When it comes to applying for and accepting new jobs, candidates have more options than ever before. Companies with poor candidate experiences will lose out on the top talent as employers battle for the best prospects.
So, how does the average candidate experience stack up against candidate expectations?
According to PeopleScout’s most recent research, less than two in 10 candidates rate their experience as excellent.
For the Inside the Candidate Experience 2023 Report, we used our proprietary Candidate Experience Diagnostic to audit the candidate journeys of over 215 organizations worldwide. Then we compared this to data gathered via a global survey of over 2,400 job seekers.
The findings reveal a significant gap between candidate expectations and the reality they face while looking for jobs, gathering information to support their decision, and applying.
Here are three surprises from our research:
1. Less than half of employers show information about the organization’s mission, purpose or values on the career site
Yet, they’re in the top considerations for applicants when deciding to apply.
Candidates want fulfilling employment and a company that upholds their values—especially Gen Z and Millennial workers. In fact, one in five Millennials state that an organization’s goals and mission are their top priority when considering a job. By not featuring this information on your career site, you’re passing up an opportunity to create an emotional connection with your candidates.
2. Just half (53%) of organizations provide an opportunity for candidates to register their interest or to sign up for job alerts
Even fewer (39%) prompted candidates to join a talent community.
Modern job seekers are more sophisticated than ever and are looking to grow a career, not just apply for jobs transactionally. In fact, on average nine months goes by between a candidate engaging with an employer and applying for a job. Maintaining a talent pipeline lets you build a relationship with your talent audience and ensures you get the best talent, not just those who are looking at the time a vacancy arises.
3. 44% of organizations did not provide an opportunity for candidates to give feedback on their experience
Plus, men are more likely than women to be aware of opportunities to provide and receive feedback during the recruitment process.
This is a major oversight for many organizations. If you’re not leveraging surveys to gather feedback from all of your candidates, you are passing up valuable insights that might help you enhance your employer brand, lower attrition and shorten your hiring cycle.
The candidate experience is a hot topic, and most talent leaders I speak with appear to recognize the value of improving the candidate journey. However, this research demonstrates that organizations still have work to do to live up to the standards of today’s job seekers. My hope is that our recent findings will mobilize talent acquisition teams to put real action behind their words and make bold moves to improve their candidate experience and speed up the pace of progress.
It’s no secret that job vacancies continue to outnumber job seekers. But what many employers focused on volume hiring don’t realize is that they already have one of the most effective tools for out-recruiting their competition at their disposal: their employer brand.
Investing in your employer value proposition (EVP) and employer brand is one of the best ways an organization can differentiate and attract the volumes of candidates it needs without compromising on quality-of-hire. In this article, we share ways to make your employer brand work harder for your volume hiring needs.
At PeopleScout, we define employer brand and EVP as follows:
Employer brand: Your employer brand is the perception and lived experiences of what it’s like to work for your organization.
Employer value proposition: Your employer value proposition, or EVP, captures the essence of your uniqueness as an employer and the “give and get” between you and your employees.
When an organization’s brand is well-known, there is frequently an overlap in sentiment between the consumer and employer brands in the minds of the general public. What candidates expect from you as consumers will be very different from what they’re looking for as potential employees.
Your employer brand should showcase the characteristics that make a company a great place to work, as well as the benefits, career growth opportunities, work-life balance and company culture that help you attract and retain talent.
Understand Your Audience & Tailor Your Content
The key to an effective employer brand is to know your audience. Zero in on who your ideal candidates are by looking at the most successful employees in each role. Are there similarities in their work experience, motivators or personalities? For example, we helped a telecoms client create candidate persona profiles for their contact center and found that many of their longest tenured employees were previously employed in beauty salons. These employees were applying their previous customer service experience to their phone and online customer interactions.
By shifting the mindset from getting candidates with previous call center experience to getting applications from candidates with past customer service experience in salons, restaurants and hotels, we were able to help the client increase offer acceptance and reduce attrition.
Similarly broadening your target audience will help you hire at scale in today’s tight market, and understanding who is most successful in a role—what makes them tick, what motivates them—will help you lean into the aspects of your employer brand that will be most meaningful to them. That could mean playing up your flexible work shifts, growth opportunities or your organizational values.
Create a Positive Candidate Experience
Even if you receive an influx of applicants for a role, don’t sacrifice the candidate experience. Word of mouth is still alive and well, and candidates have no problem sharing their experiences (especially negative ones) on social media.
