Recruitment marketing has been notoriously shit for years but things are changing and rapidly.

In the past, we didn’t invest money in it. We have very few experienced and skilled marketing people in our sector. We have relied on sales skills to convert prospects to clients and candidates to placements. Most agency websites and marketing collateral are still features led, describing what the agency does, the services offered and company values (often a few standard words on a wall). How many recruitment companies have you noticed are ‘the leading’ or ‘world class’? Dull.

Communication by recruitment agencies (mostly) does not address the issues and challenges of their target audiences and how they can solve these. Or even begin to articulate their value proposition and why a candidate or client should work with them, when there are 40,000 other agencies in the UK.

I have noticed attitudes to marketing in our sector are changing rapidly and there is now not just a need for better recruitment marketing, there is a desire in the market for it. Research done by Paiger, the personal branding tool, in January 2022 shows that eight out of ten agencies say marketing is their top business priority. In the next couple of years, if your recruitment company doesn’t have a solid marketing strategy and deliberate marketing activity going on, you’ll be living in the past. 

Recruitment marketing is being taken seriously

As an Advisor and non-exec director in many recruitment businesses, I’m seeing this increase in importance. Many are investing serious money in brands and marketing, either working with specialist marketing agencies, or by hiring a specialist marketer to drive this. One of my clients has just increased their marketing spend by over 100% and they’re also recruiting an experienced marketing manager on a salary you’d expect in other marketing sectors. They are taking it seriously.

LinkedIn’s Alex Charraudeau recently shared with me that the number of square feet marketing technology vendors took up at Recruitment Expo this year was a sure sign that marketing’s gathering pace in the sector. He recounted exhibiting alongside the same tech names ten years ago (in his last job) when they all just had the smallest booths and roll-up banners.

This change has been driven by several factors. The economy is growing and recruiters have an opportunity to increase market share and create value over the next few years. The biggest challenge for most recruiters is the lack of available talent for their clients (and themselves). And as the job boards are ratcheting up the prices massively, people are looking at other methods to secure the talent their clients need.

Many agencies are improving their candidate experience, from initial awareness, through to placement, to being an advocate. Better marketing and the clever use of tech and automation can help improve response rates and the nurturing of your existing candidate pools.

Kristie Perrotte, founder of Thrive, a specialist marketing communications agency, is seeing ‘a huge appetite for automation, including ways to reactivate and surface candidates who are actively looking for new opportunities. Not only does this extend one’s reach at scale, but provides exponential gains in productivity versus consultants manually searching for and updating records.’

We also know in our sector that buyers of recruitment services have made 70% of the buying decision before they engage with a recruiter! They are looking at our websites’ marketing material, testimonials, job adverts and case studies to evaluate if we offer the right solutions and have the right experience. Owners now have a better understanding of the importance of marketing and how it drives sales.
If you’d like to find out how working with an experienced business coach can help your recruitment business grow drop me a note on and we’ll organise a call. 
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