Opinion

Leading brands are finally becoming candidate-centric with recruitment

5 min read

09 June 2016

Leading brands are shifting their focus to candidate centricity. To compete with the noise, your brand must offer more than just great customer service.

Image: Shutterstock

For as long as we can remember, it’s been ingrained in the minds of brands to provide customer service with a smile. So, while leading worldwide brands may have devised customer service strategies nearing perfection, many have let one crucial area slip: candidate experience.

Fundamentally, candidate experience and customer service are intertwined closer than you may think. The reality of recruitment is that the better your candidate experience, the less money you will lose. It’s essential to recognise that candidates are also customers. The candidate experience you offer directly influences long-term customer loyalty and interaction.

The Virgin Media case study

“How do we deliver an exceptional candidate experience so that we can attract and retain the world’s best talent?” This was the question Virgin Media approached Ph.Creative with in 2014.

Since then, we have worked closely with Virgin Media to revitalise their recruitment process and assist them in making the transition to candidate centricity.

While digging deeper, we found that 18 per cent of Virgin Media’s candidates were also their customers. Due to poor candidate experience, approximately 7,500 of the total number of Virgin Media applicants switched to one of their direct competitors.

This equates to roughly £4.4m in lost revenue. It’s as simple as that. Poor candidate experience can send even the most loyal customers looking elsewhere, and let potentially high calibre candidates fall into the abyss.

To gain some further insight into making the big shift to candidate centricity, I interviewed recruiter, employer and career branding specialist J.T O’Donnell as part of my podcast series Getting Goosebumps: The Power of Storytelling.

JT O’Donnell: Your best asset may be right in front of you

Your best asset for becoming candidate-centric may be no further than your office. J.T emphasises that letting stories unfold naturally is the key to offering candidates a transparent view of your brand culture. Part of being candidate-centric is being honest with candidates from the start.

Ask yourself the following questions: do your candidates really know what their job would entail? Are they really likely to embrace the culture of your office? The answers to these questions can only be reached by trusting your employees to share their own stories and thoughts.

J.T advises: “Your employees want to push the best message out there. They’re savvy about it and it’s their message too, so with a little structure you can trust them to do this.”

If you invest time ensuring that your higher brand message resonates with your employees and aligns with your external brand image, then you can start showcasing exactly what your brand can offer: from day-to-day life in the office, to the team’s plans for a Friday night.

Read more from Bryan Adams:

Map your candidate experience process

To ignite a positive response from all candidates, regardless of the outcome, it is essential to map your candidate experience process with absolute precision.

On the recruitment side of the process, it’s far too easy to overlook the enormity of job hunting. All of your candidates are contemplating a major life decision when they begin the process. It’s your task to be relatable and ease them along the journey as smoothly as possible. Mapping your candidate experience not only benefits candidates, but also equips you to attract the most suitable, high calibre talent from the start.

My approach to mapping your candidate experience process is to place yourself in the shoes of your candidates. What would they feel? What would they think? What did they find easy, or difficult? What will they take away from the process when it’s over?

To cultivate engaged candidates and customers, it’s imperative to ensure that all of these factors have been considered. That way, your reputation as a brand will be elevated to the next level, pushing you further ahead of your competitors, and closer to candidate centricity.

Bryan Adams is CEO and founder of Ph.Creative

These are the five worker archetypes and how to effectively manage them.