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Recruitment Marketing
So why is recruitment marketing important, for many recruitment agencies and businesses, marketing is a function that takes a back seat when time is short. Indeed, even when things are slow in the office the rallying call is typically “Hit the phones” rather than “Write a blog” and it’s easy enough to understand why – recruitment marketing isn’t a recruitment agency’s first thought. That is, if you only view it as a one dimensional part of the mix. After all, the phone can get you an instant result while a blog can be a longer term gain. Two hours of phones calls might get you four conversations. Two hours to write a marketing piece might however get thousands of views. Tough to see when you aren’t hitting your KPI targets though.

recruitment consultant marketer

Dig a bit deeper and, is the guy hitting the phone really any different to the person online, conveying the tone. After all isn’t a verbal message just marketing? In today’s recruitment world, the person responsible for marketing is actually every member of the team. And it is a team game. Everyone is a marketer. The marketing manager is a marketer. The recruitment consultant is a marketer. The resourcer is a marketer. The receptionist is a marketer. Heck your accounts/payroll person is a marketer. And they all need to be world class at it too.

The responsibility for Twitter marketing doesn’t stop at the administrator’s desk because she looks after the company Twitter profile. Why? Because every outbound piece of information should be seen as marketing communication. Every single piece. If you have a personal profile and people can make the link through knowing that you work at your agency then your tweets are potentially marketing. The bottom line is anything that has you and/or your company name on it (even by association) and it’s in the public domain – its marketing. The hastily written out of office message you type just before you shoot out the door for a well earned break? The one with the typos on? You remember that one? We have all done it. Yep, that’s marketing.

let down by their PSL

So what can you do to maximise gains, minimise losses and get a world class result. Well recruitment is straightforward when you take on board that it is a “vote for me” campaign. When an individual candidate votes to use a recruiter you want them to select you. When a group of stakeholders vote which firm wins the tender you need to be the one with the most votes and be number one if it goes to a casting vote. It can all become a bit clearer if, like me, you believe it’s all about the votes.

Imagine two friends talking and one says he wants a new job. You want the vote from the other friend so that they say “Give these guys a call. They’re a great recruitment agency.”

When it’s the last Friday of the month and recruitment is on the agenda in the boardroom because a company has been let down by their PSL- you want enough votes to be the one to step in.

Let us explore that thought a bit further:   Imagine an election to vote for who you want to be your local MP. Who wins? Ok the one with the most votes. So let me ask a different question. Why do they get the most votes? Is it because they are the best person for the job? Is it because they represent the majority of people interests better? Is it because they are a thoroughly decent person? One would like to think so. However, it is very likely that it’s because they did more than their competitors to get their name and what they stand for out there. The chances are they were canvassing, cold calling, sending mail shots, holding coffee mornings, organising photo opportunities, tweeting, door knocking and plenty more. All with a support team making sure all bases are covered and mirroring messages. Then look at the bigger picture. Which party gets the most MPs in Parliament? The one that replicates that across the country.  Now let’s look how that applies here.  For party think company. For regions think divisions/departments. For individual MPs think individual recruiters. For support teams think colleagues and support functions.

world class standard

I work with recruitment agencies, businesses and search firms on a daily basis. If I had a pound for every marketer who complains about the lack of ideas, links and content coming from the people who know their clients, candidates and market best, I could work a few days a year less.

“The marketing team are not putting out the right content”.

“The recruiters don’t give me anything to write about.”

Does that sound like a familiar conversation in your workplace?

To grow your business or desk to a world class standard, you need to have a tool box of tactics and techniques. Credibility is key. The best call you ever made could be worthless when your potential candidate googles you and looks at your less than professional colleague’s poor LinkedIn profile. The best job you ever advertised could be lost in the noise of poorly worded, misspelled and out of date adverts.  Probably written by a colleague that your undervalued, overworked admin assistant couldn’t be bothered to take off your company website.  And it’s all marketing. Good quality recruitment marketing can help seal the deal with a client as well as attract strangers who could become contacts. A slack and careless approach could kill the deal and provide you with no extra traffic where or when you need it.

outbound recruitment activity

Recruiters want the very best candidates so they can put them forward for the very best jobs and keep putting them forward until they are successful. Recruiters want to be representing the very best clients and enhance their own reputation along the way. Recruiters want to grow their desk into a sustainable business within a business. Simple stuff. Yet with the likes of the job site Indeed.com (Do take a look at how to get the most out of your indeed job post) having hundreds of thousands of jobs for candidates to choose from, simply increasing your advertising spend to post more vacancies just won’t work. If you post more of the same on the same board, in a way, you are actually decreasing your chances of one particular advert being seen. If one advert had to fight to be seen against 1900 others, if you take out an extra 100 slots then each advert is fighting against 2000 others. So in order to make your recruitment marketing, and by that I mean all your outbound recruitment activity, more effective then it’s got to have more to it than just writing effective adverts. So let’s crack on….

