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Candidate Experience Mapping

Recruitment marketing is, in a way, designed to hold the candidate’s hand and lead them right to your company.

A great recruitment marketing campaign is one that finds its way to the most appropriate candidates. It then gives them the exact information they’re seeking about the company, adapting to where they are in their journey.

In doing that, a good recruitment marketing strategy essentially guides the right candidate towards the role and the company.

Why map the candidate journey?

It’s not always obvious how your recruitment marketing strategy influences the application experience for the candidate, how it takes them through multiple decision stages until that final step, where they sign an offer from you. That’s why mapping that strategy-or even just specific marketing campaigns-to the candidate journey is helpful.

The candidate mapping framework below is a lens through which you can look at campaigns, understand where in the journey they touch candidates, and how they inform their progress down the funnel.

Mapping the candidate journey to recruitment marketing campaigns

This helps determine what content is best for each step of the journey, for example, and how to design that content for specific target audiences. It also helps prevent unexpected mistakes that might otherwise not be noticed, and that could ruin the candidate experience.

What does candidate experience mapping look like?

Consider the following example: you are a hospital management company, and you’re looking to hire experienced Operations professionals to staff new hospitals that you plan to open over the next three years.

A candidate at the start of her journey might be passive and not searching for new opportunities, or she might be looking, but not at your company specifically. Maybe she worked all her professional life in operations for consumer goods manufacturing, and has never thought of working at a hospital.

From Lead to Candidate

The candidate needs to first get to know the company, the industry, or the opportunity in very general terms. A first touch could be anything from a simple social media ad redirecting to the company website, to a cold email about the parallels between sourcing for hospital supplies and for consumer goods raw materials.

A linkedin ad targeted at the candidate would be a link to an industry article, for example. Something along the lines of “Have you considered how your career in consumer goods has prepared you for other industries?” or “Learn about Hospital Management operations, a rising specialization in your field.”

From Candidate to Applicant

It’s not until the candidate’s interest has been piqued that she will start considering applying for a role with the company. At that point, she is asking herself these question: who are the players in this new space? Who is this company? Does their mission align with my goals and values? How would working there be like?

The information she seeks at that point can be obtained through networking with employees, talking to recruiters, looking through content on the careers pages such as interviews with company executives…

That is a good time to build a 1:1 relationship with the candidate. A good way to start is by reaching out with a carefully built candidate nurture campaign, which could include links to the company’s current community outreach initiatives, or their latest applications of successful operations strategies in their hospitals.

From Applicant to Hire or Ambassador

Once the applicant has applied, the priority is to ensure she sees all the benefits of joining your company if she is the right fit. Organize drinks or a quick lunch with the team, for example. It will get her even more excited about joining if she likes the team and the office, but also give her a chance to step back if she feels like your company is not the right place for her.

differentiation-brand-put-off

Even if the candidate’s application is unsuccessful, or if she ends up turning down the offer, she probably applied because she felt she had some affinity with the company, and that affinity can be enough to turn her into an ambassador of the employer brand. That is even more true for successful applicants.

For that to happen, however, the experience with the whole candidate journey needs to be positive, as it's much easier to get people to say bad things about you, than to get them to praise you. CareerArc sites that 72% of applicants who had a bad application experience would share it online or with friends and family. There is very little room for mistake here.


Creating a great candidate journey involves a lot of building blocks: the target audience, the company’s strengths and resources, the defined goals and the strategy to achieve them, the state of the talent market… each of these building blocks could expand to take up all of your attention.

The candidate experience mapping framework can help talent acquisition teams take a quick step back. It ensures that their recruitment marketing strategy creates a great candidate experience while still sticking to its original goal: bringing the ideal candidate all the way to the company’s doorstep.