Image: ShutterstockAmidst these swirling winds, recruiters are forced to invest more time, energy and creativity for opportunities to resonate with a new generation of candidate. With change abound, HR and recruitment professionals have struggled to offer outstanding candidate experience that cuts through the noise. Enter Hollywood and the candidate experience map – tools that can help brands generate a holistic, 360-degree view of candidates throughout the entire application journey. When you tell a compelling story about who you are and what you do, brands can attract and retain the world’s best talent and save millions of pounds in the process. Why is a marketing agency talking about HR and recruitment? Fair question. In marketing, we’re all quite familiar with the concept of a customer experience journey. Broken down into its simplest form, a customer experience journey analyses every step in a customer’s path-to-purchase, ascertaining how they feel, what they’re thinking and whether or not progression is as smooth as possible. All of this information is gathered to craft a more memorable and engaging customer experience. This is where it gets interesting. If you change the word “customer” to “candidate,” we have exactly the same guiding principles in play. That’s how, as a marketing agency, we have been able to apply our industry expertise and insight to shake up the world of recruitment and talent acquisition. It starts by placing the candidate at the heart of all our actions. Hollywood’s leading role As an avid film lover, I’ve long been fascinated by the perennial success of Hollywood stories, which continue to enchant and capture the hearts of millions worldwide. This passion led me to ask myself, “How can the success and passion of the Hollywood script be applied to marketing and recruitment?” Throughout every sector, there seems to be some stand-out brands that are brilliant at telling stories. Every Hollywood script follows a similar process – the hero (candidate) is drawn into a journey (candidate application process) by the mentor (the brand or company). Each phase of a Hollywood film serves as a parallel to the candidate experience journey, and thinking in story helps to identify the “moments between the moments”.
The challenge of modern recruitment, just as in marketing and Hollywood, lies in the way basic principles of understanding people, their behaviours and what drives and influences these individuals. This is where we cross over from marketing to HR and see that both can be addressed in the same way. The Virgin Media case study In 2014, Virgin Media came to us with a problem: “How do we deliver an exceptional candidate experience so that we can attract and retain the world’s best talent?” We knew the answer was multi-faceted – first, it required an introspective and honest look at current practices. Tens of thousands of people apply for a position at Virgin Media every year. From the total number of applicants in 2014, our research showed that 18 per cent were existing Virgin Media customers. What we gleaned next laid bare the shocking cost of poor candidate experience: of that 18 per cent, more than 7,500 prospective candidates cancelled their subscriptions and switched to direct competitors like Sky. 7,500 customers – at varying subscription levels – equated to roughly £4.4m in lost revenue, or nearly the entire sum of Virgin Media’s HR budget. Rejected applicants and those who felt the brand offered a negative experience had no problem switching to a competitor, proving that poor candidate experience can jeopardise customer loyalty and hurt a brand’s bottom line. As a result of these findings, Virgin Media committed themselves to dramatically improving their candidate experience across all digital channels and physical touch points.
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