Working with: BWP Group

Developing a clear recruitment strategy to improve candidate experience

Over the last few years BWP Group (BWP) has been growing significantly. It has been for the last few years. With that, comes an emphasis on hiring the right people, minimising employee turnover, and being known as an agency people want to join.

Decentralised recruitment has seen line managers from all departments placing job adverts, running recruitment campaigns, and losing valuable billable time in coordinating interviews and sifting through CVs. They needed a more strategic approach, so they brought in Lynne from FWPXA to support them.

Advising as a Talent Manager, Lynne offers a high-level view of their recruitment challenges and actively looks for opportunities to improve their talent pipeline, provide a great candidate experience, and reduce overall recruitment costs.

Her background in employee experience, marketing, and agency operations gives her a unique viewpoint on BWP’s recruitment challenges and solutions. So she’s able to focus less on the specific vacancy and more on streamlining recruitment processes, building strong relationships, and improving communication throughout.

On an ongoing basis, Lynne gathers data from the business, candidates and employees to help her analyse the recruitment challenges BWP face. She then develops and refines a strategy to address the issues and ensure a consistent candidate experience throughout the agency.

The problem

BWP needed more employees. They were, and are, in a period of growth and that created vacancies. But processes were slow, and recruitment agencies are expensive, so it was taking too long and costing too much to bring in great people quickly.

Ideally, BWP wanted to create a bank of people they could call when they had a vacancy. Having a database of pre-screened candidates they knew were great fit would shorten the length of time to recruit and reduce costs at the same time. What they lacked was any time to make that idea a reality.

Their job adverts weren’t always attracting the right candidates and some recruitment processes were clunky at best.  Interviewees were waiting weeks without any real feedback as other business priorities took over and any opportunities for building a pool of potential talent were long gone.

BWP aren’t the only organisation where managers don’t have time to follow up with unsuccessful applicants. But, as recruitment was becoming a regular feature, they needed a great recruitment strategy and to focus on the right actions to build a stronger brand for the future.

They’ve always prioritised hiring people who are a great fit and who’ll be successful in the agency from day one (or close to it). But hiring managers were struggling to make time to review CVs, let alone improve the processes they were using or actively stay in touch with potential candidates.

What they needed was someone who could step back from the issues and present an informed view on opportunities for change. Ideally, they’d also offer support and guidance on how to make that change happen. That’s why they spoke to Lynne at FWPXA.

With a focus on creating and delivering a tailored recruitment strategy, she was perfectly positioned to assess exactly what they needed and implement the continual learning and process improvements needed to make it happen.

Thinking about recruitment differently

Adopting a candidate-first mindset

BWP has always focused on an individual’s fit with the business. So, in a lot of ways, they were already focused on the candidate, rather than the role. However, their main challenge was to create efficiencies in the process and reduce recruitment time and costs so they could manage the volume of recruitment needed without compromising on candidate experience and their position as an agency of choice.

As Lynne started to work with them, they understood the importance of assessing processes and communications from a candidates’ perspective, so Lynne was pushing an open door as she began to gather her initial observations.

Understanding the current recruitment challenges

Analysing the main issues to focus on

Lynne started by taking time to understand what BWP’s recruitment processes currently involved and understand how candidates felt as they went through them.

She also explored key aspects of BWP’s culture to fully understand why candidates should choose to work for them over another agency. She wanted to know what makes BWP different from the other local and London-based agencies that their ideal candidate may be applying to/currently working in?

The answer wasn’t just centred on what the competition were doing. Lynne also spent time speaking to each department to understand who their ideal candidate was, what their current recruitment process looked like, and what a successful recruitment process would achieve for them. Piecing all this information together allowed Lynne to identify key issues with BWP’s recruitment process:

  • Inconsistent interview processes across departments and lack of feedback to all candidates.
  • Advertising roles with overly detailed job descriptions rather than using compelling job advertisements to attract only their ideal candidate.
  • Costly recruitment practices such as relying on recruitment agencies and starting each new hire from scratch.
  • Limited ongoing communication with interested candidates BWP might want to speak to later.
  • Competing priorities for recruiting managers preventing them from fully engaging with the process, and
  • Vague messaging on their website which led to a lack of clarity for candidates about values, expectations etc.

Although, on their own, these may not seem significant issues, when you’re experiencing as much recruitment as BWP, every negative impacts the likelihood of a successful next hire. The time you’ve spent creating a great culture is undermined by candidates having a poor experience through the recruitment process, and it all starts to affect the brand.

Candidate-focused recruitment strategy

Developing the right approach for the agency.

