The recruitment industry is vast, covering everything from small, in-house talent acquisition teams to large external agencies. In order to grow and attract clients, recruiters have to rely on marketing and outreach. We spoke to recruiter-turned-marketer Parul Singh on Episode 112 of Talent & Growth about her journey between sectors. Parul is a recruitment marketing partner at xDesign, where she is also passionate about her role as a Neurodiversity Advocate. She unpacked what a day in the life of a recruitment marketer looks like and shared her insights on the future of recruitment marketing. 

How did you get into recruitment marketing, and what were the drivers that motivated you to transition?

When I joined xDesign, I’d built up my personal brand, which was one of the reasons they hired me. The company was originally based in Edinburgh, but we’re looking to expand to areas like Manchester. To grow successfully you have to be involved in the tech community by creating content like newsletters, meetups, etc. Because of my personal brand I was offered a recruitment marketing role to help expand in that area. I toyed with the idea, because I’m a creature of habit. Was I ready to walk away from recruitment? At the time I said “No, I’m not not done yet, I’ve got more work to do.” About six months later, they came back to me, and offered it to me again. By then I’d done some event stuff and collaborated with the marketing team, so saying yes felt absolutely amazing. 

The second offer was also low risk, because they said my role would still be there if I changed my mind. The opportunity allowed me to add more strings to my bow, and I couldn’t say no to developing my career. I moved into the role full time in mid November last year. What really attracted me to it was the ownership I have in the role, and that I can shape it to suit me, because it’s quite different from a typical marketing role. I’m definitely considering it as a full time move, which is such an exciting opportunity because I’d never have thought about doing something like this six months ago.

What does the recruitment marketer do on a day to day basis?

I don’t do typical marketing stuff – it’s not what people think it is. I don’t use Google Analytics, SEO, social media, etc. It will differ from company to company, but my role is focused around increasing our candidate attraction and visibility on the market. The aim is to enable us to continuously hire great people to scale to our company. We have a headcount goal that we want to get to, but we’re not a bums-on-seats company. Some of the things that I’ve been involved in is a large-scale job adverts project. We’ve been looking to revamp our job adverts for quite a long time, but TAs are busy recruiting day in and day out. I’ve been doing research on various companies and job outfits, then running focus groups, coming up with proposals and doing A-B testing. I’m putting myself in the candidate’s shoes, and working with them. 

Other projects I work on include developing candidate personas and doing interviews with people that have joined the business to understand why they applied. What did they like about the hiring process? What stood out about x design? Why did they choose our offer? Has it lived up to their expectations? That feeds into the job adverts we create. Overall, it’s very different to recruitment because I don’t have any hard deadlines, it’s very much long term and strategic. The big difference for me has been that it’s not always “Go go go!” That’s worked really well with my ADHD, because I love recruitment, because there’s so much variety and a lot going on, but I definitely did struggle with getting overwhelmed at times. This is the best of both worlds. It’s still working at pace and with a lot of variety, but without strict deadlines.

What do you think is the future of recruitment marketing?

Part of my research is about the future of this role. If you search LinkedIn jobs for ‘Talent Acquisition Partner’, there are 1000s of results. If you search ‘Recruitment Marketing Partner’, there are a lot less opportunities. I actually have a lot of confidence in the future of the role though, because in the short period I’ve been here, I’ve seen how much scope there is for recruitment marketing. It just surprised me how few companies don’t have a dedicated recruitment marketing person, because it’s a whole job in itself. You can’t have just one foot in for this. I would love to see more companies recognising the value in this. My advice would be to trial one of your TAs as a marketer, and see how it goes. If you want to hire more people, you need to work on your strategy. It’s not just about sending emails out day in and day out. There’s a lot more to it, and marketers can help to guide that output and raise awareness for your company. 