Investing in CRM tools to introduce more personalization into your candidate communications can boost your candidate experience. Look for tools with texting and SMS capabilities to reach candidates where they already are. Texting is often more accessible for many hourly job seekers who are more likely to rely on their mobile devices for job searches and internet access.
Automating your screening and interview scheduling processes via text helps free up time for your recruiters and hiring managers to connect one-on-one with candidates and hold meaningful conversations that improve the candidate experience.
Your recruitment process should leave every applicant, regardless of whether they get a job with you, with a positive impression of your organization. Candidates are often your customers, and the last thing you want is for your candidate experience to negatively impact your consumer brand reputation. An exceptional candidate experience is essential not only in engaging the talent you need today, but in establishing a strong employer brand that will serve you well into the future.
With signs pointing toward a global recession, employers are preparing their workforces for what’s to come. This may mean cutting back on their investment in talent acquisition, delaying HR projects or even reducing their workforce.
While economic uncertainty can lead to difficult decisions for employers, it’s also important to recognize the opportunity it provides. This may be the perfect time to assess the resilience of your workforce and invest in workforce planning to make it fare better in the long run.
Is your talent acquisition program resilient enough to weather the storm? Here are four questions to ask to find out where you stand.
1. Is your employer brand and EVP still relevant?
If you haven’t updated your employer value proposition (EVP) in the last 18 months, it’s probably out of sync with the market and what candidates want. Now is the time to sense check if it’s relevant in 2023 and beyond. Does your employer brand work for a remote and hybrid workforce? Is it an authentic reflection of what you have to offer your employees?
Even if you’re not planning to hire actively in the near future, employer branding is also important for retention. Auditing and updating your brand will help you retain your current talent and ensure you’re ready to attract top talent in the future.
2. Is your hiring process working for remote and hybrid employees?
At the start of the pandemic, if you shoehorned your old in-person hiring process into your new hybrid or remote work reality and never looked back, it’s time to assess whether that’s really working for you. Remote work often requires a different set of skills than office-based work. Is your current process helping you assess those skills to achieve the quality-of-hire you need?
Review the competencies and behaviors you need for each role to ensure they’re relevant for hybrid or remote employees. Now is the time to update job ads and evaluate your assessment process to ensure they are in tune with the success factors that drive your business now—instead of those that drove success pre-pandemic.
3. Are you achieving your DE&I recruitment goals?
While you may not be actively hiring, now is a good time to engage with diverse communities to ensure candidates from underrepresented backgrounds make up a significant portion of your talent pipeline when you’re ready to ramp up hiring again.
Increase your visibility in diverse communities via campaigns or event sponsorships. Look into your diversity analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not when it comes to sourcing and hiring your target audiences.
4. Is it time to consider RPO?
Now is the time to re-evaluate how you’re going to market for talent, whether via an internal talent acquisitions team, staffing agencies, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) or a hybrid model. Work with your procurement partner to scrutinize your spend and evaluate your options to streamline and minimize risk—including standardizing with one global RPO partner.
Just because you’re not hiring at the same volume you were before, doesn’t mean outsourcing is out of the question. Recruiter On-Demand or project RPO engagements offer flexible solutions for targeted hiring needs. An RPO partner can also offer value-added talent advisory services like market insights, employer branding, assessment services and more. Plus, once engaged, your RPO partner will be on tap to hit the economic recovery running and scale up for your hiring surge.
An economic slowdown is not the time to put your talent acquisition strategy on the back burner. Use this time to take stock and get prepared so you’re ready to bounce back faster. You’ll be able to beat your competition and create a resilient workforce that’s ready for whatever the future has in store.
1,500+hires made in just six months across two locations
reduced drop-off by streamlining the application process
30,000clicks from recruitment marketing ads across social media and online display networks
This multinational chain of family theme parks required help hiring a variety of roles across its California and New York resorts including customer service roles, performers and lifeguards.
PeopleScout conducted in-depth market research to determine the biggest challenges the client faced when recruiting for their theme parks and resorts. We identified remote work, “candidate is king” and higher pay as the three main challenges facing the client. Here’s how we solved each:
Challenge #1 — Remote Work:
More people want flexibility. Front-line and hourly positions are less attractive to candidates after the growth in remote work during the pandemic.
Our Solution: We leveraged the client’s “play” branding to emphasize the fun and rewarding aspects of working on-site at one of the theme parks. This was fed through into recruitment marketing creative and copy.
Challenge #2 — “Candidate is King”:
With open positions outnumbering candidates for much of recent memory, today’s candidates know their worth, and the Great Resignation is proof that people are less willing than ever to settle.
