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HR’s Simple Trick to Get CXO Buy-In

Here is a method to get candidate experience optimization.

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd
August 20, 2021
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There's a very famous employer branding case study from Virgin that every TA leader should read.

To summarize, their candidate experience was so bad that they calculated they were losing around 7,500 customers each year.  This resulted in £4.4 million in lost revenues.

Realizing the impact this was having on the broader business was a catalyst for immediate buy in from the right people to change what was going on at Virgin.

After some major changes, they were able to make their recruiting process a revenue generator as opposed to a revenue detractor.

Candidate applying for a position smiling

A trick to get CXO buy in

One of the most common gripes we hear from HR teams is that their leadership isn't bought into the latest initiative.  This is especially true when it comes to employer branding efforts where the ROI can be a bit nebulous and far out.

What is the ROI from a new employee value prop?  Well, it can actually be quite large, but convincing the CFO that can be a bit tough.

One trick for recruiting teams to get CXO buy-in is to start calling their candidates by the same nomenclature used to describe customers.

For example, if your business is in the travel industry, start calling your candidates "travelers" (we stole this tip from Ed Ross of Skyscanner - we'll be posting a really interesting interview with him on the blog in a few weeks).

We don't have 100k "candidates" apply per year, we have 100k "travelers" apply per year.  Now, just like we go out of our way to treat our customers with respect so they'll come back, we're going to treat our candidates the same way.

Now you are speaking a language that the board cares about, the shareholders care about, and therefore the CXOs care about.

In addition to growing the team, you have the opportunity to make 100k new customers, 100k new allies in your industry, or 100k new friends in your community.

The ROI from these efforts can be really large, as we've seen with Virgin, and they can be trackable by matching emails in your ATS with customer records in your CRM or payments solution.

The fact that you have a strong candidate experience (strong employer brand, great careers site, scheduling software, easy apply, etc) may be seen as mere icing on the cake by the CFO - but who cares as long as you get to accomplish your goals?

Plus, after you implement your new tools/initiatives and capture value, you can evangelize these wins, which should kick off a virtuous cycle that allows you to continue pursuing what matters to the People team.

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Phil Strazzulla

Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews, a website dedicated to helping HR and Recruiting teams to find and buy the right software through in-depth, expert advice. Phil started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School.

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