Lillie Ubeid
by Lillie Ubeid
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At Access World 2019, members of the Senior Management Team at Volcanic inspired the audience with their insights about the current and future state of candidate attraction.

Steve Barnhurst, Commercial Director, took to the stage and asked attendees to challenge the term candidate experience, and think more about the modern-day expectation that has been been firmly established from other aspects of our lives. 

We captured everything that Steve had to say and we highly recommend the read! 

We build beautiful looking websites for the recruitment industry

"For those less familiar with Volcanic, put simply, we build beautiful looking websites for the recruitment industry. Beautiful looking will always be a subjective term in the sense that what you may like, we may not, and vice versa. So we work very closely with our clients to understand their brand, their vision and then we power that with our underlying platform to enhance it as best we possibly can. 

We’ll always have a very keen eye on the design aspect of a recruitment website, but from our point of view, we are more focused on attracting candidates and getting candidates to apply, because ultimately that is the lifeblood of your organisation.

To put that into context, the recruitment market is now comprised of around about 40,000 recruitment agencies. We know that of that number, approximately 75% never get above 10 recruiters. On a yearly basis we see around3000 new agencies enter the market, and sadly we see around 2000 exit the market. 

However, the statistic I always find the most interesting and which very rarely gets spoken about, is what the average desk runs at. The average desk in the UK is still predicted to be running at between 8-10k worth of net fee income. The interesting thing about that statistic is that it hasn’t really changed for as long as I can remember. 

I shouldn’t really say this as a supplier of technology to the industry, but there are no magic bullets out there, there are no shortcuts. The average desk value has not increased in line with the money invested and so it would be fair to say that technology alone is not going to do this for us. What we really need to do is think about how we view recruitment as an industry and how we go about recruiting, as opposed to just looking for those quick wins. 

The word ‘experience’ is in the same bucket as last year’s ‘Big data’

So we’re talking about candidate and client experience, but what I would like to do is to challenge the concept of that word ‘experience’. For me, it’s incredibly overused. It’s a term I think that we can put in the same bucket as last year’s ‘big data’ and this year’s ‘AI’. It’s been around for a very long time to the extent that it has almost become empty and worthless. I think what has happened is that candidates have moved well beyond it, customers have moved well beyond it, and it’s us an an industry that are clinging onto it. That’s not necessarily a healthy position for us to be in.

The reason I say that is that I think experience has gone, and what we are actually facing now is a modern-day expectation. It’s not an experience that they’re looking for. They have a different level of expectation and that is very much driven from other aspects of their life.

Now you’ll be very familiar with these logos and brands, but ultimately this is where all of this comes from. We live in a world of consumerism. This has made us incredibly impatient as individuals. We expect everything right here, right now, incredibly easily. 

So to put that into context, I can wait - which I probably will do - until Christmas Eve until I order all of my Christmas presents safe in the knowledge that they will turn up on time. I can pay a little bit more and have it gift-wrapped, I can even get the labels pre-printed. Dead-easy. 

Heaven forbid something isn’t available online, I might actually have to go out to the shop and get something, but don’t panic, I don’t even have to get the car out of the garage, I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to park or how much it’s going to cost, I can just get an Uber to turn up, take me where I want to go and bring me back when I’m done. 

Then once I’m back home, the thought of cooking, well, that’s not going to happen, so I can get the food delivered to the door. And then I can choose to either watch a film of my choice or listen to some music. 

I have absolute control over how I interact with these products. 

Even with that, I have absolute control over how I interact with these products. I can listen to one song without having to buy the album. I don’t even have to watch television on a weekly basis now, because that’s far too boring! I can skip all of that and just binge-watch them at the end. 

So we’ve become incredibly impatient as a race of individuals, and this has been creeping into pretty much every aspect of our entire lives. 

This is the new norm. 

So while us as recruiters are still clinging on trying to improve the experience, the people that we’re actually working with, specifically our candidates, are expecting a service on another level. So perhaps we need to look at how we approach this in a very different way. 

Over 17.5 million job searches apparently run on a monthly basis on search engines.

