Candidate Journey is probably the most important concept for any talent marketing professional to grasp.
My version, the Candidate Journey of the Information Era© is an updated version taking into account the era of change, information flow, rapid transformation and life-altering changes impacting our lives and our health on a global level.
Every single company needs to understand how difficult it is these days to get attention. Attention is no longer automatically available. Entrepreneur, author, speaker and an Internet personality Gary Vee has infamously said: “Attention is currency”. And it really is.
The question all of us must ask ourselves is:
What would your target audience expect to get in return for a moment of their attention?
What is the Candidate Journey of the Information Era?
The Candidate Journey of the Information Era© visualizes the phases a talent-person needs to take before they are ready to become our applicants and job candidates.
Sometimes this journey may take years, other times it can take only a few months. It depends on how open the talent-person is for new opportunities and where we stand in their radar.
Failing to understand the journey looks familiar
My purpose is to guide you as a talent marketing practitioner to envision the respective journeys of your ideal talents. They all take these steps. Some faster, some slower.
What is important to understand is that getting a conversion is the final station in this journey. If your target audience is not there yet, they will not convert to your followers, applicants, employees or brand advocates.
The role of talent marketing is to win attention, grow awareness, build affinity until they are ready to convert.
Failing to understand this journey has many familiar looks:
- Lack of traffic to your career site and job posts.
- Reluctancy to talk job opportunities when your talent acquisition sources and contacts.
- Difficulties in getting applications at all, or getting what you consider quality applicants to your process.
- Very little visitors to your career events or your stand at recruitment fairs you attend.
- Lack of awareness about your company when you actually get to talk to someone about careers.
- Unwillingness of your employees to distribute your job posts and other content to their audiences (because it adds little value to anyone).
There is way too much information available. People are turning off notifications, practicing the Pomorodo Technique and going on “social media fasts” to wean themselves from the addictive social media and the fear of missing out (FOMO).
The constant information overload typical to this era has changed our consumer behavior from “willingness to receive” into “desire to ignore and even ban”.
We must consistently win attention to onboard audiences into the journey
Every single talent out there will one day – soon or later – start candidate journeys with companies they become attracted to.
Us employers however, will not have the privilege of getting on a shared journey with some or many of the talents we would love to hire.
Our paths are not crossing for reasons like:
- Our ideal talents are not even aware we exist.
- They don’t see the same appeal in us we believe we have.
- We fail to clarify why they should become interested.
- We are not actively present in their lives – online or offline.
- Other companies are winning their attention and building relationships with them.
- When we promote, we promote the wrong offer: our own need to hire and fill a vacancy.
- We are targeting the wrong audiences, too loose audiences or just reaching way above our own rank. Happens all the time in relationships. We think too much of ourselves but have no way to back it up.
Winning attention is key to getting this journey started
But getting out all you’ve got once in a full moon is not what wins attention. Employer branding – modern employer branding – is what wins attention. Building a sustainable system and routines to start winning attention and igniting the curiosity is the only lasting way forward.
The problem with all sorts of one-off campaigns to win attention is clear: if that’s all you’ve got to give, they will never get on that journey. Yes, you may get attention, but what’s next? How will you invite people forward and how do you plan to nurture their attention until they are ready to convert?
Talents we pursue are in different phases of their career lifecycles. To maximize our business’ success in talent acquisition, we must understand there are phases people go through in their own time.
When we start employer branding, we need to build a system that not only covers all of the phases, but is also realistic for us execute consistently for a long time. Employer branding is not a campaign. It is a lifestyle.