Once she’d determined the key issues, Lynne developed a coherent recruitment strategy. Her four key pillars focused on:

  • Improving the recruitment process – streamlining activities to provide a consistent candidate experience by getting feedback on the recruitment process from candidates, employees and hiring managers and making incremental changes. Particular focus was given to reducing the impact on billable managers’ time, cost of hire and time to hire.
  • Recruitment marketing – moving away from lengthy job descriptions and, instead, using job adverts with compelling hooks to promote vacancies. Candidate communication was also addressed through regular emails and messages to keep candidates informed and engaged throughout the process.
  • Employer branding – conducting a review and amending web content and other marketing messages to ensure agency values and ethos were demonstrated consistently across all platforms.
  • Developing a strong talent pool – creating and maintaining a database of ideal candidates so relationships could be nurtured over time with individuals who were a great fit for BWP. The focus was on reducing time to hire and recruitment costs by “keeping them warm” as a lead for future recruitment.

Within this strategy, the priority was always to focus on the candidate and aim to get them viewing BWP positively, even if they weren’t successful with their application.

Implementing the strategy

Moving from theory to practice and ensuring a consistent candidate experience

At BWP, it wasn’t enough for Lynne to just develop the strategy. They needed someone to make it a reality by reviewing processes, making improvements, and positively boosting brand recognition. So, Lynne worked closely with the team to ensure steps were taken against each of the four pillars:

  • Improving the recruitment process – many managers at BWP are billable, so time away from client activity has a significant impact on agency performance and profitability. As a result, Lynne made changes which reduced the administrative burden on hiring managers, and allowed them to focus simply on holding great interviews, and selecting the right people. For example:
    • Creating a straight-forward interview booking process
    • Reducing the volume of CVs a hiring manager needed to review, and
    • Introducing clear interview steps so managers know what happens at each stage
  • Recruitment marketing – Lynne supported BWP to review job descriptions, write engaging advertisements that attract their ideal candidate, and improve candidate communications at all stages. This has been key in developing a strong talent pool and attracting the right people so candidates:
    • Clearly understand the role requirements and agency benefits
    • Are able to make informed decisions about whether BWP is the right fit for them.
    • Still view BWP positively, even if they’re unsuccessful thanks to better feedback and communication processes.
  • Employer branding – With the amount of recruitment BWP have done and continue to do, it’s essential their values, ethos and culture are well recognised. By working with senior leaders and other departments, Lynne has been able to support several activities which have had a truly positive impact on BWP’s employer brand:
    • Web copy and social posts now ensure a consistent message is given across all platforms about who BWP are and what they stand for
    • Improving broader candidate communications to help candidates understand what it’s really like to work for BWP and whether it’s the right place for them to apply.
    • Ensuring timely and relevant feedback is given to candidates, even when they’re unsuccessful, to ensure a match between experience and expectations.
  • Developing a strong talent pool – Initiated by Lynne directly, she started to create a database of candidates who would thrive at BWP. She was looking to build relationships with people who would thrive in BWP so, when the right opportunity came up, the company were already confident they’d be a great fit. She focused primarily on:
    • People who had interviewed well, but hadn’t been quite ready for the role
    • Those who were a close second behind another candidate
    • Candidates who had been headhunted or identified as potential candidates to headhunt.

What’s next?

Continuing to recruit and make improvements

BWP continue to grow and need support with their process, and Lynne has been working with them to develop and deliver this strategy since 2021. While huge strides have been made to improve their processes and really focus on candidate experience, there is still work to be done.

With her background in employee experience and broader awareness of recruitment, talent and employee engagement, Lynne is still able to offer invaluable strategic input to BWP’s processes. As BWP grows, both organically and through acquisition, different challenges will appear, but so will new ways to deliver an exceptional recruitment experience.

By having oversight of the whole recruitment process, rather than running departmental silos, Lynne’s supported BWP to make changes to interviewing processes so they’re consistent across the agency, but she still ensures they’re carefully tailored to candidate expectations. She’s helped change the process across those departments using portfolio-based recruitment, for example, by identifying great practice and applying it in other agency teams.

The main change, however, is how much focus is now placed on the candidate experience and how well that’s now understood by managers across the business. The changes put in place have enhanced BWP’s brand, making it far easier to find the right people as they continue to grow.


We’ve always understood the importance of hiring great people, but the strategy Lynne created gave us a renewed focus on the candidate. We’re now establishing relationships early and maintaining them so, when the right role comes up, we can flag it to people we know are interested and who will fit well with us. As we go through this process, Lynne has gone, and continues to go, above and beyond to make sure that, not only do we hire great people, but everyone who applies leaves with a positive experience of our agency (even if we don’t hire them).
Jacey Bunker

Director, BWP

Looking for some support?

BWP are a great client to work with. They’re committed to finding the right people for their business, so it’s been brilliant to help them focus on the candidate experience and get great results just by improving their processes and communications. At FWPXA, the focus is always on helping your build an agency people want to work for.

If you know your candidate experience isn’t where you want it to be, but are struggling to work out what to change, simply book in a call today and let’s chat about how you can improve it.

Wondering if FWPXA can help your people-first creative agency recruit and retain your ideal employees?