Branding/Marketing/PR Magazine Thought Leadership

Recruitment Marketing: Why a change in thinking is needed

Written by the Editorial Team

by AIMEE CARMICHAEL, Group Communications Lead at Morgan McKinley and Director at Carmichael Communications

Digital recruitment represents both a blessing and a curse for the modern recruiter. Gaining access to an endless pool of talent on a global basis may have never been easier – snaring the cream of the crop being a different story entirely.

It’s commonly (and quite wrongly) assumed that if the offer you have on the table is decent enough, it’s fair to expect the most outstanding candidates to do much of the work on your behalf.

But as competition for genuinely world-class professionals grows at record-pace, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to adopt a passive approach to recruitment and expect premium talent to flock to your doors.

You want them, but so does everyone else – making your business their first choice representing an important priority.

Not only this but there is also a radical shift happening in how individuals like to work, a recent piece of work by one of our clients Morgan McKinley explores how the world of work is changing. On a global basis, self-employment has experienced enormous acceleration over recent years, putting even greater pressure on recruiters. 68% of new jobs created in Britain since 2008 were self-employed, around 30% of the entire labour force of Australia is made up of freelancers and more than 9.5 million US workers are also self-employed.

It’s a trend that’s only set to continue, making it more important for recruiters to effectively stand out and be heard. And when it comes to standing out from the competition and getting your voice heard, there’s no better way of getting the job done than with effective marketing.

Role Reversal

A curious yet increasingly powerful approach to hiring, recruitment marketing in many ways represents something of a complete role reversal. In conventional recruitment drives, pretty much any and all ‘selling’ involved happens on the part of the candidate. They want the job, they want you to want them and so they go about a process of selling themselves to win the client over.

By contrast, recruitment marketing flips things 180 – it is the recruiters or organisations themselves who go about strategically and effectively marketing what they have to offer, in order to attract the best possible professionals to work for those companies.

In a world where top talent is often in very short supply, it’s less an alternative approach and more a fundamental change in thinking.

Pushing Your Product

The key lies in altering perspectives in order to view your business as a product and your prospects as potential customers. This is of course already done to a significant extent when companies go fishing for new recruits with attractive pay packets, bonuses, privileges and perks, though runs much deeper than promising material gain alone.

It’s all about getting into the heads of those your brand and business could benefit from, in order to work out what it is that appeals to them most about prospective employers…and then offer it to them. You have to assume that the top talent out there will have multiple offers thrown their way, so it’s not enough to expect your bog-standard job descriptions and what not to sell themselves.

More commonly this term could be referred to as an ‘Employer Brand’ or ‘EVP’ (Employer value proposition).

I was recently impressed at LinkedIn’s 2015 Social Recruitin’ conference when Lou Adler (@LouA), CEO of The Adler Group presented his afternoon keynote on Recruiting from the top of the funnel.

Lou told his captive audience that we must start attracting at the top of the funnel – those top 5-10% of professionals who are so good at their roles that they are never really job seeking.

It’s crazy to think that most recruitment businesses and even internal teams are probably spending thousands of pounds on jobs boards/PPC or SEO – all of which ONLY target active job seekers.

High performers are not sold on salary alone, they always see the bigger picture and how a role fits in with their personal strategic career plan and the best recruiters or internal talent acquisition professionals need to appreciate and apply this to their hiring strategies.

One of Lou Alder’s points that really struck me was his approach to re-writing job descriptions to attract top talent.

What makes a good job description?

According to Lou it’s a person description, what type of person, what do they need to do to be successful in that role. Define expectations of success in that job description and outline what the person needs to do to be successful – not just listing responsibilities.

Lou’s Key Points, and questions to consider:

  • Are some recruitment businesses overspending on job boards when the TOP talent is always passive, if you want to consistently deliver top talent look outside of search and job boards
  • SEO /Boolean search = good to use BUT only targets those looking
  • Use better Job Descriptions to attract top talent
  • Look for achiever patterns on CV to spot high performers
  • High performers are never ‘looking’ for roles

If You Don’t, They Will

According to an article recently published by The Undercover Recruiter, almost half of all businesses either already have or plan to hire recruitment marketing professionals in 2016.

In addition, a whopping 86% have fully acknowledged the importance of approaching recruitment more like marketing.

Which basically tells you one thing – if you yourself don’t alter your thinking when it comes to snaring the best talent, your rivals most certainly will. Consider the findings and facts in the infographic:




What the picture basically adds up to is one that maps out the end of days for passive and semi-passive recruitment processes.

That is, at least when it comes to attracting the kind of quality talent your business needs.

An investment in recruitment marketing may be a weighty one, but it’s a small price to pay for the priceless talent your rivals would give their high teeth for.