shortlisted candidates by telephone and email to confirm they are being considered for the role, and keep them engaged

4. Manage your shortlist’s expectations

Once you have a shortlist of suitable candidates, you must ensure that they are thoroughly qualified, and fully aware of the role and subsequent process stages. If candidates aren’t properly managed at this stage, you won’t be projecting the image of a professional employer. Conduct telephone or face-to-face interviews to screen candidates, but also to clarify their understanding of the role and expectations, whilst ensuring you feedback to every candidate who has been unsuccessful in a timely manner.

5. Build a robust interview process

Interviewing can be a challenging experience for candidates, so ensure that you make your interview process as smooth and transparent as possible for them. Arrange interviews, ensuring you have a rigorous process to ensure both candidate and hiring manager have confirmed location, date and time. Book out some time to help candidates prepare for interviews, ensuring they understand the format and any topics that will be covered

6. Manage rejections and offers with tact

At the final stage of the recruitment process, candidates have invested lots of time and effort with your company, so you need to ensure they are treated with the utmost respect and professionalism, regardless of the outcome for them. Get job offers out to successful candidates ASAP – making them wait for weeks will really hurt their opinion of your employer brand. Chase hiring managers who are delaying decisions and push to get them out. Inform unsuccessful candidates via telephone and give them detailed feedback as to why they weren’t selected. Candidates who feel brushed aside at this stage of the process are very likely to talk about their negative experience on social media or employer review sites – so don’t give them any reason to.

7. Monitor and improve your candidate journey

To strengthen your employer brand, it’s important that you understand how applicants feel about your customer journey and improve any areas where you are failing. Monitor social media and employer review sites for mentions of your brand, and conduct applicant surveys to get first-hand feedback from people who have been on your candidate journey. Develop and implement plans to strengthen underperforming areas of the journey


By Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter, and founder of CV writing service  StandOut CV. He also contributes to a number of leading career pages such as The Guardian, Business Insider and Huffington Post.