Some stats for you…


Over 17.5 million job searches apparently run on a monthly basis on search engines. 

91% of job seekers who were recently surveyed were in active employment. That’s not particularly surprising considering we’ve got the lowest rates of unemployment that we’ve seen for many years. 

Probably the most interesting statistic, is the 83% - they were passive candidates who openly said that they were not committed to actually moving jobs!  Why look if you’re never going to move…. 

70% of the searches, stopped at the bottom of the first page of results. So again, that impatience level creeps in where you can see the candidate has got to the bottom of the page, not found what they want, got bored and moved on. Their attention span is becoming shorter and shorter and shorter. 

80% of recruitment job related tasks take place between 6-8pm, but for passive job seekers, their searches mainly take place between 12-2pm and then again at 6-8pm.

So we tend to think that we’re dealing with tyre kickers, these people are wasting our time they apply for jobs and then don’t follow through the process. Maybe we need to reconsider this. Are they really not bothered about following through the process, or do we make the process too difficult for them to follow through? 

Maybe we have to review how we interact with those individuals and make it very close to what their expectation is to help them to get through that process in a far more efficient way. 

So to give you some real world examples, this is the augmented reality app made by IKEA. 

Now if we’re going to talk about experience, going to IKEA has to be rated as one of the most horrific experiences you can go through. These shops are put in the middle of nowhere for good reason, because nobody wants to go to them! 

You turn up, get through the car park eventually, and then you’re met with a labyrinth with no obvious sign of exit whatsoever. 

If you’re lucky you may get some painted footprints on the floor but don’t be fooled, they will simply take you past everything you don’t want to buy - including 101 million cuddly toys - and eventually you navigate your way through to the product that you’re looking for. 

You think you’re there, but actually you realise you can’t buy it here, you’ve now got to go to the warehouse to search for it once again. 

At this point the only saving grace for me is that I’ve picked up a free pencil and a tape measure along the way. 

Now, at this point, numerous arguments with my wife have already taken place, the relationship is in a pretty fragile position with one wrong suggestion or turn of phrase about to define the rest of the weekend if not beyond, and not even the thought of a plastic hotdog or some Swedish meatballs are going to see me through. Eventually we get home having walked round the car park a number of times and queuing for what felt like an eternity to get out and we start to put it together, bits are missing, it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t look right. 

Brilliant experience. 

All jokes aside, this was actually a problem for IKEA. They had incredibly poor customer satisfaction rates and huge product return rates for that very reason. So they looked at what they could do to improve that whole experience, and so they came up with this augmented reality app. This allows customers to view their product catalogue in their own home. So I can now visualise what the chair would look like. Would it suit? Would it fit? 

What that has led to is incredibly better results for customer satisfaction. It has reduced the volume of returns as a business that they actually have to process, and as a direct result, their revenue has gone up. 

That real world example is another step towards that expectation of what people in other industries now take for granted. And actually, industries that we may have thought lagged behind the recruitment industry, are doing things that possibly go well beyond what we’re doing right now. 

I don’t have to go to a car dealership to look at the latest and greatest model of car. If I’ve bought one before, I’m now in their cycle, and they will start sending me videos of a walk around of the new model.

From an estate agency point of view, I get a very similar experience. I don’t have to go to the website, that’s far too arduous! They send me a video and I can get a virtual tour of the property. I can potentially even see what the surrounding areas are like as well. So they’re giving me a wealth of information in a very modern way.

This is the norm. 

So this is the norm. And maybe we are the exception when we’re clinging onto the experience. 

So from my point of view, I’m wondering whether we will see a time in recruitment where I can use some of this technology? Could I envisage a world where I could see a video of the new office that I may end up working in? Could I see my desk before I get there on the first day? What I do know is that anything we do from a candidate and customer attraction point of view, is going to have to be fast, it’s going to have to be incredibly efficient, and it’s going to have to meet the requirements of an incredibly demanding and impatient bunch of individuals.”


If you’re interested in learning more about how Volcanic can boost your candidate attraction, a member of our team will be happy to speak to you! Get in touch today

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