#HROS: How Ph.Creative Transformed Virgin Media’s Candidate Experience

Editor’s Note: This case study is republished from HR Open Source (#HROS).

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Attracting and retaining talent is harder than ever. Every year, brands across the country are unknowingly losing millions of pounds, as poor candidate experience jeopardizes consumer loyalty.

In 2014 Virgin Media came to us with a problem: “How do we bring our brand to life through the recruitment process and offer support and guidance to all our candidates?”

Virgin Media came to us with this question prompted by two major factors. Firstly they were concerned about their -29 Net Promoter Score and the resulting impact this could have on this brand. Anything associated with Virgin comes with certain service expectations and this was a concern.

Secondly, conversation with Virgin started directly following ‘Google’ Dave Hazlehurst’s speech at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect 2014 in London. The keynote scrutinized what recruitment would look like if brands became famous for how they treat people when they fail – or ‘silver medalists’ as we name them.

We knew the answer was multi-faceted. First, it required an introspective and honest look at current practices.Get an insider’s look at @VirginMedia’s candidate experience and how @PHCreative transformed it in their case study featured on @HROpenSource! #HROS Click To Tweet


Virgin Media Head of Resourcing Graeme Johnson approached us initially about helping them with their candidate rejection experience. However, it was upon really trying to understand the team’s concerns that we began the process of investigating the total candidate experience journey.

We realised that by mapping the multiple moments that candidates go through during recruitment – and exploring how they think and feel in these moments – that we were able to arrive at the ‘why’ of the project.

To make Virgin Media the good guys of recruitment – to help people out in their job search, whether they end up working for Virgin Media or not.


To understand Virgin’s candidate experience, we knew we had to start where it matters most: with the candidates themselves. In 2014, Virgin Media lost 7,500 customers as a result of direct candidate rejection or poor candidate experience. This was discovered after collaboration with Virgin Media’s insights team, who look at who was a customer before or at the start of the recruitment process and cross-referencing this with who canceled within 4 weeks of the end of that process.

Working alongside Virgin, we discovered this figure translates to roughly £4.4 million in lost revenue.

The challenge lay in the way we approached the problem. It’s not about candidates, customers, B2B or B2C, it’s about the basic principles of understanding people, their behaviours and what drives and influences them.


Nearly every brand has an existing EVP, but very few understand how to make them come alive. We set out to run a workshop that would cut to the heart of the problem and uncover the stories that make working at Virgin Media unique.


In order to better understand the candidate experience, we sought to clarify the behavioural identity of ideal target recruits. Persona and Empathy mapping help make pertinent the key target audiences that engage with a brand – we saw this as a key avenue of pursuit in our quest to bring Virgin Media’s brand to life during the recruitment process.


At its most basic level, Candidate Experience Mapping can be understood as the sum of all interactions that a candidate has with a brand during the recruitment process – from initial discovery through to final hire or rejection. Understanding, analysing and improving the candidate experience journey stood at the heart of our project with Virgin Media.

virgin media case studyCANDIDATE-CENTRED PLATFORM

On the back of this incredible insight and knowledge, we knew we could build and design a fast, responsive site that would place the candidate at the heart of site planning and architecture, UX and UI, content strategy and user-behaviour.


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