How to optimize the Employee Journey – Part 1: Candidate Experience

According to the Gallup Engagement Index 2018, 71% of employees feel only slightly committed to their company. In fact, 14% of respondents have no emotional attachment to their company at all. These are frightening figures, but the good news is that employers can do a lot to increase employee loyalty.

Let’s first look at a discipline that for decades has been working to perfection to build loyalty to potential buyers and customers: marketing. The key to success here is to optimize the customer experience and customer journey at every touchpoint with the brand – from the very first contact to avoiding dismissals and win-back measures. The HR world has adopted this idea and is optimizing the touchpoints with employees in the ‘Employee Journey’. The result of the optimization is an efficient, satisfied and loyal employee who is an important brand ambassador for the employer.

How to optimize touchpoints along the Candidate Journey

The optimization of touchpoints on the Employee Journey during the recruitment phase is the basis for success in the ‘War for talents’ and for building loyalty among future employees. In this phase it is called Candidate Journey. But how can the journey of the candidates be optimized within the company in the recruiting phase?

Job ads: Job advertisements must convince the applicant in terms of text and content. However, there is still a lot of potential for optimization here. According to a 2017 study on the Candidate Journey by meta HR/, clear facts about jobs and companies are an important factor in job advertisements.1 Potential applicants want a clear description of tasks, responsibilities and required skills in job offers. The job title should not be too cumbersome. Information on the corporate philosophy, culture and values of the potential employer is just as important as information on trainings and further education opportunities. Job advertisements often have the attractiveness of package inserts, so it is easy to attract attention with an attractive design and to sustainably optimise employer branding.

Applications: Make it as easy as possible for the applicant to submit his/her documents. E-mail applications are most favoured by 72% of candidates (study “Application of the Future” 2017).2 Comprehensive application forms are a major hurdle in the application process, which, according to the Candidate Journey study, must be avoided at all costs. Up to 58% of applicants cancel an application over a complicated application form, although the job might be interesting for them (Softgarden Application Report 2018).3 Until the invitation to an interview or rejection, candidates want information on the further course of the application procedure. The reasons for a possible rejection are particularly worth knowing (study “Application of the future”).

The interview: What counts most here is transparency (Candidate Journey Study). The field of activity must be described clearly and in detail and must be consistent with the job description. In reality, the job is often not advertised enough by the employer. Here the skill of the hiring manager plays an important role. As in all other steps of the Candidate Journey, the appreciation towards the candidate should be clearly noticeable. Of course, the interview must not be interrogative, but must take place at eye level. Many applicants would also like to have the opportunity to get to know the team directly during an interview. This way, the question of whether the atmosphere in the team suits the applicant can be answered quickly.

Time as a factor of optimization

According to the study ‘Application of the future’, applicants have to wait an average of 18.4 days for feedback. Many negative entries on Kununu result from the long waiting period. Urgently needed specialists turn to other potential employers within this time. On average, a whole month passes from the first job interview to hiring or refusal (study How Long Does it Take to Hire, Glassdoor 2017).4 By using HR software solutions, this time can be significantly reduced and the candidate experience can be optimized. In the fight for qualified employees, it is important to process and evaluate applications very promptly and to react quickly.

With software support, all participants can work together in a coordinated manner. Communication can thus be significantly accelerated and entire processes run fully automatically.