This year, Vegas was home to LinkedIn’s 2016 TalentConnect Conference, the premiere annual event for the global talent industry. I was lucky enough to make the trip from cold Liverpool to the bright lights and warm, muggy haze of the Mojave desert’s number one gem. And no, I wasn’t there just to put my poker skills to the test!

At TalentConnect, I shared the stage with some real powerhouses - heavy hitters like Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Weiner and Nellie Peshkov. Throwing convention to the wind, I’ve decided to share what happened in Vegas by giving you a rundown of my session on stage.

I’ll explain how design thinking and Candidate Experience (CX) mapping can be applied to your company’ digital ecosystem to generate ROI and help your company stand out from competitors, with a world-class candidate experience informed by real-world scenarios.


Your digital ecosystem can make or break candidate perception of your employer brand. If you’re not in control of it, then it will control you - and the outcome is usually not very good!

It’s important to understand that candidate behaviour is changing. We live in a world saturated with content. Digital has shifted power from employer to employee, which means you can no longer make candidates do things - you need to make them want to do things.

Really, we’re talking about understanding your candidates. It’s not rocket science.

Persona and empathy mapping helps clarify the behavioural identity of your ideal, star candidate. It’s designed to pinpoint key characteristics about your candidate: what are their fears, motivations and aspirations? What gets them up in the morning? What keeps them awake at night? It combines the emotional and rational drivers in the candidate decision process.

This means making sure your candidates are a good fit - before they even apply. Listen for the pain points in your candidate experience journey; this is how customer service giants like Amazon continue to improve their customer experience.

Believe it or not, job security isn’t as important as it used to be. Today’s candidates seek challenging work, a strong career path, good work/life balance and a culture that fits their personality.

Use the digital tools at your disposal to listen, learn and understand. This is how you begin to develop a wholesome, 360 degree view of your candidates.


Candidates come into contact with your brand across a number of digital platforms and devices. You need to ensure that each of these carries a consistent message and is optimised for interaction.

Consider this: Google is the biggest job board in the world. Yep, that’s right - Google! Now let me ask you something… is your careers website strategically designed for SEO? Chances are it’s not. If that’s the case, the millions of candidates that are starting their careers search on Google are missing your site!

But it’s not just about increasing traffic, it’s about getting the right candidates to your page. SEO, PPC, Social Media and CRO are complicated terms that can confuse recruitment teams, but every marketer knows how important they are when designing for today’s digital ecosystem. Ultimately, the goal is simple: to position your brand as a source of help, knowledge and support that adds value to the lives of prospective candidates.

Your careers website should educate and inspire candidates to consider working for you. This means creating content that is genuinely engaging and interesting. Integrate and situate the lives of candidates onto your careers website and social platforms. How? Well, start by personalising content and gaining your candidate’s trust.

To put this into context, think about how customer-facing marketing departments do this… Netflix has a ‘Top Picks for You’ section, Coca-Cola put millions of first names on their bottles, and Starbucks asks you for your name every single time you walk into a store! Think about the message this sends: “Dave, this coffee cup is for you. Thank you so much for shopping at Starbucks.”

To engage with candidates in the same vein, you need to put your employer brand to work and use emotive storytelling to spur candidate engagement. This could include videos showcasing a ‘day in the life’ at your company, a ‘friends and family’ section where hot questions are answered, or an ‘advice and how to’ page designed to help candidates with their application.

These all work on an emotional and rational level because the candidate is triggered to engage and immerse themselves in the company’s offering. Not to mention it helps organically attract talent to your brand. Believe it or not, these steps could literally save you millions in unnecessary job board spend - just ask our clients and friends at Nationwide!

Fundamentally, your digital candidate experience design should be hinged upon making things clear, simple and fun. After all, you want the journey to be as seamless, efficient and natural as possible. Then, you can start to convert passive browsers into tangible candidates.


So, you’ve discovered the best ways to understand and attract your candidates. Now you need to flip the switch and turn interest into action.

My biggest advice? Be human! Don’t be afraid to let your EVP and employer brand shine through into everything you do. Using your employees as shining brand advocates will not only attract candidates but convince them that you are the right company to work for.

Enhance the user experience by installing call to action buttons or features that make the application process easier. That could mean installing a heart icon at the top of a page that allows candidates to save ‘loved jobs’, or an added feature called ‘job alerts’ that sends live updates to candidates throughout the application process.

It’s the attention to detail that will show candidates you really care. That could make all the difference between signing your star candidate or watching your competitor snap her up!

To increase conversion, we’ve begun to implement what we call ‘evolutionary design’. Rather than build a website that looks great now but in three years’ time will appear old and outdated, we encourage embedding functionality that allows you to update and enhance the website on a continual basis. This means you can constantly test and add functionality to the site every few months. These technical design additions make the application process feel smoother and more instinctive.

At the end of the day, managing your digital ecosystem should be a top priority. When you place the candidate at the heart of your strategy, you can design personalised user journeys that optimise the chance of engagement and convert a high number of visitors into candidates.

Remember… “People may forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel!”

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can download our free candidate experience ebook. It’s packed with all the tools, tips and tricks you will need to take your candidate experience to the next level. Happy reading!

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The Complete Guide To Improving Your Candidate Experience

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