Bryan Adams talks to us about the candidate mapping experience

Our world is accelerating at a frenetic pace. All around, digital advancements and new social platforms are changing the way we work and interact with each other. Amidst 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 the Candidate Experience Map – a tool that helps brands generate a holistic, 360-degree view of candidates throughout the entire application journey, ensuring that you attract and retain the world’s best talent and save millions of pounds in the process.

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. Our research helped shed some light on Virgin Media’s recruitment problems.

Tens of thousands of people apply for a position at the company every year. From the total number of applicants in 2014, our research showed that 18% were existing Virgin Media customers. What we gleaned next laid bare the shocking cost of poor candidate experience: of that 18%, more than 7,500 candidates cancelled their subscriptions and switched to competitors including 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 touchpoints.

Candidate Experience Mapping

The Customer Mapping Journey, which analyses the customer’s journey from initial brand contact through to final product purchase, has existed in the marketing psyche for some years now. Our breakthrough moment with Virgin Media came when we suggested that the Customer Mapping Journey is a perfect parallel for the Candidate Experience Journey. From the initial moment that a candidate interacts with your brand – whether that be on a mobile site, via a YouTube video or through website-hosted blog content – that individual has unconsciously embarked on a journey with your company.

It’s imperative that companies of all sizes apply these marketing principles to existing recruitment practices. The first step starts with Persona Mapping.

A Persona Map helps brands identify who their ideal target candidates are, what inspires and engages them and, crucially, how the recruitment process makes them feel at each specific moment during the recruitment journey.

There are a number of diverse touchpoints along the way: brand-produced content on social media, an online application, a Skype dialogue, online skills tests, physical interviews – the list goes on and on. Within each of these touchpoints are further moments; what we call the “moments between the moments”.

Consider this: let’s say your entire candidate journey is aligned and engaging, from initial discovery through to the interview phase. Your star candidate is on the way to his first face-to-face interview with your brand. Unfortunately, he arrives to find there are no available spaces in the parking lot, so he is forced to park fifteen minutes away from the office entrance. After dashing to make it on time, your candidate enters the office sweating in his sharp new suit, only to discover that it’s dress-down day. Suddenly, all the work that it took to impress and engage the candidate up until that point begins to crack and splinter.

Attract, Engage & Retain Talent

Candidate Experience Mapping at its simplest means understanding where, what and how different experiences shape and define a candidate’s experience with your company. In today’s digital world, bad experiences and poor candidate attraction can be spread to millions of people – potential employees and customers – worldwide with the click of a button. It’s more important than ever for brands to understand their candidates and the journey to employment. Brands must make this process as simple, easy and enjoyable as possible, or risk losing money and talent.

Power is shifting from employer to employee. It’s the job of today’s savvy company to create experiences that will not only attract candidates, but keep them excited and engaged along the entire candidate journey.

For those who don’t adapt, a stark truth awaits: poor candidate experience will crush your bottom line and ostracise talent that other, more forward-thinking companies will snatch up.