When your candidates are your customers, a bad candidate experience does more than just damage your brand image — it can also hurt your bottom line. In our latest webinar, Virgin Media explained how they managed to become “the good guys” of recruitment by leveraging HR technology, providing a great candidate experience and potentially saving £4.4 million in the process.

How It All Began

In 2014, Virgin Media took a closer look at their candidate experience by conducting a “Rejected Candidate Survey” of all applicants that had been turned down. The results were illuminating: 18% of the rejected applicants were Virgin Media customers, and approximately 7,500 of them — or 6% of the total applicants — switched to a Virgin competitor as a direct result of their poor recruitment experience. This in turn resulted in almost £4.4 million in lost revenue, nearly equal to the company’s entire annual recruitment budget.

Joining Forces

To tackle this problem, Virgin Media approached Ph. Attraction with the initial intention of improving Virgin’s candidate rejection experience. After discussing the issue together, the team realized that the true opportunity lay in not only minimizing instances of poor candidate rejection experience, but in providing a richer experience to all candidates regardless of whether or not they ultimately end up working for Virgin Media.

We wanted to get a reputation in the industry for not just being the listening telecom business, but a business that listens and acts. And that evolved into how we can support and help people throughout the recruitment process. Even if they don’t get a job at Virgin Media, they’ve invested a lot of time and effort into the recruiting process, and the last thing we want them to do is leave with a bad taste in their mouth.” – Neil Chivers, Virgin Media

Mapping It Out

Armed with sugar, caffeine, and a whole bunch of sticky notes, the Ph. team applied their previous experience mapping B2C customer experience to Virgin Media’s recruitment process. Going carefully through every stage of the candidate journey: Initial Attraction, Application, Screening, Assessment, and Results, Ph. uncovered the various pain points candidates experienced.

Every single person has a direct impact on how people feel and think about the candidate experience, which then has a direct impact on how they feel about the brand.”-Dave Hazlehurst, Ph. Attraction

In addition to the challenges faced by the candidates, this exercise allowed Ph. Attraction and Virgin Media to pinpoint several internal problem areas for recruiters and hiring managers as well. With this in mind, they devised potential solutions for Virgin Media recruitment staff, which would in turn help improve the candidate experience for applicants as well.

Areas of Improvement

Based on the candidate experience mapping, the team determined 6 key themes to focus on as they sought improvement to the recruitment process as a whole: Contact, Feedback, Ease, Support, Expectation and Brand Experience. With closer examination, they soon realized the integral role HR technology plays in improving each of these areas. Having just changed their ATS to Avature, Virgin recruiters were better able to kep track of each candidate’s journey. But for the candidates themselves, the experience still left much to be desired:


There’s this three way, bizarre love triangle… the hiring manager’s needs, versus the recruiter’s needs, versus the candidate’s needs. Often we don’t think about them in their entirety. For us it’s really important to look at everybody’s perspective.” – Neil Chivers

Bringing a New Solution to Life

To tackle the newly visible pain points for candidates, hiring managers and recruiters alike, Ph. Attractive devised and developed Volt, a candidate-centric platform that integrates with Avature to help candidates feel more comfortable throughout the recruitment process, while also allowing recruiters to gather real-time feedback from candidates as they progress throughout their journey. With rich content such as interview tips as well as behind-the-scenes videos, candidates have a better idea of how to present themselves as well as what to expect.

As a result of the implementation of this solution, the Candidate NPS (Net Promoter Score) has improved from -29 to +11 and social media engagement has been both more positive and more frequent. In addition, Virgin received a great deal of global media attention for their innovative approach to candidate experience, which furthers their positive image as an employer and brand.


While extremely pleased with the success thus far, Virgin Media recognizes that there is always more that can be done in terms of integrating HR technology like Avature, with smart automation and personalized messaging, to better the candidate experience. Moving forward, Virgin Media is planning to implement Avature Onboarding in late 2017 to provide a smooth transition for candidates entering new positions within the company.

It’s about ensuring that we are using the technology in the right way. We are always thinking about how as a business we can attract the best talent to come work for us”  – Neil Chivers