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At last - some excellent candidate experience research. It is indeed ACE!

posted by Alex Hens
28 January 2009

If you are already aware of the research piece that Barkers & the Guardian have conducted and are publishing then well done you - move along then - nothing new to read here. But I'm so impressed by the quality of the output that I wanted to blog on it just incase you haven't come across it as of yet. ACE (Assessing the Candidate Experience) is a piece of research work done last year that is currently being published in digestible chunks, some pieces naturally more fascinating than others, but all very relevant if you operate in any kind of candidate (or indeed customer) engagement capacity. I really take my hat off to those involved for grabbing the opportunity to do something that informs us all whilst at the same time strengthens their brands'. In a previous life I had a very similar discussion with a colleague - trying to push them to seize such a research led opportunity to gain some spotlight time, unfortunately, for what I'm sure are very good reasons, it never happened and now that space (and column inches and radio airtime) belongs to Barkers & the Guardian. Well done them. Anyway - of the posts so far this one particularly resonated with me, and if you can't be bothered to read all of the posts to date (there's only 7 so far though, so not much of an investment in your time) then just follow this link to an article about banner blindness (the capacity we all have to switch off to irrelevant banner ads online - especially when we're in focused search mode). It explains very well how challenging advertising in the online world actually is (or at least is if you're going to get it right) as well as the power of establishing a strong underlying employer brand to back up your activity. But whilst it's not as easy as many have sold it to be ("bung up a banner ad to increase traffic"), it's clear (and well explained) that with proper planning & good execution we have the best targeting capability at our disposal ever. Too often people have and still do say that online advertising (banners in particular) hasn't worked for them - well here's that broad research those who have worked to try and force through better understanding of the digital medium have grown to know: actually it's down to how it's used and executed thank you very much. A single banner splashed across generic pages stands as much chance of working as placing a recruitment ad for a Bolton located Car Mechanic in the automotive pull out section of the Sunday Times - I mean it might work, but you wouldn't really waste that money. Would you?  And that's the equivalent of what many people/agencies have been guilty of doing for so long: create the campaign, get the studio to knock out a banner that follows clients brand guidelines and copies the headline of the press ad and then when you're buying the media get the job board to lob in a couple thousand impressions around the site - all hoping/knowing that the actual success of the specific elements don't matter so much as long as overall the campaign generates roughly the required level of response. Well with this research it hopefully shows that it's unequivocally time to change that thinking - time to engage team's that understand these fundamental principles of online advertising - time to work with people that have the capability to deliver and track each element's success (or failure) so everyone learns for next time. It's time to stop wasting your money online - it's time to see the returns of investing in people who can do it properly online. In the ACE team's words "We’re no longer in the age when job hunters will turn a page and be intrigued by an employer and a role they’d not considered previously. Instead, we’ve the most sophisticated marketing tools any society has ever seen. And - too often – we’re not using them very proficiently." A really good job - thanks for sharing Guys n Gals.