I was talking to Steve Walker, founder of Idibu, at the Recruitment Agency Expo in February and he was kind enough to publish our conversation in his blog on the Idibu website. I’ve republished below:
When you mention the word “brand” people worry about the logo too much – but to me the brand is more of the overall experience – the actual emotional feeling of engaging with the company.
As a marketing expert, how do you feel about the state of marketing in recruitment right now?
It’s very interesting for two different reasons…
One, candidates are expecting more from their recruitment agency. They want to be chosen as an individual, so they’re looking for more of a personal service. I really encourage agencies to think about what the candidate experience is, ask the candidate what they really want from the agency, and then to deliver that back to them.
I often also see recruitment agencies that have marketing collateral – but are not using proper examples of what the candidates say about them. Ask your candidates, ask your clients: Why do they use you? What do they like about you? And that’s what you should deliver back inside your marketing materials.
The other reason is: it’s getting more and more competitive out there. Everybody’s looking for top recruiter talent – so actually promoting or marketing your agency has a good impact on the quality of the recruiters you can bring on board. Nobody wants to work for an agency that doesn’t market themselves well.
Some experts have suggested that “Employer brand” was going to dominate and that candidates will only be applying to brands they really respect and want to be a part of. What’s your opinion on the power of the brand?
I’ve researched this – more in terms of what candidates want from direct employers. The whole employer brand thing is important but it’s not one of the top 5 factors the candidate wants. They want a job that’s interesting, they want a really good working environment, they want to be treated as individual, they want areas of opportunity – that’s what they’re looking for.
They’re not so worried about the brand as much as they are about the values of the company and the benefit that will provide them.
When a candidates looks at a recruitment agency they are looking for expertise, support, and knowledge. And I don’t think they necessarily equate that with the brands the agency represents. They equate that with their experience with that agency. And here is where I do think you’re right about “the brand is important” – because the issue is when you don’t communicate that expertise to people that haven’t used you before.
I see that as more effective marketing than using the term “branding”. When you mention the word “brand” people worry about the logo too much – but to me the brand is more of the overall experience – the actual emotional feeling of engaging with the company.