No matter how large or small your Recruitment agency is, it’s imperative to be supported with marketing. Where before you probably had a Management team, (probably all still billers) and along with them, a level playing field of Recruiters all hitting the phones and competing for space on the sales board. Today both your personal brand and employer brand need to be supported by marketing to cut through the noise of an increasingly loud playing field.
The old school of recruitment will reminisce of things “back in the day” where marketing involved placing paper ads in the window of their agency. Perhaps they took out ads in the recruitment papers or if they were ‘big time’ maybe even the national press.
Luckily for everyone, life’s not like that any more.
Kathy Walker is the Marketing Director for McGregor Boyall and has seen the emergence of Marketing in Recruitment first hand.
“In the last ten years social media has changed the world. When I did my Marketing degree there was no such thing as Facebook or LinkedIn, but now social media has such a strong impact on a company’s brand and performance, and is a key tool for Marketers to leverage.”
“Social media has also enabled smaller brands to create a digital presence at minimal cost meaning my role in the business is paramount to ensuring Consultants have the right tools to stand out in a very crowded market place.”
As Kathy will testify, there’s a lot more to Marketing than simply updating the company Facebook page occasionally. Here’s how your Marketing support should be banging the drum for your recruitment business.
1. Job Boards and Advertising
Having a link from your CRM to each of the job boards you use is pretty important. It means Consultants can quickly and succinctly post live ads straight from the database you created the job on. The management of these however is a little more complicated.
For example, simply knowing which job board to use is something that will change quite often. You need to be where your candidates are. And across the business or even team, that may change quite dramatically. If you’re lucky your candidates will put CVs on mainstream job boards. It may well be they use something different like GitHub or you may have a great presence and therefore your own website cuts the mustard. Even if that’s true, the management of the site is key.
You can bet a large proportion of them will use LinkedIn. Wherever they are, being able to mirror their presence and target them with ads is important to your inbound candidate generation. This makes Marketing success directly related to the success of the Consultant.
2. Social Media
OK, so Facebook isn’t a new tool any more but there are new tools out there it’s important to keep abreast of. If you want to truly support your business with marketing activities, social media is dramatically important to presenting a brand presence online. This could be in the form of a LinkedIn marketing, a Twitter feed or maybe even Snapchat if that’s where your candidates are.
The aim of the presence will be to post updates that highlight your professional brand, and employer brand. The latter is often left by the wayside for many companies as the time spent on either is seen as a choice of one or the other. This is where Marketing functions have a lot on their plate. The recruitment industry is actually unique in this respect. All of the channels an agency would use for professional marketing, are what other industries use for employer branding.
As an example, a Twitter account with live jobs tweeted throughout the week will directly impact your professional community (candidates). But it will do little to present an insight into life at the business for potential employees (recruiters). This is where the emergence of tools for niche communities can help to ease the pressure. Like Hunted for the recruitment industry.
3. Employer Brand Marketing
More and more agencies are realising that yes, it’s important to supply your professional arm with marketing ammunition, but corporate branding does not equal employer branding.
If your employer brand marketing is inactive, internal recruitment will be harder.
As with any marketing or branding exercises, success is sometimes hard to measure. Proactive activities you perform, may have an effect 12 months later.
The issue many companies have with promoting their employer brand is where exactly to do so. Many businesses will err on the side of caution for promotion of their incentives, commission scheme and culture. Often for fear of their best clients seeing the content. But companies that manage to find a channel for this promotion do incredibly well in attraction and retention of top Recruiters.
Presenting the agency as the best place to either find employment or be employed by them is all about proactive advertising. Given one of the toughest challenges for many agencies is retention, you’d expect more weighting on the employer brand as agencies grow.
4. Content Creation
The idea of creating content for the purposes of business isn’t a new one. And ‘content’ can come in many different forms. Perhaps you’ve got a Marketing Manager who will help not only ghost write articles but also manage the sharing of them. There’s a rule of thumb for content, which dictates 20% of the time is creation and 80% of the time is the sharing of it.
This will grow a personal brand, but the overarching professional and employer brand also and often is a great bit of free advertising. You could be taking advantage of webinars, networking events, podcasts, video content and much more.
The management of all of these is where Recruitment Marketing has become a branch of Marketing in it’s own right, whether you’re at an agency or in-house.
The more your network sees great content about a particular topic, the more you (and your business) will be seen as experts in that space. Which will drive more brand awareness, greater network interaction and essentially further business.
5. Bigger Company, Bigger Role
As Sarah Roebuck, Group Marketing Manager at Eames Consulting Group points out, Marketing can be a misunderstood function in recruitment.
“I aim to drive marketing initiatives that have the highest impact across the business. Five years ago my job would have been reactive, responding to the requests and demands from the Sales Consultants, but today we have to balance being a highly proactive as well as reactive support to the business.”
“We’re getting more involved in things like pitch decks and sales aids and supporting on client recruitment campaigns, as well as looking at social, web presence, strategic planning and much more.”
For Sarah at Eames Consulting Group, there are two people in the department. Which is necessary given the breadth of activity. Where there’s no dedicated internal recruitment function, Marketing has a big part to play in championing the brand and attracting the right employees.
Certainly as a recruitment business grows, the Marketing function should also. Whether this is split up into employer brand and professional brand or other distinctions is a further question. But as an example, often a business generalist like the Office Manager will take care of company incentives. In smaller companies, tasks such as these may need to be incorporated into Marketing’s role.
It’s probable that as your business expands in numbers, so will Marketing’s role and importance in championing your company.
Marketing in Recruitment is increasingly important to agencies. There’s not one individual activity that will impact your business but all of them combined, over a long period, will. Some of the activities are not easy to measure, and there’s no set play book to follow.
The activities are always evolving, and within the borders of recruitment agencies specifically, are multi-dimensional. The best Marketers will try new things and test and measure everything possible. A good marketing function will impact on your sale, internal hiring and retention.