Strategy and Research Planning

First Bus - Audience Insight

Not everything we do is pretty pictures and jazzy websites. We also love to get involved gathering research and delivering insight for our clients. And at the end of 2018, FirstGroup came along with a particularly juicy project for us to get stuck into.

Whilst we can’t share the actual results with you, we chatted with client partner Fiona and researcher and planner Tom to get the low down on the work that went on behind the scenes to deliver this type of research project.

So what's the background of the project?

Fiona: We’ve been working with First Bus for years, with their careers website and their recruitment marketing. As an industry there are issues recruiting and retaining female drivers. We all had plenty of hunches around why this was the case, and we wanted to find out what perceptions were of the role of bus drivers, and of First Bus in particular.

And they also wanted us to help benchmark their recruitment process and experience against the wider industry, so they’d know where to focus their efforts to really improve the candidate experience.

So how did we go about getting that information?

Tom: We used a mix of desk based research techniques to get the information which allowed us to benchmark their current recruitment performance and experience, against both direct competitors and the wider industry.

We also ran an external survey with over 800 participants. We targeted active jobseekers at the salary and experience range typical for bus drivers, but looked to get a sample with a stronger response from women, so we could really analyse their drivers and motivators. 

With a sample size that large, it really gave us a load of really interesting data to interrogate. 

What's been the most interesting bit of working on the project for you?

Tom: For me, it’s not often that we get to ask potential job seekers directly what they think of a specific company. They’re a difficult and expensive audience to reach, so instead you rely on either bigger surveys conducted by various job-boards, which often don’t ask the questions you want the answers to. 

Or you ask an internal audience for their opinions, but they’re obviously the people that did apply, and will have different perspectives based on already working for the business.

So being able to ask relatively unbiased people some really specific questions was a really interesting, exciting challenge.

How do you think it'll make a difference to First?

Fiona: Because we gathered info about the candidates and about the process, there’s loads of ways that we’ll be using the insight to help First. We can tailor our recruitment marketing messages much better based on the audiences we’re talking to. We can look at their offer to candidates, to make it more appealing to a broader range of people. And we can make sure that they’re leading the industry in terms of candidate experience - helping them hire better people, quicker!

Thanks for the chat, team! You can check out many of the findings from our research feeding through to the FirstGroup careers site -

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