Our Solution: By testing alternative job titles, improving job copy, and reaching out on different channels, we were able to widen our reach and pool of candidates. We strategically targeted candidates most likely to apply for the roles, such as those looking for seasonal or part-time jobs.
Challenge #3 — Higher Pay:
When faced with increased living costs, candidates are demanding higher pay.
Our Solution: The client was not in a position to raise wages for these roles. So, we got creative by restructuring job copy to better position the client’s competitive benefits. By quantifying these benefits and putting them front and center on job postings and recruitment marketing materials, we were able to generate interest without raising wages.
In the first six months, we were able to fulfill our goal of 1,336 hires in California & 190 in New York.
The client’s previous application had up to 22 sections where the candidate had to input information. PeopleScout optimized and shortened this candidate journey by employing a variety of channels including Indeed One-Click, Indeed Hiring Events and Talent.com. This reduced the application abandonment rate.
PeopleScout restructured job descriptions to create job advertisements. In other words, we rewrote the copy to focus on the value the client and the role have to offer their employees rather than what the client wanted from candidates.
PeopleScout performed A/B tests to determine which job titles would help reach a wider pool of candidates. For example, we found that “Waterpark Attendant” received almost 300 applications in the first week, while “Lifeguard” received only 15.
Social outreach using Facebook, Instagram and Google Display Network resulted in 4.1 million impressions and 30,000 clicks across the California and New York audiences.
AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: Multinational chain of family theme parks
A leading waste disposal and environmental services company faced significant challenges sourcing, attracting and hiring talent for vital full-time frontline roles including CDL drivers, technicians and administrative roles.
Scope and Scale
As a result of continuing skills shortages in high-demand roles, the client found it increasingly difficult to source talent with the required skills, credentials and experience to fill business-critical roles. The client required a full-cycle RPO solution to support its internal team in making 16,000 annual hires across North America. What’s more, the client sought a consultative partnership with ongoing strategic guidance and best practice implementation across the client’s talent sourcing program.
PeopleScout has partnered with the client for nearly 14 years supporting full-cycle, end-to-end roles and recently, the client required additional support for partial-cycle hiring. PeopleScout deployed a flexible RPO solution to source and deliver a continuous slate of qualified candidates into the client’s talent pipeline. PeopleScout also provides the client with recruitment marketing support, detailed talent market insights and expertise on program compliance.
PeopleScout’s team executes talent sourcing strategies, provides guidance on how to tap into talent channels and helps the client develop grassroots recruitment marketing campaigns to reach the right candidates.
PeopleScout developed a custom SLA dashboard and performance reporting via Affinix Analytics which highlights roles that aren’t getting as much traction and optimizes channel usage and ad spend accordingly.
With the additional scope, PeopleScout ramped up its team of 47 to 284, with specialized global support spanning India, Poland, UK and the U.S.
PeopleScout Talent Advisory team conducted a two-phased research project, including an exhaustive candidate persona framework based on interviews with the client’s current employees, for insight into their talent audience to develop highly targeted creative and messaging.
PeopleScout created a new employer branding and recruitment marketing strategy, and dedicated marketing experts from PeopleScout manage all the client’s social media accounts.
PeopleScout’s team finds qualified candidates in niche skill sets despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting talent shortages.
PeopleScout’s full-cycle RPO solution targets an average of 16,000 annual hires for extremely difficult skill sets, improving business outcomes across the enterprise.
Implemented new channels including Indeed, Appcast, geofencing, social media and more which allow the team to instantly post jobs to multiple job boards at one time.
After just 30 days of launching the SLA dashboard, the client saw a 38% improvement in SLAs including the interview-to-offer ratio, candidate outreach timeframe and offer extension timeline.
PeopleScout helped with the planning and execution of two career day events with over 1,900 attendees and 957 offers made, resulting in two of the best career day events the client has ever had.
AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: Waste disposal and environmental services company
PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory, Affinix
ANNUAL HIRES: 16,000
ABOUT THE CLIENT: As a leading waste disposal company in North America, this organization has over 45,000 employees supporting over 20 million residences and businesses with their waste and recycling needs.
3,200+Increase in Applicants from Diverse Backgrounds
18,056Views of Influencer Video on YouTube in Less Than 48 Hours
351,304Impressions Across Social Media via Nano-Influencers
The Fast Stream aims to be the most inclusive graduate scheme in the UK and has a goal for the diversity of its workforce to help ensure that every government department reflects all of the communities they serve. However, research they commissioned revealed a misperception, particularly amongst those within underrepresented diversity groups, that the Civil Service Fast Stream represents the elite and is not diverse. Whilst they weren’t in need of more applicants, they needed to increase the diversity of their candidates.
