As much as recruitment is a sector that thrives on relationships, human interaction and critical face-to-face meetings, digital channels connect everything together.
From potential applicants conducting their first job search and HR professionals posting business-critical ads, through to busy recruiters working at breakneck speed to find the perfect candidate on LinkedIn, the industry depends on the speed of communication, and online visibility.
At Blueclaw we regularly take a deep dive into the most important developments, opportunities and challenges in different sectors – and our recent interviews with digital experts working within recruitment brought out some key trends.
Content Marketing – Bringing Candidates Closer
Time and again, content emerged as a topic of vital importance. In such a competitive space, with many recruiters advertising non-exclusive roles with the same phrasing and copy as their rivals, it’s no wonder that it’s hard to stand out in search engine performance – or to candidates.
As Owain Wood, Head of Marketing at Carmichael Fisher states;
“We’ve worked hard to create an experience that reflects our brand, if your current platform is not clearly representing your business, brand, products and services in the way you want it needs addressing…. Content is of course one of the best ways to drive traffic and lead-generation.”
For Shane McGourty, one of AdView’s directors, original content has been a critical driver of growth –
“In 2018 our in house AdView Publisher Program was our main focus. Our 500+ publisher network generated around 80% of our traffic and 2019 we of course, wish to grow this.”
Content marketing allows recruitment firms to be differentiated in search performance, while also giving candidates content to care about across social media, in the press and at the critical point of making an application.
Owain had words of warning for those who see content as mere marketing fodder;
“Bad content is just as bad as no content at all. When devising content topics, be strategic about what you are writing about. If everyone else is writing about the same topic, find a niche, as posts from brands with more authority will bury yours.”
Social media – From Reactive to Proactive
Recruiters love social media – from public posts advertising opportunities to the more subtle art of coaxing a candidate towards an interview via LinkedIn and Twitter messaging, it’s a key component of the modern recruiter’s toolbox.
However, our panel predicted that the best recruitment firms would go beyond the baseline of casual posting and move towards more planned, proactive and measurable social media strategies.
As Emma Allison, Head of Marketing at ForwardRole states, it’s not just about what you put out…but what you get back in terms of engagement;
“I expect social media will continue to grow as a channel within the recruitment sector over the next few years. Live video for instance has been gaining momentum for a while now, with many brands experiencing higher impressions from Instagram and Facebook stories, than posts published on their newsfeed.”
Owain Wood’s view is one shared by our strategists – that effective social media strategies contribute to the performance of other channels – with some indications that SEO may be among them;
“Despite Google saying that social media is not a direct SEO ranking factor, it can amplify the ranking factors that Google does consider to be important. If you are creating engaging shareable content, it will get shared, links will get built and in turn that will influence your SEO – and it’s worth noting that Bing considers it a direct ranking indicator.”
Google for Jobs – A Challenge and an Opportunity
Google for Jobs has already started to shape the digital recruitment landscape – and the challenge is for recruiters to adapt to take advantage of potential opportunities while acting to minimize risks.
Shane McGourty sees Google for Jobs as something that may have implications for how Google makes money from the recruitment sector;
“Google jobs is the big fish here, that is going to be huge and has already made a massive impact since its go live late last year. The question is will Google AdWords suffer on the back of this new strategy?”
As every marketer knows, Google puts serious focus into monetizing their services wherever possible, profitable and sustainable – and if Google is offering up content that might previously have been behind a paid click, sooner or later they’ll find ways to make up any shortfall.
Presumably, this is part of Google’s inscrutable long-term plan for Jobs – but marketers should be prepared.
Emma Allison explains Forward Role’s approach;
“It’s early days as far as Google for Jobs goes, but it’s already having an effect on where we choose to spend our budget, with more focus onsite on job boards than ever before.”
In balancing the need to be visible in Google for Jobs while also maximizing inner page rankings with unique, qualitative content – with social media being the glue that keeps the machine turning – there’s a lot of recruitment sector marketers to consider.