Kristina FinsethMarch 14, 2017
Topics: Candidate Experience

When it Comes to Candidate Experience, Search Matters

As part of the product team at Phenom People, I’m involved in a lot of ongoing debates over the planning and prioritization of the products and features we want to focus on building. When evaluating a product or feature, we’re constantly asking one question: How will this improve the candidate experience?

If we can’t answer that question, it doesn’t get built. Simple as that. So when we were developing the initial versions of the Phenom People Talent Relationship Marketing platform and looked at the existing market of recruiting and talent acquisition technology, we knew there was one critical area of the candidate experience and candidate journey that needed to be addressed: search.

The problem with today’s search Search not only dictates what results a user sees first - it's also a large factor in determining quality of experience. Candidates rely on search to help find relevant jobs and content to help make the decision of where they will work next. In order to influence that decision, you would think most companies would be interested in providing an easy-to-use and intuitive search experience. Easy enough concept, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with most career site search engines. Many companies continue to use outdated search technology that fails to meet the standards and expectations of today’s candidates.

These search engines aren’t able to:

- detect or automatically correct a candidate’s spelling errors

- help the user complete their search query with suggestions

- allow candidates to filter by location

- narrow down search results

Outdated search technology detracts from the candidate experience and leads to increased dropout rates.

Talent Relationship Marketing delivers a better search experience Search isn’t only important as part of the candidate experience. It’s vital to pretty much any online activity such as finding Facebook friends, a dinner recipe, new music, or an old work email. Whether Google or an internal engine, the search function of any product is expected to help people find their intended target quickly and easily.

That’s why the search engine built into the Phenom People TRM platform borrows the best practices employed by the leaders in the online search and shopping fields: Google and Amazon. In particular, Amazon’s search experience moves customers along in their journey from exploration to purchase by actively suggesting what they should search for, and then enabling them to search even further within their initial results.

Like Amazon’s shopping experience, you want your candidates to easily find the jobs and content that propel them forward in their journey toward application, interviewing, and hopefully to getting hired.

To help, TRM employs four main search concepts that improve the candidate experience, helping move them along in their journey with your company.

1. Incremental search As candidates enter their search query, the TRM engine searches and filters text to return immediate results in the search bar, speeding up the search process. Incremental search allows candidates the ability to search not only for job titles, but for job categories and location results. It will even allow candidates to quickly resume their previous searches.


2. Semantic search Semantic search engines take into consideration the candidate’s intent as they perform searches on a career site. Are they intending to search for a specific job title? Do they want to see jobs available in a particular location? Semantic search actively attempts to guess what the candidate’s end goal is, and instantly returns relevant results as they type.

Too often, candidates get frustrated in searching for relevant jobs when there’s a difference in job titles and job descriptions from company to company. One company may call a job “X” while another calls it “Y,” and the candidate is left guessing what to search in order to produce the right results.

For example, let’s say a candidate wants to search for a nursing job. Standard search engines will only be able to return results that match the search keyword “nurse” exactly. What if the positions all include “RN” in the job title? Semantic search is able to understand that “nurse” could also equal “RN,” and returns relevant results without asking the candidate to confirm

3. Location search Location search allows candidates to search for jobs in a particular geographic location. They can then access results of all open opportunities in that location, and any relevant content – which is especially useful for companies operating in multiple global offices.Location can be anything from locations in a single country, and narrowed down to states and individual cities.


4. Search within a search and faceted search Oftentimes, candidates will need to search again to further narrow down initial results. Having a search engine within the main search engine allows candidates to further refine their search without having to being from the beginning again.

For example, if a candidate searches for accounting jobs and lands on an accounting job category page, they will likely want to narrow down the results further. Perhaps they want to find “consultant” jobs or “auditor” jobs within the accounting results.

Faceted search is just another way to drill down search results by location, job category, job type, experience level, and more.



In order to deliver the best candidate experience to your talent, you need a search function that can match the helpfulness and ease of use provided by Amazon and Google, amongst other industry leaders. A Talent Relationship Marketing platform helps you drastically improve your candidate experience, helping to steer top talent to the right jobs at your company.

Get the latest talent experience insights delivered to your inbox.

Sign up to the Phenom email list for weekly updates!


© 2024 Phenom People, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • TRUSTe
  • CSA logo
  • IAF
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ANAB