Hunted pitched up to the HyperGrowth London event on Monday about two hours after it started and absolutely soaked on account of a broken umbrella.
And no, before you ask, no one offered me a job on the spot just for being late and damp.
HyperGrowth’s a conference for marketers that feels a bit like an indoor festival: “the fastest growing modern business event on the planet, bringing together the next generation of leaders to share their strategies for building, selling, and marketing products in a customer-centric world”.
The event’s put on by the good folks at Drift, “the world’s first and only conversational marketing platform” and one that Hunted use for the majority of our outbound and inbound comms.
A lot of what was covered isn’t relevant to recruiters. Things like applying AI to account based marketing to influence the design of bidding strategies in order to maximise reach, engagement and efficiency.
But a lot of it is. Because recruitment is marketing. It’s also sales and many other things. But a lot of core activities are made stronger by taking a marketers approach. And what better place on a rainy day in London to skim valuable insight?
Here are my top takeaways from HyperGrowth 2019 for Recruiters looking to expand their marketing prowess.
Marketers don’t just think up a cool gimmick, put it out, then cross their fingers and hope the money comes in. The best way they can prove the ROI they contribute is by tracking outcomes meticulously.
Recruitment certainly does this already, and often presents the data in the form of ratios: 50 CVs parsed, 10 candidates screened, 3 sent over, 1 placement.
But when was the last time you documented how many clicks an ad got? Or how many impressions your social posts are racking up? Which channels are working best for you? And what message is playing best with your audience?
It’s a bit of work gathering the fruits of your labour. But if it starts telling you something you’ve always done isn’t working – or leads you to something you’ve never tried that turns out to be a winner – that’s as good an excuse as any to freshen up your approach.
There’s a science to marketing. And as speaker and CEO of DigitalMarketer.com Ryan Deiss would have you remember, science doesn’t prove anything. Maths does. All science does is disprove what doesn’t work until you’re left with what should.
So tracking outcomes is crucial. But what do you do if they’re all bad?
You don’t get bogged down, first of all. As with any science, experimentation is crucial. And a failed experiment is simply one way of finding out what doesn’t work.
Develop a thick skin. Take the formula back to the drawing board and start experimenting again.
The whole vibe of the event was on human connection. How, yes the technology we use is vital, but it’s nothing without humans taking an interest in the message. And if there’s one thing my time on this planet’s taught me, it’s humans love a good story.
Not stories for the sake of it. Real ones. The kind you’d tell at the beginning of an amazingly lucrative business relationship. The kind your client will retell a decade down the line when you’re invited to their leaving do and everyone’s asking how you first managed to pull a job off them.
Stories with a purpose. That aren’t arbitrary or random. Even if that purpose is just amusing the lads on LinkedIn of a Friday eve.
This is why marketing adds to, rather than rewrites the art of recruitment.
Experimenting your way to telling a good story, whether that’s on the phone, in person, or with a piece of marketing copy, makes the difference between passive candidates applying to jobs and not and hiring managers getting your candidate in for a quick phone interview or ignoring them for two weeks.
And something that will help in the creation of good stories…
Your clients and your candidates. To understand what marketing effort or message is going to resonate the most, you can’t guess.
Recruiters tell me their market wants to hear job title, location, salary, a bit about the day to day, a bit about the end client, and they’ll work out the rest at interview.
And that’s largely true. But the point is you’ll only enrich your offering – and your output – by being empathetic to your client’s or candidate’s needs, and communicating that message effectively. And that only comes from being invested in the people you do business with.
And if you can’t do that, at least love what you do. Or the way you do it.
Sarah Kennedy, Chief Marketing Officer at Marketo, paused on this slide at one point:
Or activity and output beats lateral thinking. It’s a statement that seems to fly in the face of the longest held of recruitment mantras: work smarter, not harder. But it actually reinforces it.
The harder option’s to lean too heavily on out of the box ideas. Because they take longer to conceive, execute and – crucially – for your audience to understand.
In this instance, the smarter way to work is to just do it. Just do marketing.
Market yourself, your jobs, your candidates, your clients, your company. Do it on LinkedIn, in emails, on Instagram, on the phone.
Remember: you’re experimenting and you will fail.
So do marketing and be honest with it. The 2019 term for which is “authenticity”. Because if you’ve got the output, that’ll take you a long way.
The reason everyone’s banging on about video so much at the moment is because it’s a medium that allows you to build trust and intimacy at scale.
B2B Marketers use it to close more deals. But not in an immediate, see the content/act on it way. There’s more touchpoints, moving parts, funnels. It’s a longer journey but ultimately, it works.
And it’s similar in recruitment. If you’re putting video content out regularly, whether people watch the whole thing or flick past your post in their feed, you’re building brand awareness.
Even if it’s just getting your name out there. Clients should know yours before you call. Which makes a huge difference when the PA of someone with a C in their job title picks up and both parties have heard of you.
It means you’re front of mind when candidates are having an errant thought about something new. Or finding themselves unexpectedly on the market. Or looking to refer their frighteningly talented mate.
And with more marketing channels pivoting to favour video content, the Recruiters that are doing this stuff now will find themselves at the top of the pile while everyone else is still figuring it out later.
Voice. And I don’t mean the humble phone call’s due a renaissance any time soon.
I mean everyone and their dog’s got a podcast. Think of it like taking the phone out of the equation entirely and speaking your message directly into the right audience’s ear.
Although no one can predict the future, things are certainly heading in a podcast-y direction.
Now normally there’d be a call to action of some kind at the end of a Hunted article. One that’s so subtle you’d miss it if you weren’t looking properly.
But there was free fizz after the event. They don’t even give you a choice. Just run up and your glass is full. So, as I schedule this article to go live first thing in the morning, I’m a bit drunker than anyone has any right to be on a Monday evening. And I’ll leave you with this:
Recruiters interested in working Retained Search at SPS International
Technology Recruitment Consultant at Arrows Group
Consultant - Marketing - Professional Services at EMR
Recruitment Consultant - HR/TA Desk at Skills Alliance
Recruitment Consultant - Fintech at Harrington Starr
Talent Consultant - Workday HCM (contract) at Third Republic