They turned to PeopleScout for a Talent Advisory solution that counteracted the perceptions of the Civil Service as being “stuffy,” “outdated” or “inaccessible.” The campaign needed to show the Civil Service Fast Stream as accessible to all graduates, regardless of their background, and increase representation of applicants from specific diversity groups to better reflect communities in the UK.
Taking a Cue from Consumer Marketing
Given the high number of applications the Fast Stream receive year-on-year, and the campaign objectives to diversify them, we made the strategic decision not to proceed with a traditional graduate media campaign.
Instead, we turned to online influencers.
While widely used in consumer marketing, influencer marketing is relatively new to the recruitment space. It was certainly innovative for the Civil Service and definitely not one our target audience would expect them to use.
Finding the Right Influencer
Identifying the right influencer, with the relevant following, would help us to:
Increase credibility with underrepresented groups
Remove perceived barriers around government work and the type of people who can get involved
Ask the right questions—those on the minds of the target audience
We found Vee Kativhu, an author and influencer who fit these criteria. Vee started her YouTube channel after getting into Oxford University and realizing that, as a black woman, she was a minority. She uses her platform to help those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds get access to the best information and advice so that anyone can achieve their dreams, no matter their background.
Continuing our theme of telling real-life stories, Vee spent a day with three Fast Streamers and produced a “day in the life” video, which she posted to her YouTube channel with over 250,000 subscribers. She also promoted the video through her Instagram and LinkedIn profiles.
We also engaged 12 diverse nano-influencers, with targeted followings, to reshape and share the video among their networks—further expanding the reach.
The campaign boosted applications from their target demographics by over 3,200, including significant increases in interest from candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds, from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, from the LGBTQ+ community as well as those with disabilities.
Vee’s video received 18,056 views in less than 48 hours. It went on to achieve over 36,000 total views with over 1,200 likes. Over the four-week social media campaign, Vee and the nano-influencers achieved a combined reach of 351,304 impressions and 2,436 engagements.
“Such an amazing video, Vee! Super informative, and I love the positive approach to a more diverse Civil Service.”
By taking an innovative approach to reach their target audience, the Civil Service Fast Stream received a cost-effective campaign that delivered on their diversity recruitment goals.
“Our new attraction strategy, particularly in the innovative use of working with influencers, really captured our vision of a skilled, innovative and ambitious Civil Service equipped for the future—one that reflects the country we serve.”
Talent Acquisition Leader at the Civil Service
“I love the new look and feel of Fast Stream attraction, especially as it’s generating feedback that ‘you don’t normally see this kind of thing in the Civil Service.’ Bold, different and refreshing.”
Talent Acquisition Leader at the Civil Service
AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: The Civil Service Fast Stream
PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
ANNUAL HIRES: 1,000+
ABOUT THE CIVIL SERVICE FAST STREAM: The Fast Stream is an award-winning graduate program for the Civil Service, developing talented, high-potential people to become future Civil Service leaders. Annually, the program recruits approximately 1,000 people from around the UK across 15 different leadership and specialist development schemes.
King’s College National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust is one of the busiest trusts in the UK, providing healthcare services for a population of over 1 million people. It supports numerous clinics and hospitals, including King’s College Hospital, a leading teaching hospital and trauma center serving several boroughs in southeast London. Their vision is to hire brilliant, diverse staff who provide outstanding care for their patients and continue to educate and innovate for the future of medicine.
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust came to PeopleScout with a challenge. They were, like many other healthcare organizations, struggling to recruit for clinical roles such as nursing.
To address this, our initial objective was to develop a “Why King’s” message for an employer brand campaign. But after conducting focus groups with employees, it became clear that, to fix the attraction issue, we needed to start with employee engagement.
Retention of staff wasn’t an issue—King’s was overarchingly seen as a place where, with the right motivation, employees could grow in their career. The problem was an overall feeling among staff that there was a lack of recognition and appreciation from senior leadership. While there was a great deal of pride and loyalty within teams, there was no strong sense of unity across the five sites within the Trust.
Before we could go out with an authentic employer brand message, we needed to show employees that they are valued, encourage staff recognition and galvanize the organization.
And we needed to do this on a big, Trust-wide scale.