The vote will be won when candidate and client centricity is central to everything you do within your business. Whether you are candidate led, working a market where your candidates are in high demand and short supply or indeed a client led recruiter where jobs are few and far between and candidates are plentiful – you can’t possibly optimise your revenue and profits unless you place both parties at the core of what you do.

And that means constantly striving to be the very best and offering both candidates and clients alike a truly world class service. These aren’t words I’m using lightly – I’m talking here about setting the bar for an international standard of excellence.

Now, take a moment and answer this honestly and put yourself in your candidate or client’s shoes. If you were a candidate of your recruitment agency or an in-house recruiter, then a candidate applying through you for a job or a stakeholder using your services, how would you score the service that you receive out of 10?  Then start to break that down into the various points of contact and do the same. And I don’t just mean the face to face stuff or telephone contact. I’m talking about out of office replies, voicemail messages, email follow up – everything.   Remember it’s all recruitment marketing.  So whether you do that as an exercise or not – if you have answered my question honestly, it’s probably fair to say there will be a few or even several contact points that fall below a 10.  So, if you are to stand the very best chance of securing the very best candidates.  Work with the very best clients or stakeholders and, if applicable, raise the bar for exclusivity for them to work with you – and I’m talking exclusivity with clients and candidates here, you need to have some form of measurement, feedback and business improvement system. A system that will mean you are constantly striving to become world class at what you do and when you get there, maintain that position in 100% of client and candidate situations.

candidate feedback

Now, are you brave enough to engage with your clients and candidates and ask them how they feel about their experiences with you? If so, that’s a fantastic way to get feedback that you can take action upon and it gives you good reason to be keeping in touch with them too. Consistency is key to being world class.

Let me ask you a few questions:

Do you have a voice mail message for land lines or mobiles? If so, what are you saying on them….

“Thanks for your call I’m away from my desk, in my absence call my colleague Sharon on 0203 868 5654 or leave a message and I will call you upon my return”

That’s ok but is it world class?  How could we better it?

Try this……  “Hello – Warren Kemp here.  I’m away from my desk – your message will be listened to by myself or a colleague within the hour so please do leave one.  If it’s urgent, or you prefer to speak to someone directly right now, then call my colleague Sharon Jenkins our Customer Support Manager on 0203 868 5654. Thank you for your call”.

That’s getting better – but is it world class? And that’s a continuous business improvement question you need to ask yourself about every part of your processes.  Including what would be construed as your more traditional recruitment marketing and most certainly every candidate or client contact point.

With my voicemail example of calling the customer support manager, let’s say you don’t have one.  If that’s the case, appoint one, hire one or give the right type of person that as a function alongside their current role.  Or you could even make other changes so that you don’t need a voicemail at all meaning that all direct line calls are picked up by a staff member within six rings. If nobody in the business picks it up within 6 rings it goes through to an outside agency answering your company’s calls professionally in your own company name.

recruitment process

Do you see where I’m taking this idea of being world class? Push and push till it’s absolutely right at every step throughout your business. If candidates are vital to the life blood of your business then why give them anything other than a world class service? If it’s the client that pays your invoices then you want as many of them paying your invoices as often as possible and as quickly as possible – and that means winning them round to working with you exclusively on as many of their vacancies as you have the skill and capacity for. And that means, providing a truly world class service.

Let me ask you, is an automated email response to a candidate’s application via a job board world class?

Does sending someone an email telling them they haven’t been selected for interview come across as world class?

Is getting back to a client after a three day gap from the date they first gave you a vacancy world class?

Does sending a client your terms of business outlining the fees in writing instead of discussing and agreeing them in principal beforehand come across as world class to you?

Does taking a role over the phone instead of face to face feel like world class to them?

And that’s the key. Is it world class for them?

I will leave this article with a continuous project and an ongoing thought. Firstly, list every key candidate and client contact point in your recruitment process, from cradle to grave throughout. Pick out the obvious areas for improvement and make those changes. Then systematically work your way through each step and evaluate if it can be improved and how and find a way to do so.  Involve as many stakeholders, seeking their opinions, as makes sense to help you and that includes colleagues, associates, suppliers, candidates, clients. People from every level in the supply chain that have involvement in the end product of what you do.  Then continuously strive to improve the contact points. Then look at your marketing in the more obvious way such as tweets, blogs, emails, LinkedIn posts, Facebook updates and so on with a common theme. It’s a “vote for me” campaign. And you win the votes by giving the voter what they want. But if the election isn’t for a while you need to build up loyalty by continuously giving them what they want. As the old saying goes “give them what they want and they will keep coming back for more”. Then your marketing people and your recruiters can work a team. And if you are a team of one then wear two hats from now on.