As candidates increasingly expect more immediacy, more personalisation, and more choice in how they communicate with potential employers, Barclays is showcasing new routes for people to discover the opportunities available within the bank.
For Kate Milloy, Resourcing Communications Lead at Barclays UK, that means offering fresh channels of interaction at every stage of the selection and recruitment process – or as she defines it, the ‘candidate journey’.
"Everything we do should be about what this feels like for the candidate, and why we need them to go through each interaction,” says Milloy. Within Barclays, this type of user experience model is already common in thinking about customer journeys, but now it’s also being used for candidate journeys – from initial online searches through to selection and training. “Changing jobs, exploring new career paths, is a massive deal, and it’s a user-defined experience," Milloy adds.
Our audience is not just the jobseeker: we’re trying to connect with people who might not have considered Barclays, or who might not have realised that they’re looking to change jobs at the time. Our content and social strategy is all about capturing their interest and imagination.
Resourcing Communications Lead at Barclays UK
With banks increasingly thinking of themselves as digital companies, and competing for hires with global tech giants and burgeoning start-ups, a recent McKinsey report into recruiting the best people in the digital world leads with the idea that companies have to “build a compelling vision”. The report’s statement that “as long as the pay is competitive, an inspiring mission and value proposition is what motivates the best” will be considered as heavily in the resourcing department of Barclays as it is at Google.
Kari Herrig, who as Head of Americas Campus Marketing for Barclays in New York is responsible for marketing careers at the bank to top young talent, says that the new landscape has “made campus recruiting a more competitive space. Lots of companies with different value propositions and prospects are going after the same types of candidates. It’s reinforced the need for good marketing. Even recognising the competition and the changes in the marketplace has led Barclays to invest and use new resources.”
That’s why the bank has placed its focus on creating early relationships with students, says Herrig. “We’re identifying people early on, putting them into talent pools, and keeping in touch with them until the right time. That’s something we’re doing actively on both sides of the Atlantic. And we do it partly through our content marketing activities. The aim is to educate people and influence them rather than sell to them. Helping them understand what we do and why that might be interesting to them, who our people are and what our culture is – so they can make an informed decision on whether they want to work here.”
Interacting daily with a digitally-aware college-age segment, Herrig runs off a list of innovations which, when taken together, can position Barclays as both an engaging and engaged proposition, vital qualities when she considers the length of time taken to build a relationship with potential hires: “We often create relationships in the first year of a student’s four-year course, but they still don’t come and work for us until after their third year. So, we have a very long period of time where we’re developing relationships, and showing our opportunities. In getting to college students earlier and earlier we build a relationship and trust.”
Barclays still goes onto campuses to market career opportunities in what Herrig calls “the traditional manner”, but recruitment is increasingly a combination of offline and online activity. “We have video interviewing apps; online simulations; we’ve being doing some interesting things in gamification – little things that use digital channels to allow people to engage with their peers and us. In the UK, we’ve been challenging students about what they would do to change the world for the better, then bringing those ideas to life using Google’s Tilt Brush (a virtual reality painting app used during campus visits by Barclays recruiters – see boxout.)
Before the showroom
A well-known analogy for the modern recruitment space considers how new consumers buy a car. It states that when a purchaser walks into a showroom the decision is usually already made, through research, previous engagement, and brand perception. Within recruitment, the new consensus is that a journey with a recruiter needs to start long before the candidate enters the jobs showroom.
So Herrig, a marketing professional, has a key role in HR: “The marketing and recruitment funnels are essentially the same,” she says.
At Barclays UK, Kate Milloy also bridges the divide between brand management and recruitment. “It’s more than posting job ads,” she says. “We will promote specific roles, but we use our channel as a reputation outlet too, telling stories of personal experiences, flexible working and internal mobility, and using people to tell their stories. Our audience is not just the jobseeker: we’re trying to connect with people who might not have considered Barclays, or who might not have realised that they’re looking to change jobs at the time. Our content and social strategy is all about capturing their interest and imagination.”
Our goal is to articulate what it feels like to be part of Barclays. With social media over the past few years, and with Glassdoor, we know people trust their peer insights more than any highly polished marketing patter. So, our stories have to be engaging, have to feel real, and have to talk to the audience. The big shift towards that has been how we use the channels of choice for our candidates and work to these channels’ individual strengths. We have very active LinkedIn and Twitter jobs channels, both of which have grown organically.”
Milloy stresses that “it's not about telling people you’re digital and innovative, you actually have to do it” – in other words, being seen to use social channels in an agile, responsive way.
Milloy recognises that for certain types of digital talent this approach can have its limitations and that requires Barclays to be imaginative: “There are some roles where candidates would never be looking around on LinkedIn or Twitter jobs feeds, but instead have their own networks somewhere. So how do you find those individuals and how do you connect with them? Whatever you do it has to feel real, relevant to them and thoughtful. The value of great communications is sky high.” Milloy helps recruit in high-volume, customer-facing roles as well as specialists in business banking and digital. As she says, “a real mixed bag of requirements”. But in a two-decade career in the field she feels that in all sectors the big developments have been as much about “how candidates have changed and how their expectations have altered.”
Herrig adds: “Things in the recruitment marketing space are changing all the time, so your strategies need to be nimble.” Or, as another solution point in the McKinsey report summarised it: “Reimagine recruiting.”