We designed an employee engagement campaign that would not only recognize employees, but would also be a big, bold, morale-boosting showcase of Kings’ values:
Always aiming higher
Inspiring confidence in our care
Little did we know just how important this message would become as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. As the UK began clapping for the NHS in March 2020, we were designing a campaign that would greet the King’s staff on the frontlines and serve as a constant reminder of their incredible work, both before and throughout the pandemic.
This was so much more than an attraction campaign. It was our ‘Big Thank You’ to those who had sacrificed so much to keep us all safe.
Bringing It to Life
Six Days. 166 Participants.
As soon as lockdown restrictions lifted, we safely photographed and filmed people from across a range of clinical and non-clinical roles from all of King’s sites. Staff gave up valuable break time to take part in something that honored their colleagues as well as recognized their own contributions.
Using comments made about participating staff members by their colleagues, we created 350 thank-yous—for both individual participants and general messages to all staff.
300 Pieces of Artwork. 18 Installations Across Three Main Sites.
We used the secondary color palette from the NHS brand to create something that would stand out from the usual NHS blue to celebrate our King’s stars. With 300 pieces of eye-catching collateral in tow, we plastered our larger-than-life installations across three main sites, including a huge projection onto the outside of the hospital at their central location. Images went up on walls; inside and outside of buildings; on fence railings, stairs and windows.
Imagine the feeling: Arriving for another exhausting shift on the COVID frontlines to see an over 300-square-foot personalized message of gratitude to you, from your employer, projected on the outside of your workplace for all your colleagues and the local community to see.
That’s recognition on a big scale.
Not only did the installations delight staff, they also expressed the appreciation of King’s leadership and echoed the community’s warmth and gratitude for the Trust and the wider NHS.
In times of unprecedented turmoil, unimaginable pressure and unbelievable sadness, this uplifting campaign created a feeling of belonging, camaraderie and engagement among staff. As COVID-19 raged, what had started as an idea to recognize and celebrate those who brought the King’s values to life, evolved to become a wider message for all, “Thank you to all of you, for everything—and whatever comes next, we’re all in this together.”
The campaign has been instrumental in building a sense of pride not just in individual teams, but in the Trust as a whole. We’ve helped create positive advocates who are proud to be Team King’s and who contribute to a culture of recognition and gratitude. As a result of this campaign:
There was a 50% increase in the number of recognitions made by staff to their colleagues following the campaign.
13,159 thank-you letters and badges were sent out to all staff.
Their Chief Nurse is beyond thrilled with the results. Not only with the execution (which has also, on a practical level, brightened up some of the older hospital buildings), but with the impact she directly attributes to this campaign—renewed feelings of inclusion, recognition and engagement across the King’s staff.
“You’ve captured the people and heart of King’s and brought our values to life. The staff response to these images has been extraordinary and has created a real buy-in and the internal buzz that we were after.”
Nicola Ranger, Chief Nurse & Executive Director of Midwifery, King’s College Hospital
In addition to the employee engagement benefits, the Trust is leveraging the content in their on-going talent attraction and recruitment efforts via a custom careers portal and targeted recruitment marketing campaigns. We created a video for each person we interviewed to showcase King’s employer value proposition (EVP) and communicate the opportunities they offer.
This feel-good, reputation-healing employee engagement project will have an impact on the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust workforce for years to come.
AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: King’s College NHS Foundation Trust
PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
ABOUT: King’s College NHS Foundation Trust provides healthcare services through numerous clinics and hospitals, including King’s College Hospital, a leading teaching hospital and trauma centre serving several boroughs in southeast London.
16,000Applications Received, Beating our Target by 60%
23%Increase in the Numbers of Female Candidates
27Places Jumped on the Times Top 100 Rankings
Counterintuitive as it sounds, strong consumer brands can hinder recruitment. Applicants can get an idea of what to expect that doesn’t match the reality of the careers experience being offered. This was the case with Vodafone. For consumers, the organization is a high-profile mobile phone retailer. But, behind that perception sits a multifaceted tech innovator with a mission to make the future world a better place.
In order to achieve this, Vodafone turned to PeopleScout to help it become a youth employer of choice, because changing the future meant gaining the buy-in of those who would be influential within it for years to come.
As part of our research phase, we took a deep dive into Vodafone’s future jobs strategy. The client wanted to overcome high levels of youth unemployment by providing up to 100,000 young people with a digital workplace experience at Vodafone. Plus, given that one-in-five young people say they feel under-prepared for the digital economy, the business set another ambitious goal to support 10 million young people with access to digital skills, learning and employment opportunities.
