Average Recruitment Agency marketing effectiveness only 40% – WHY?

James Whitelock

Average Recruitment Agency marketing effectiveness only 40% – WHY?

May 23, 2017 Steve's blog 0

It’s about making sure that you’re top of a candidates mind and their natural first point of contact when they want to find work.”

This is part two of my three-part talk with James Whitelock (part one is here) about brands, marketing vs. technology, and the current effectiveness of recruitment agency marketing activities. James is the founder of Think in Circles.

Steve: On a score of zero to 10, on average – how well are recruitment companies marketing themselves?

James: Four.

Marketing is lumped in with training. It’s one of those things that’s quite expendable when the going get tough, it’s your trainers and the marketers that get booted out – when actually it’s precisely during these crises you want to be land grabbing with a decent marketing strategy.

When you’re a recruitment agency, there’s a point – 15, 20 consultants – where you have to start acting like an adult and think like a big business. I know businesses that are much larger than that without their own marketing managers or marketing execs because they’re thinking, “Oh, it’s going to cost me £60,000 salary plus $30,000 budget, what return will I get?”

A decent marketer will make you that back, no problem. It’s not about going on to social and seeing how many CVs you can scrape from the Internet. It’s about making sure that you’re top of a candidates mind and their natural first point of contact when they want to find work.

Generally speaking, recruitment is quite slow on the uptake of many things.


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The technology providers typically drive technology in recruitment, not so much by the recruiters asking for it. A technology business says, “We’ve analyzed the market, here’s the gap and it’s what you need.” Much less is it the recruiter saying, “We need this. Can you provide it for us?”

Other slow uptake areas are marketing and training. Businesses with a training focus go through the roof. They can just roll out and scale. They’ve got a proper onboarding strategy. They know the kind of people that they want to take on board, who’ll fit their business. And they’ve typically built a brand where people want to work for that business.

Steve: You said most agencies on average are hitting a four, if you were going to give them one word of advice, one strategy to move from a four to a six, what’s the single focus you think would be the most effective for them?

James: Decide what message you’re getting out to the market.

James Whitelock (@thinkincircles) is the Founder and MD of Think in Circles.