Image of a person wearing an embroidered co-op jacket in a produce isle, Photo by The Co-Op Group
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How the science behind Textio helped The Co-Op reach 17% more qualified candidates

When you’ve been established as a business for 173 years, change can come slow, or it can come all at once — as was the case with the Co-op. The Co-op was the first cooperative business established in Britain. They now run grocery stores, a digital arm, insurance, funeral services and much more. Over the last 2 years, they have put a huge emphasis on hiring and reorganized their recruitment team to ensure a great experience for candidates and hiring managers in their various businesses. A key part of this transformation was the creation of the Candidate Marketing team. They act as a ‘center of excellence’ for candidate attraction, and they’re responsible for writing all the Co-op’s job adverts. It’s up to them to make sure that no matter what division the Co-op is hiring for, they are finding the most diverse and qualified candidates.

Matt Eyre is a part of the Candidate Marketing team that was tasked with creating cohesion across the Co-op’s job adverts. According to Matt, “our problem was that so many different people were creating ads for Co-op jobs, and they all had different styles of writing, as well as different approaches to tone, content and structure.” When they searched for a solution, all they encountered were opinions. There was, for example, a “debate about bullet points. Are they a good thing, or are they a bad thing? Advice on that will differ, depending upon who you speak to.”

When Matt discovered Textio, he instantly knew that the Co-op had hit on something beyond opinions or debate — true data. “We started using it, and it gave us that consistent, objective guidance that we had been looking for. It gave us statistical evidence to say, ‘This works,’ and the science behind that, it’s quite powerful.”

“Textio gave us statistical evidence to say, ‘This works.’”

This improvement in quality had a drastic and immediate impact on how fast The Co-op could fill roles. In the first three months alone of using Textio, The Co-op’s open roles received 17% more applicants for every day that they were open.

Outside of improving the quality and consistency of the job adverts, Textio has helped the Co-op bring more diversity to their talent pool. Textio found that adding more feminine language to their job listings attracted more women to The Co-op’s open roles. For The Co-op’s technical roles like their Digital and IT functions (where their candidate pool typically skews masculine) they found that 8% more women applied on average for roles written with Textio.

Not only that, but they found that roles with a neutral or feminine tone received 33% more applicants and 17% more qualified candidates. “Everyone was really impressed,” when Matt shared these results with colleagues and HR leaders at the Co-op.

Co-op jobs written in Textio with neutral gender tone received 33% more applicants overall, 17% more qualified candidates, and 15% more women

“As we use Textio more, it has become even more valuable because it enables us to write more efficiently, for equally good results. So ultimately it’s given us more time to spend doing other things that will add value to our recruiting process.”

Now, after a few months of using Textio Matt says they are “in a place where we’re writing naturally, and easily achieving a high score in Textio.” So much so that they moved their average Textio Score from a 62 to an 84 in their first three months using the platform. Moving forward they have a standard that everything they post must score a 90 or above before it goes on their careers page. Not only did the score go up but, “one of the biggest benefits of Textio has been that more people have confidence in the way they write.”

Graph showing The Co-Op's Textio score raising from a 62 to an 84 in three months

Matt loves to write but even he has “learned things from using Textio, which has been an enjoyable and enlightening experience.” One of the most satisfying discoveries for Matt was the confirmation of his preference to avoid jargon and corporate clichés. “We’d always had quite a debate over the word “stakeholder.” It’s not a word that I’ve ever liked, but it is a word that was really, really commonplace in our job adverts, until we started using Textio. And now we have the data to back up why we should remove it. I always say to people that part of The Co-op’s tone of voice is that it sounds human and authentic, and now Textio gives us an easy a way to implement this.”

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