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Candidate Experience - Building your candidate persona and journey map

A quick recap

We have come quite some way, so here is a quick recap.

We started off looking at how important differentiating your service is important to create an edge over your competitor. We then in Candidate Experience - How recruiting culture impacts your candidate experience and managing change, looked at culture, all those small things that have a huge impact on the experience.

In my previous post Candidate Experience - The role of the recruiter, their mindset and tools, we looked at the mindset required for a modern-day recruiter, and we started looking at the user experience tool, candidate journey maps. In this post, we will look at building a candidate persona, how a persona helps your build your journey map. We will also look at creating content, a very critical piece in delivering a great experience.

Journey Map Continued...

So then how do you build a journey map?  Starting with user interviews (easier said than done, UX research is a huge topic) could be the way to go about. This will help you understand not just the pain points that the user underwent while across the journey, but other things like their activities while in each stage, the channels that they use and our touchpoints with them across these channels. 

A journey map is in itself, incomplete. Though it gives you a clear picture of a candidate’s journey, it does not give you a picture of what is that you are doing. Here is where service blueprints come into play. I am not going to go into that here though.

Here is a sample candidate journey map template.

candidate journey map template
Candidate Journey Map

Candidate Persona

Personas are a reflection of your ideal candidate, that helps us understand from a candidate perspective, what motivates them, what frustrates them, the personality that fits the role, what are the channels that they go to when they are looking for a job change, etc.

This forms the foundation of your journey map. Every personas journey is different; it doesn’t haven’t be hugely different; however, key touchpoints could change.

Why is a persona important?

There are a few reasons why a persona plays an important role, one; it helps you target your marketing campaign at the right audience identified through the persona. Second, helps you figure out the right journey for the right audience.

I would say a persona is a job description because it captures the essence of the role. A well-researched persona can be used as a great job ad.

To get you started on a persona, you don’t have to go external and invite candidates for an interview. You already have the talent pool inside. All you have to do is interview your existing talent pool within the same job family.

There is a caveat here though; personas can change with the demography. So, if you have built a persona for a role in Australia, that might not fit the same role in China. If you have built it for 3 – 5 years’ experience, then it might not be the same for 10 – 12 years. For example, a technology developer will rely on WhatsApp for job ads, while a chief technology officer would connect with an executive search firm. The differences could be subtle but critical.

Candidatr Persona template
Candidate Persona template

Now that we have built the persona and the journey map let’s look at creating content that forms the essence of communication.

Creating Content

Content is "something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts" - Wikipedia.

Content is what and how you want to convey information to your audience. How, could be written, verbal or visual content; what you want to convey is your information or message. Blogs, infographics, videos or podcasts are mediums through which you convey your content.

Creating great content is going to be key and must be well thought through from your emails to the marketing videos to the job descriptions to even the feedback that you share are all content that will support you in your goal to achieve great experience. These contents must be designed based on the stage that a candidate is in. The deeper a candidate is in a journey, the higher the expectation.

Designing content is a vital step that needs to be done at the beginning. However, while getting started, you will have to take a holistic approach to content, thinking about the kind of experience you want to deliver based on your audience.

The four realms of experience

Let me talk a little bit about designing experiences, without going into great detail.

Creating great experience should involve all four realms of the experience economy. If not all, at least a combination of the 2 realms will help you create a good experience. However, it is important that you agree and decides on an experience strategy.

Four realms of experience

Four realms of experience
Four realms of experience

Going to a movie is an experience. From the drive to the movie hall, to the movie and the popcorns all must make the audience feel happy well for a great experience.

My wife and I went to a movie so late that we had only 20 minutes of the movie left. Please don’t ask me why!! She could be reading this blog!! The point is, after 8 years we still talk about that incident, the movie, not so much. We all remember the experience!!

Let me talk about another movie we went together. We were watching Marvel Avenger “Endgame”, and Iron Man (my fav hero) was getting hammered by Thanos, and when I was so immersed in the scene, my popcorn arrives, 30 minutes late. The worse part was, the waiter served it while I was watching the movie. For some of my friends; in India, movies have intermissions around half time.

There are journeys within journeys. Breaking down each one of them will help you create better content. This is what is called divisible content in marketing parlance. The drive to the movie by itself is a journey; your drive can be fun or terrible (like mine!).

In your candidate journey, if interviewing is a stage, then break it down further. For example, playing videos that show how your body language should be during an interview will add an educational experience to an interviewee waiting in the lobby.

Staged well, a good interviewing session could provide an immersive experience with all the audience actively participating in it. Gamification of your assessment could be another way to deliver an escapist experience.

Having a QR code of your office location in google maps in your interview call letter could be a great value add to a candidate coming in for an interview, particularly if you are in a city like New York or Mumbai with heavy traffic.

An important aspect to keep a tab on is the tech we need to orchestrate these contents. We will investigate this in my next post.

Measuring Outcomes

Now that the role of a recruiter is changing, how do you then measure the success of a recruiter? Well, there is no one size fits all situation here. If delivering experience is your strategy, then NPS/CSAT could be a good metric along with your other TA metrics


The best metric to measure customer experience in Net Promotor Score (NPS), NPS Scores helps you understand how many of your customers are happy to promote your product or service, in other words, loyal. This is usually an indicator of repeat customers in a business context. If your NPS is high, then the customer is expected to come back. The same holds for recruitment as well, won’t you want your candidates coming back, applying for similar roles?

CSAT also has its advantages. While an NPS is a long term focused, a CSAT score is reactive. Chose the best one that fits your need.


Now that we looked at creating content. Let’s move our focus towards the tech that you will need in my next post.

Until then, Ciao!!


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