Dark Touchpoints on a Candidate’s Journey

dark recruitment

The Secret Life of Job Applicants

It’s fair to say that most Talent Acquisition teams are finding hiring extremely challenging. The highly publicised shortage of talent is still a real thing, but, in the face of fierce competition, many teams are still sticking to what they know and what they’ve always done.

When teams talk to us about being data-driven, they often about metrics such as application rates, time to fill, application to interview ratio, and sometimes the source of hire.

One thing we rarely see teams talk about is how they, together with their hiring teams, plan, create and distribute candidate focussed content.

If we spent some time looking at most companies’ ATS systems, we’d see job applications from their careers page or a job board, referred candidates, and maybe some database interaction.

This is essentially the tip of the iceberg from a candidate generation perspective. When we consider the pre-application journey, we start to realise that there is a lot going on under the surface that we don’t see, and that we don’t go out of our way to impact as well as we could.

We know from our own research that if you’re not a well-known brand as an employer that 95% of candidates are researching you before they apply. With only 21% of respondents saying that they ignore review sites like Glassdoor, it highlights the opportunities out there for a content-driven talent attraction plan.

When we consider the path to the application, it’s clear that there’s a whole lot going on that we’re not influencing.

Dark Touchpoints

That path is full of channels:


The volume of online communities grows constantly, giving you the opportunity to build meaningful relationships and get to know your potential applicants on a different level. Engaging and staying active in your talent market’s world can build relevance and awareness.

Beware of only posting job links, however. Nothing screams “commoditisation” more than purely posting this content. Being involved in dialogues and sharing useful content is the way ahead. Being in those communities and giving (useful content) as opposed to taking (asking for candidates) will set you apart from any competition that is also there.

dark recruitment communities

Organic Social

Paid social has its place. But social should be about distributing worthwhile content that people can get value from.

The more you inform and share opinions, the more your target audience will take notice and potentially become an applicant in the process.
Smart people want to work with other smart people, so getting your leaders involved in content creation for hiring is a great idea. Having them understand the importance of this and actively wanting to contribute is nirvana.

dark recruitment organic social


Podcasts can be a great way to deliver authentic content that can highlight not only your people but also the way that work is done in your business.

This channel needs consistency, commitment and planning but the benefits can be huge. There are tech companies right now in Melbourne with their own Spotify podcasts. It can be done.

dark recruitment podcasts


Any PR you’re not paying for is like a referral on its own. The more your name is brought up (for the right reasons), the more attractive you can become. Paid PR is also worth considering.


Live and online events are both channels and dark touchpoints. The better experience you give your audience, the more likely you’ll stay in their minds.

Events are a gift that never stops giving when it comes to content. Pre-event, in-event and post-event content can create impact. They also provide you with content to share on a wider level later on.

The better experience you give your audience, the more likely you’ll stay in their minds.

dark recruitment events

Word of mouth

People talk. Every candidate you interview and reject, every visitor to your site, every viewer of your content and every attendee of one of your events knows other people.

People will talk about the great (and the not-so-great) experience they had. They’ll share on social and tell people in person.

Content as a Competitive Advantage

Content across multiple channels is the ace up your sleeve, your secret weapon, and the vital ingredient in your own recipe.

In our opinion, too many companies spend too much time worrying about what the competition is doing. Or worse, trying to emulate them.

Your culture, your vision, your mission, your leaders, and your people are all unique to your business, so focusing on communicating that rather than others, should be where your content effort goes.

In our discussion with recruitment expert Nate Guggia earlier this year, he suggested that there is a bare minimum of four bits of content that every company should produce;

  1. Candidate FAQ,
  2. Hiring process outline,
  3. Industry opinion, or a flag in the sand moment, and
  4. How your business operates.

This list could be created within a couple of weeks and can be used as short-form evergreen content that’s distributed via a tool such as Buffer or Smarterqueue.

Of course, most TA teams don’t carry the skills to be able to do this, and rely on corporate marketing functions that are too busy generating sales leads to get involved in producing candidate FAQ’s or suchlike. So nothing meaningful really happens.

So in summary, we know that the path to the application is wide, varied, and often unknown.

New starter surveys and/or interviews are a great way to surface this information and provide you with a whole bunch of insight that you previously didn’t have.

Once you understand the common paths to application, your ability to better influence those paths becomes more apparent.

Maximising your ability to convert applications of course then becomes the next challenge to solve.

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