puts into perspective this great case study you can use when advocating for better candidate experience.

A few years ago, Graeme Johnson, the former Head of Resourcing at the British cable and mobile provider Virgin Media (who is now leading recruiting at BT), and his team calculated the lost revenue caused by bad candidate experiences, asked Virgin Media executives to invest in solving this issue, re-trained hundreds of hiring managers, and saw amazing results.


The first step was to examine the behavior of the rejected candidates. The company analytics team looked at datasets to determine whether rejected candidates who said they’d switch providers actually did so within a month—and found that 6% did.

Then came the calculation: if there were 123,000 rejected candidates each year, and 6% canceled their monthly Virgin Media subscription, you end up with about 7,500 cancellations. Multiply that by the £50 ($60) subscription fee and by 12 months, and Johnson realized Virgin Media was losing £4.4 million per year, the equivalent of $5.4 million.

Bad Candidate Experience Cost Virgin Media $5M Annually

But the impact on revenue was likely even worse—by three or four times—because the numbers didn’t take into account how candidates were probably telling their friends and family (also Virgin Media customers) about the bad experience.

That news was what got the CFO on board, to fix the problem.

To drive a better experience, Johnson thought he needed that fun marketing touch that people expect from a brand associated with Richard Branson. Johnson got the sales director to introduce a new annual award for the team member who was giving the best candidate experience.

The results far exceeded Johnson’s expectations.

Johnson also looked into the cost of acquiring a new customer through traditional marketing channels (such as retail and telephone outreach) versus acquiring one who came in as a candidate and had a great experience. The result: it’s 10 times cheaper to gain business from the recruiting process (it only costs $50 versus $500 for traditional marketing).

And marketing, came through with resources, too, sending Johnson and his team to Jamaica to shoot videos with Usain Bolt, who now pops up in videos during the candidate application process to give tips and wish people good luck.

Turning candidate experience into a company-wide priority

Now that 450 hiring managers have completed the training program, Johnson said they’ve actually created a movement around candidate experience.

This post is based on “The Commercial Impact of Candidate Experience,” presented at LinkedIn Talent Connect 2016.