The key to getting the best talent on board or having a reputation for being the best recruiters in the industry is all down to recruitment marketing and it’s not as complex as it sounds. That’s according to Lisa Jones from Barclay Jones.
For Lisa, the new age of recruitment marketing is about solving problems within businesses using humans. She wants recruiters to move away from ‘you’ve got a CV and you’re trying to pitch it’ to ‘there’s a problem within a business and it needs solving with talent’ and she firmly believes that recruitment marketing is key to that process.
You can listen to my interview with her below, or read on for a summary of our conversation.
What’s your guide to success in recruitment marketing?
We’ve got to look at two elements to this. There’s the brand, which is you know, “I’m Aardvark ABC business and I’ve got to get my brand online so at least there is a home,” and then there is a brand to aspire to work with and for. And obviously marketeers, within any given business, should be focusing on that and if you are an employer, please start getting your marketing department to focus on employer brand and not just the brand of the things that you sell. I often work with businesses who say, “Well, I’m an HRD,” or “I’m a recruitment manager within said business and my marketing department do nothing for me, they just try and flog the product because that’s where the money is,” and I kind of respect that but at the same time you still need people on the shop floor and that’s where the HR and recruitment department come in.
When it comes to recruitment agencies that’s when, again, we’ve got the marketeers developing the brand and rightly so, but what often happens again is the sales teams devolve or abdicate marketing back into the marketing department, and that’s when you often see very busy brands and very quiet recruiters. So I think from a step-by-step perspective we need to get the brand up and running first because then that’s something to aspire to and something to inspire recruiters. We need really effective and practical content plan with themes threaded through that content plan to allow the brands to be known for something which the marketeer drives, but the recruitment consultants also have to have something to do with that.
The recruitment agency world are so busy transacting and dare I say sourcing, that they’re not spending enough time getting under the skin of their niche. They claim to be specialists but when I say to them, “What events are your automotive candidates and clients likely to be at?” That’s when they get blank looks and that’s when they look at the marketing team. So for me, marketeers need to set up the brand and get it working extremely hard to get a branding guide and getting really decent content planned. And the recruiters on a daily basis, not just Friday at 5pm when they think that’s the best time to post, need to be engaging with that content as well as inspiring marketing to come up with said content. So, “My name’s John, I’m an automotive consultant, I’ve found five really cool events for automotive candidates. Marketer go away and create me a neat little graphic on that so I can then stick it in my LinkedIn publisher and market that extremely effectively under the brand of my automotive company.” And to me, that’s where it all clicks in really nicely to produce regular and practical content-driven marketing from both marketeers and recruitment consultants.
Give us a pitfall that recruiters must avoid.
Recruitment-led content. I call it junk food content and here’s why. So you’re out on a Friday night, you’ve had a few too many drinks and then you get the munchies and you buy yourself a big fat greasy kebab. But if you did that every single day you would not be able to sustain yourself. You’d probably get quite fat and spotty and eventually you would have a problem. I look at junk food content as being the same thing. You can have it every now and again but if you do it too often it’s not going to make you look good. I prefer going back to the automotive example. I go to a blog that an automotive recruitment company runs that’s about me. I’m an automotive candidate, these are the challenges that I face, this is what makes me laugh, these are the TV programmes I’m likely to watch, these are the things that stress me out, these are things that I’d love if they were fixed within 2017 within my industry. These are the top things that have happened in my industry in the last 20 years. This is another candidate just like me that’s got into the industry and these are the typical kinds of questions maybe that you’re asking me right now. As recruiters, we seem to think it’s all about us, and that is the biggest pitfall. And I’m not convinced that you’re going to get a date from your ideal hot date by talking about yourself all day long and I call that junk food because it’s not self-sustaining.
What’s the next big thing in the recruitment marketing space?
I think for me, and it’s not the next big thing per se but I think the next big thing that recruiters need to start doing is getting recruiters more in contact with content.
The one thing I think we need to start doing just generally is asking recruiters to blog. Because when I speak to recruitment leaders and they say to me, “Yeah, I’ve got a blog.” And I read it and I go, “Yeah, it’s pants. How long did that take?” “Oh, it takes a recruiter about three or four hours to write a blog every month.” And I’m like, “How much money could they have made in that time? Seriously, I don’t want to be on your side. Can we pull them out of this? Can they please let us know what they want to write about and we’ll get some copywriters in and/or your marketeers should be able to string a sentence together and/or why the hell is it taking three to four hours?” Would it take that much time for a recruitment consultant to get that content across verbally to a client? Let’s hope not.
So I’m a big fan of getting recruiters back at their desks, understanding how to market using the phone, understanding how to come up with soundbites really, really quickly and also for marketeers to get really thematic with their content. Let’s imagine our next big theme is contract. So how can we work with contract recruiters, to be more effective? Are we going to have a podcast, an infographic, a blog, a video? Making sure we’ve got content around all of those different platforms and that for me is a big thing for 2017, if that helps at all. So I think often the end doesn’t justify the means with me. The goal is never to create content, the goal is to make money, sorry. The goal is to place a candidate within a business and solve a problem. And the content is a tactic, not a strategy and definitely not a goal. So to me, I think recruiters need to create content but it could be a two-minute conversation with a marketeer to inspire that content as opposed to a three hour bleeding over your keyboard, lack of ROI-led content strategy. And it’s more, “Oh, it’s part of my KPI so I’ve got to do it” and you’d be surprised how many recruitment consultants think they’ve got it nailed but don’t ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” I think that’s a real shame and that’s what I think needs to change. If they can do it quick and they make the money from it then absolutely we need to bottle that, that’s brilliant.