To learn more about recruitment marketing, tune into Parul’s episode of the Talent & Growth podcast here

Greg Savage is a legend when it comes to all things recruitment. On Episode 110 of Talent & Growth he talked us through 6 of his crucial tips for recruiters in 2023. Greg is a recruiting veteran whose career has spanned 44 years, and took him from starting his own company to writing a book that has rapidly been adopted as the recruitment industry’s holy grail. Read on to hear 6 of his most important tips for recruiters this year. 

Tip #1 – Become Indispensable 

When decisions to lay people off are made in the recruitment industry, inevitably, it’s those who put in the least effort who are let go. If you want to survive, you need to make yourself indispensable to the company. If you want to play in the first team rugby, you don’t put in a second team effort. That’s true of life as well. Why would you put in a lowball effort on your job when your job plays into your career, which plays into your life and your happiness? You shouldn’t be doing more because you have to, but you should be putting in enough effort to impress the relevant stakeholders and make yourself indispensable. That means learning new skills, taking opportunities and improving the business, not for your boss, but for your own self esteem as well. 

Tip #2 – Train your People

This one is for people in leadership. You need to get closer to your people than ever before. Don’t think that because people have less options, you can do what you want management wise. I’m seeing recruitment companies saying people have to spend four or five days back in the office. What that suggests is that we’ve got the power again, but that kind of thinking is a mistake, because the best people will always have a choice. Now is the time to re-recruit your staff. Companies have been spending so much time training their new recruits and haven’t spent enough time with their valuable, veteran people. What managers need to do is spend time getting close to everybody, working out what their aspirations are, what training they need and how they fit into the culture and environment. Everybody in your business should be growing. Coaching and training IS retention. 

Tip #3 – Nurture Client Relationships 

Don’t take your current clients for granted. I often ask people, “When did you last see your client face to face?”, and they’ll say “No need to see her, she gives me all her work.” That’s such a dangerous mentality. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to nurture that relationship, when the wheel turns, there’s a good chance you’ll lose that client. Now’s the time to work out who your top 25 clients are and get closer to them. Figure out what’s happening in their company, what more can you do to make yourselves more visible and valuable? If you’re not close to your clients, other people will pick up their business. 

Tip #4 – Don’t Neglect the Little Guys

Reignite dormant client relationships. There is a phrase used in recruitment agencies, where we call companies a second tier client or a B client. The danger with that is lots of recruiters are only focussing on their clients who pay big retainer packages, and all their eggs are in three or four baskets. These ‘second tier’ clients who used to do a lot of work with you are essentially being ignored. That’s bad, because when the wheel turns, you’re going to need them, and they won’t need you. Now is the time to reignite those dormant relationships, and it’s 100x better from doing it face to face. Get them back in your stream and nourish those relationships so that you’re more protected if some of your bigger clients end up falling off.

Tip #5 – Refresh your Sales Skills

There are plenty of recruiters in the UK. The truth of the matter is, most of these recruiters who consider themselves to be experienced, have never done a client meeting in their lives. That’s a problem, because they don’t have any relationships with clients or skills to build meaningful engagement. If you’re one of those people, and you want to stay relevant, refresh your sales approach. Learn how to make an outreach call and how to sell your services and differentiators. You have to be able to differentiate yourself to clients and candidates if you want to stay in business. 

Tip #6 – Maintain Candidate Relationships 

If you run an efficient business, you’ll have a digital ATS. You can use that to rank candidates by some sort of categorization, which is a fantastic thing to do. Here’s why: there’ll be a whole sea of candidates that you didn’t place but ranked well. If you build up a good relationship with them, especially if they’re in senior roles, they might well be potential clients. At the very worst, you’ve given your brand a huge injection of goodwill by taking the time to make them feel valued. A candidate is a candidate for life, and we should work with them throughout their career cycle. You can place people five or six times in their career by putting them on a career path or journey. Building candidates will also save so much time, because they’re in your ecosystem forever – you don’t have to keep sourcing the same candidate over and over for different roles. 

To learn more from the legend that is Greg Savage, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here to hear the full conversation.