So, how could Vodafone attract Millennials, Gen Z and beyond? These generations are big achievers whose ambitions soar higher than working in mobile phone retail. We needed an attraction strategy and recruitment marketing campaign that changed their audience’s perceptions about Vodafone and all the different kinds of careers—and impacts—they could make there.
Vodafone asked us to create a campaign that would spark conversations and stand out as part of their instantly recognizable brand. They needed to generate 10,000 applications to fill 150 graduate roles and 100 intern/industrial student placements across the business. Plus, the overarching goal was to change misperceptions of Vodafone, showing it as a major tech company, not a retailer, and build its reputation as a youth employer of choice. Importantly, we were asked to reach a more diverse audience and increase female applications.
Of our target audience, 90.4% regularly used social media. On top of this, 91% of all social media users access channels via mobile. So, we developed a mobile-first, social media friendly campaign. Further research revealed that many students with the right background and personal qualifications were put off from applying due to a lack of confidence. So, we needed a message that was bold, relatable and empowering.
Just as important as the audience insights were the strategic considerations. Candidates are also customers. When buying products, they expect a streamlined, user-friendly, friction-free process, and they had the same expectation when making career decisions. So, we made every touchpoint (especially the application) as slick and easy as possible.
No contemporary attraction approach can be just about advertising. Long-term connections are far more powerful. So, central to our strategy was to set Vodafone up to engage in conversations and initiatives with high-potential university students throughout their full university lifecycle. In short, the strategy was to start on day one, not year three.
THE CORE MESSAGE
Our message, #GenerationPossible, aimed to capture the spirit of change and possibility and draw on the opportunity young people have to make an impact on the world for the better. Our visual approach used photography that reflected our target audience combined with bold headline statements.
Social media and career site content featured current grads and interns sharing their advice for the next generation of Vodafone employees, with a #GenerationPossible video at the heart of this campaign. Our six-month social media strategy for mobile consisted of 104 social posts with 20 mini-videos/GIFs. We posted, tracked and analyzed this content on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Get to Know Us Videos
Our research had identified that our target audience felt like they weren’t good enough or lacked the skills to take on these roles. So, we created a series of videos featuring current Vodafone graduate recruits and interns. Filmed in and around Vodafone’s main campus, these videos gave real-life insights into what they could expect when it came to work, wellbeing, social responsibility, innovation, the assessment center and the interview process.
Away from social media, we built a series of 41 on-campus events to connect students directly with Vodafone employees. We carefully chose our campuses based on those with the highest female-to-male ratios for tech degrees, as a way to help us drive up female applications.
The campaign comfortably exceeded Vodafone’s expectations.
We generated over 16,000 applications – beating our target by 60%.
We increased the number of female candidates by 23%.
We increased Instagram impressions by 89.3% (post-campaign vs. pre-campaign).
We saw 1.5 million Facebook impressions.
We gained 6.8 million impressions on organic posts on LinkedIn.
We created a hyper-targeted paid Facebook campaign which produced 390,510 impressions and 2,541 clicks – all from the target audience.
These numbers are backed up by audience sentiment. We improved Vodafone’s reputation as an employer significantly, jumping 27 places in the Times Top 100 rankings. As a result of its success, Vodafone asked us to develop the concept for their apprentice campaign audience and roll it out through a new assessment process design.
AT A GLANCE
PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
ABOUT VODAFONE: Vodafone is a British multinational telecommunications company. They provide connectivity and digital services for over 300 million people to work, learn, stay in touch with friends and family, access healthcare and more.
800+Candidates in a Talent Pool for Future Openings
The National Crime Agency is responsible for leading the UK’s fight to cut serious and organized crime. The agency’s focus is on the big threats—targeting and pursuing serious and organized crime and criminals who pose the greatest risk to the UK. The work is hugely complex, high-level and large scale. Officers operate at the forefront of law enforcement, building intelligence, pursuing the most serious and dangerous offenders and developing and delivering specialist capabilities for partner organizations.
It could have been an impressive proposition for the 1,500 investigators and other professionals the NCA wanted to recruit. But the NCA was competing with MI5, MI6, GCHQ and police forces for this talent. The intelligence organizations could be considered “sexier” brands. The police forces are better known and understood.
The NCA had been flying under the radar and needed to arrive on the scene with a bang. They turned to PeopleScout for a confident, attention-grabbing campaign to put their employer brand front-of-mind for their target audience.
We conducted wide-ranging qualitative interviews and focus groups with key people across the agency in order to really get under the skin of the human experience of working there.
