Why Recruitment Advertising isn’t dead and buried

Despite the efforts of the recession and the rise of social media, recruitment ‘advertising’ is still alive. It’s changed – probably never to return phoenix-like amongst the classified pages of the nationals, locals or trade press again – but it is still a valuable recruiting ‘tool’. Why? Well, not everyone works in an office with daily PC access for one. Nor do they have a Linked In profile. Or even any kind of on-line CV. And more importantly, not everybody is actively searching for a new job on Job Boards. Or prepared to make an effort to track down your website to get to know you. So how can you attract these potentially perfect employees, if not with some form of ‘advertising’?

Take retail and hospitality – sectors with relatively high staff turnovers – even the No 1 employer in The Sunday Times 25 Best Big Companies To Work For, Nando’s has a 32% churn of people. How do you reach that contented Manager or Team Member to convince them they’d be much better off and enjoy their work more at your company instead? Yes, that age-old Six Million Dollar question.

There is still a need for the traditional window poster – print on paper. The referral scheme – that lands in the hand, not the Inbox. Word of Mouth (naturally) – encouraged by real employee engagement and encouraging internal comms. And if you use this ‘must-do’ worldwidewebby stuff – target their out of work online activity – from the sites they visit for fun to the Social Media that they use ‘socially’. Remember that you (and your current employees) still have to convince and ‘sell’ the roles you think will attract them. Which is all technically ‘recruitment advertising’ isn’t it?


  1. Nice post guys!

    You make a valid point – it totally depends on your target market for candidates. I work with a large retailer whose primary target is actually their customers. While online is now part of their strategy (thanks to me!) we still have to use the instore mediums like posters, hand out cards, bags, referrals etc to drive the people to the recruiting pages of the website.

    For me recruitment advertising needs to become a hyrbrid – combining different sources to the best effect.

    All that happens is that recruitment advertising agencies actually need to realise that!!

  2. Good post and agree with you and Andy.

    Today those recruiting have more channels to their target audience than ever before, it is about understanding that audience, there motivations to engage with your company, the message to attract and then identify where they hang out on and off-line.

    The trouble is choice can create confusion and hype creates “misjudgement” and social is in that “space”

    The audience has also become fragmented – now they don’t just read the Standard Classifieds for a job in London they read print, job boards, get email blasts, jobs by email, they see messaging in their social groups, they see posters, hear radio commercials phew I’m tired wonder if they are.

    BUT you are right the call to action/ message needs to cut through so recruitment is not dead.

  3. Alconcalcia Said:

    In many ways the dearth of print ads around these days gives more impact to advertisers who still choose to use the traditional route from time to time. Certainly the case in The Guardian. Plus, so many organisations, recruitment consultancies particularly, aren’t using online creatively, they have a presence but it is pretty poor. Social media may be a great thing but the best candidates will still only respond if wooed by the right messages. They won;t apply wholesale to every job they see that comes within their scope of possibility.

  4. I agree with the sentiments, particularly those expressed by Alasdair, above.

    Having said that, sectors like retail and hospitality don’t really need stronger attraction strategies because the ‘rank and file’ members of those workforces are, and always have been, relatively easy to find. What they need more if they are to find ‘the right’ people, is better assessment strategies.

    I think what surprises me the most is why there’s so little creative employer-brand (or recruiter agency-brand for that matter) spot-ads in the traditional media driving traffic online.

    Very few people in recruitment seem to be selling anymore. Those that are, are generally either doing it badly or lying about their EVPs. All of this is compounded by some of them slavishly pushing their malformed recruitment rhetoric via numerous channels, all of which just makes them annoying and therefore less appealing to everyone bar those desperate for any job.

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