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Megaphones to Whispers: How Recruitment Marketing Became Soft Sell

Megaphones to Whispers: How Recruitment Marketing Became Soft Sell

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Megaphones to Whispers: How Recruitment Marketing Became Soft Sell

Shouty marketing might work for double-glazing sales, but recruitment marketing has adopted a softer approach over recent years. In the age of data privacy regulations, our hyper-connected society has grown weary of megaphone marketing and surveillance tactics, and the ability to earn attention has become paramount. This blog explores these changes and how they affect recruitment marketing strategies. 

Big Brother is targeting you

This shift aligns with the concerns raised by Shoshana Zuboff in her seminal work, ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’, where she critiques the manipulative tactics employed by data-hungry corporations. Similarly, in "Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age," Brad Smith underscores the need for a responsible approach to technology, acknowledging its power in shaping consumer behaviour.

A recent US ban on social media apps for children under 14 in March 2024 highlights the erosion of trust in traditional advertising methods, particularly those that exploit vulnerability. There is greater demand for data protection and user experience, and the recruitment sector must follow suit by providing a more respectful and transparent approach.


RIP broadcast marketing and passive candidates

Recruitment agencies have employed a barrage of tactics for decades, including generic job boards, cold calls, and mass emails. These tactics rely on quantity rather than quality, casting a wide net to grab attention in the hope of catching a few fish. But these tactics can be an unwanted career distraction, and candidates have become adept at swimming through the net.  


The rise of the attention economy

Many companies, particularly tech giants, have transitioned from selling jobs to selling information gathered about candidates through sophisticated online tracking and profiling. 

This information has fueled an explosion of targeted recruitment advertising, bombarding candidates with job postings that feel eerily specific to their skills and interests. This excessive targeting can make them weary of being tracked and pigeonholed, creating a backlash against intrusive data collection and targeted advertising.

However, when used appropriately, data-driven marketing can provide customers with personalised messaging without feeling intrusive. And that's the sweet spot recruiters should be aiming for. 


Privacy regulations and power shifts

to stricter data privacy regulations in the UK and worldwide. The introduction of GDPR and the proposed Data Protection and Digital Information Bill are just two examples of this regulatory shift to respect greater privacy. These laws empower candidates with greater control over their data, allowing them to opt out of targeted advertising and data collection practices.


Earning attention and the best talent pools

Recruitment agencies must swap intrusive tactics for a more privacy-conscious approach to attract the best candidates. This marketing necessitates a more passive approach focusing on earning attention rather than forcing it. Here are some key strategies recruitment agencies are employing:

  • Content marketing: Creating valuable and informative content that resonates with target audiences is crucial. This could involve blog posts such as career advice articles, informative infographics on salary trends, or engaging videos showcasing company culture.
  • Building relationships: Marketing is no longer a one-way street. Candidates and businesses crave authenticity and transparency. Building genuine relationships with them through social media interactions, fostering a solid employer brand, and providing career resources demonstrates genuine interest and builds trust.
  • Data-driven insights with respect: While broad targeting is no longer viable, responsible data analysis can still be a valuable tool. By focusing on anonymised data and aggregate trends, agencies can gain insights into candidate preferences for skills, company culture, and career paths without infringing on privacy.
  • Personalisation with opt-in: When done correctly, personalisation can enhance the candidate experience. However, the keyword is 'opt-in'. Candidates should have complete control over the data used to personalise their job searches and interactions with the agency.
  • Focus on candidate experience: In a hyper-connected world, candidates have countless choices. Recruitment agencies must create exceptional user experiences across all touchpoints, from their websites and social media interactions to the application process and candidate communication.
  • Transparency and trust: Building trust is essential in this new era. Agencies that prioritise transparency about data collection practices demonstrate a commitment to responsible recruitment practices. A genuine respect for candidate privacy can help attract the best talent and build robust candidate relationships.

Quality content is Queen

The age of megaphone marketing is dead, and candidates now want something in return for their attention. That's why quality content is essential in any successful recruitment marketing strategy. Get the content right, and they will come. 


For more information and advice about your marketing strategy, contact Marmalade Marketing

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