The key insights were:
When NCA investigators succeed the impact is huge and far-reaching. The criminal activity they stop covers everything from child sexual abuse to illegal firearms trafficking, cyber crime, kidnapping and extortion. The police, by contrast, have to deal with everything from shoplifting upwards.
A lot of the criminals the NCA targets feel they are untouchable. It’s very exciting to prove they are not.
The work is exciting, and we shouldn’t underplay that.
Investigators are often serving police officers or have strong links to policing. They rarely engage with usual recruitment channels, so we needed to think differently.
The agency saw location as key—they were keen to recruit candidates close to the locations of their regional offices.
The Core Message
To work in crowded streets and packed transit stations, our campaign needed to have immediate visual impact. The NCA hunts the big fish of the criminal world. So, we chose the shark as a perfect visual metaphor to illustrate the level of criminality the agency handles; it’s the ultimate hidden predator with a fin that creates an emotional reaction.
Our visuals show a huge shark fin bursting through the ground, towering over well-known landmarks and wreaking havoc in recognizable, urban UK locations in London and Manchester. Each visual represented the scale of damage caused by high-level crime, while storm clouds provided a suitable dark and menacing backdrop. These visuals were complemented with a simple message: No predator too big.
We focused the recruitment campaign on outdoor media to reach the widest possible audience in our target areas. We identified outdoor locations that serve police officers on their daily commute—for example, Manchester Piccadilly station and the Metro line to Greater Manchester Police HQ—in addition to specialist online media.
We rolled out the campaign for digital, data, tech and specialist firearms audiences. The results were very impressive:
29,684 candidates to the NCA landing page. 15,703 applications across 143 roles. 2,228 candidates invited to interview. 225 job offers. 825 held in talent pool awaiting job offers.
This was a hugely successful campaign which drove a large number of applications. We exceeded NCA’s expectations, raised awareness of the NCA as an alternative employer for serving police officers and improved perceptions of the NCA as an employer with a unique offering.
AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: National Crime Agency (NCA)
PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
LOCATIONS: Regional offices in the UK’s urban centers
About NCA: The National Crime Agency (NCA) is a national law enforcement agency in the UK focused on fighting organized crime, trafficking, cybercrime and fraud.
As lockdowns ease, vaccination numbers rise and consumers get back to spending, job openings are at an all-time high—as a result of millions of prime-age workers leaving the labor market or switching to part time. Employers in industries like leisure and hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing and more are struggling to fill open positions with qualified talent.
So, with all these open jobs, how can employers stand out above the competition to attract the next generation of top talent? It starts with focusing on key ideal candidate touch points—from your employer value proposition (EVP) and employer brand to your recruitment marketing strategy, careers site and application process.
In this article, we’ll take you along the candidate journey and touch on each aspect you should address to make your open roles stand out in a sea of job openings.
Create an EVP and Employer Brand that Speaks to Your Ideal Candidate
Your EVP and employer brand carry a lot of weight for the next generation of top talent, because they serve as differentiators between your brand and competitors and allow you to align your organization’s purpose with your candidates’ passions. It is important to do your research and be aware of what candidates hold in high regard, such as the opportunity for growth personally and professionally or the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Learn what drives your ideal candidate, identify what drives your organization’s mission and values, and establish an EVP and employer brand that speaks to both.
Building an Employer Brand for the Lawyer of the Future
The Situation: Linklaters approached us with a talent problem for the ages. They needed an entirely new type of lawyer. The profile Linklaters recruited for in the past would no longer bring them the ideal candidates necessary to secure and expand on their position as a heavyweight global law firm.
The Research: We conducted one-on-one interviews and focus groups with hundreds of professionals in 20 Linklaters offices across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The output of these interviews gave us everything we needed to create the EVP and the framework of the brand on which to build our global advertising campaign.
The Solution: We created an employer value proposition that was a combination of big picture philosophical and a Linklaters-specific selling point.
GREAT CHANGE IS HERE
Message: Change is healthy and exciting, as well as unavoidable. Join this modern, international, hugely diverse cohort and you’ll have a truly influential voice that redefines the legal sector and sets you up for an ever-evolving career.
The Results: Glassdoor scores for Linklaters have risen by 8% in the last two years and, importantly, applications from female lawyers – which was a key objective – have increased since the EVP launch.
When it comes to increasing awareness with recruitment marketing, you want to reach ideal candidates and promote your organization as desirable. To ensure you are marketing yourself properly, it can help to create content that drives a potential candidate to come back to your site, even if they aren’t actively looking for a job.
