Why moments matter

Why moments matter

Sleepovers in motorway lay-bys with my dad working as a haulage contractor. Camping holidays in France with my grandmother. Winning my first award for the ‘most organised’ pupil in Year 6 at primary school. The last day at secondary school. Moving to Durham to study Geography at University. The year my grandmother died. Graduating (twice). Crying in front of my pupils on my last day as a teacher. Telling my parents that I was gay. Celebrating my promotion to assistant director at EY in Amsterdam. The day I founded my own business. Standing 5 metres away from the Spice Girls in Coventry last week at their reunion tour. (I hasten to add these are in chronological order before I get judged on placing the Spice Girls at the ‘top of the list’, although I’m willing to debate after last week…)

We all have defining moments in our lives – meaningful experiences and milestones, that stand out in our memory. Many are the result of accident or luck, but it wasn’t until I read ‘The Power of Moments’ by brothers Chip and Heath Dan last year that I started to think about how many opportunities we miss in the world of student recruitment to better connect with, engage and inspire candidates that we meet by making the moments we have with them more memorable.

Why moments matter

Customer experience researchers at Forrester, a leading research and advisory firm, conduct an annual survey of more than 120,000 customers about their most recent experience of companies from a wide range of industries, using a scale of 1 to 7 (where 1 is very unhappy, and 7 very happy). They consistently find that the happiest customers spend more, and that there are more of them on the scale from 4 to 7. However, businesses tend to focus their customer experience efforts on the scale 1 to 3, placing 80% of their efforts in eliminating the negatives, when 9 times the value is the reward for focusing on elevating the positives. It’s this shift to ‘build peaks, not potholes’ where I can see an opportunity for more employers, in today’s competitive, and uncertain market to make more time to create memorable brand experiences that better support young people in making the right choices for them, and which strengthen recall and affinity for your employer brand. Win. Win. They may not be buying a product, but the experience offered is just as, if not more, important.

Thinking in Moments

Easier said than done? Perhaps not. Taking principles outlined in the book it’s not difficult to find moments where the candidate experience can be elevated, provide personal insight, create a sense of pride, or better connect students to what life in the working world would be like. Those moments that matter the most for me in school leaver recruitment in particular are those which:

-        Support young people’s career choices in the key moments of inspiration and choice already inherently part of a young person’s experience in the classroom and;

-        Focus on the crucial moments of communication during face-to-face interactions that offer an opportunity to answer key questions asked around what it’s like to work somewhere, the best pathway to start a career and whether the skills they have match the ones being advertised for.

Final thoughts

-        Focus on the positive candidate experience, it’s 9 times as valuable!

-        Memories can create powerful ‘moments’ that can be used as part of a powerful attraction strategy.

-        Think in ‘moments’ to build the elusive ‘best-in-class’ candidate experience.

-        Start by taking the time to understand the journey candidates are on before, during and after they meet you!

Originally published in The Student Employer. Magazine of the Institute of Student Employers. Issue 6. Winter 2019. Find out more about the ISE here.


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