For example, acknowledging company accolades and awards can spark interest in your organization for both active and passive candidates, like this Instagram post from HubSpot. However, content at this stage does not need to be directly correlated to your organization to be effective. Content regarding professional development and motivation can also lead ideal candidates to inquire further on your website, such as these resume tips from Nestle Purina.
Stage Two: Generate Interest
Now that you have increased awareness, the next step is to generate interest. You have succeeded in showcasing your organization’s knowledge and place in the industry, now it’s time to show what it is like to work at your company. This is where you stress your employer brand, especially via social media. This can give potential candidates an inside look as to what it’s like to work for your company.
Social media is a powerful tool that not only generates interest but can also increase applicants for vital roles. For example, PeopleScout helped this manufacturing client increase the number of female applicants and hires in a male-dominated industry. Through the usage of employee spotlights, videos and stories to showcase how women are integrated into the culture and integral to the company’s success, the client was able to increase female hiring by 3% annually from 2018 to 2021.
Stage Three: Nurture the Decision
After increasing awareness and generating interest in your company, it is now time to promote open positions and the benefits, perks and compensation that will come with these roles. The promotion of open roles within your organization will lead the candidate to your careers site, which will play a pivotal role in the candidate’s journey toward employment with your organization. Here, it is important to do research on your competitors to see what they are offering for similar open roles. If a competitor is offering better pay, benefits, or perks, that can be a deciding factor for an ideal candidate to choose them over your organization, despite your strong recruitment marketing strategy.
Build a Careers Site that Stands Out
At this point in the candidate journey, the potential applicant has made their way to your organization’s careers site. It’s important to remember that a careers site is not only an area for job postings, but it is also home to many opportunities to stand out above competitors. For example, your careers site is a great place to reiterate the employer value proposition you built out in your recruitment marketing strategies to ensure that message is carried through every step of the candidate journey. Your careers site should be inclusive of everything a potential candidate would like to know about what it would be like to work for your organization. Consider these key areas of opportunity when refreshing your careers site:
In the digital age, it is important to make sure your careers site is user-friendly for those on a computer or a smart phone, especially since 61% of applicants applied to jobs via a mobile device in 2020. If a candidate struggles to navigate your careers site, chances are they won’t be staying on that site for long. It is also important to make sure your careers site is accessible for those with disabilities. Here are some suggestions from SHRM on how to make your careers site accessible for all:
Screen reader compatibility
Alternative text for images
Controls for moving content
Controls for timed content
Accessible downloadable files
Search Engine Optimization
It is important to utilize search engine optimization on your careers site. This can play a pivotal role in your careers site showing up first over a competitor on major search engines. The usage of keywords and traditional, highly searched titles will play an important role in helping your roles stand out above your competition. Research of popular keywords can boost your place among major search engines, leading potential candidates to your careers site first. Google Analytics and UTM tracking codes are important tools to utilize in your SEO journey to track and report where your clicks are coming from.
Provide a Personal Touch
On your career site, adding a personal touch, such as a welcome video, can go a long way. It can help the candidate see the human side of your business; it can offer an inside look of the facility and it is also an opportunity to showcase where these applicants may fit in within the structure of the organization.
This is a great chance to sell the applicant on working for your company and really showcase your company culture. Offer insights, quotes or firsthand experiences from senior leaders to newly brought on employees. Highlight opportunities for growth both personally and professionally and provide examples of success stories from your existing employees.
Let Applicants Know What to Expect
If the process to apply and interview is not given or discussed at all, many applicants can be led to believe their application will get lost among others. Be upfront and transparent about what the application and interview process is like and offer timelines for the applicants.
Streamline the Application and Interview Process
Although the candidate has made it this far, you’re not done yet. After all, 80% of the time, candidates don’t finish filling out job applications, according to Glassdoor. To ensure candidates complete your application and interview process, focus on these key aspects to help you stand out:
Quick response time
Automated chat and scheduling
Consider how technology can help streamline your process in each of the categories listed above. A mobile-friendly application, easy interview scheduling and quick response times can all be enhanced by AI and automation and provide a superior candidate experience.
Standing Out Beyond the Application
Despite having a well built out EVP and employer brand, recruitment marketing strategy, careers site and application, the deciding factor for an ideal candidate to choose your organization will often come down to a strong employment offer. It’s important to keep in mind that if your compensation, perks and benefits (like flexible work options) don’t match up to competitors, ideal candidates in today’s market have the ability to choose to work elsewhere.
That said, by creating ways to stand out and showcase your EVP and employer brand at each stage of the candidate journey as outlined above, you will be one step closer to securing the top talent your organization needs.