Impactful Recruitment Marketing: Understanding Candidate Touch-Points

When I moved to London and got my first proper recruitment job in 2008, the financial crisis was in full swing and the industry was in disarray. People were being laid off everywhere and hiring freezes were being implemented across the board. Being a recruiter was tough, but being a candidate must have been tougher.  I remember posting job ads before I left the office that would have hundreds of responses by the time I came in just several hours later the next morning. Candidates were desperate to be put forward for any roles we could find and flocked to recruitment agencies in droves trying to get their foot back in the door that seemed to be quickly swinging shut.

Fast-forward ten years and we’ve seen a revolution in the recruitment industry. An explosion of technology and a rapidly evolving contingent workforce means the fundamental dynamic between recruiter and candidate has dramatically shifted. In 2018, the market has well and truly recovered from the horror of 2008 and quality candidates find themselves in a more empowered position than ever before. Not only do they have a plethora of potential opportunities to choose from, they have more information about the roles, companies and agencies than ever before – and they’re acutely aware of their high value in the market. 

The good news is that in this new digital landscape, recruitment agencies are also in a more empowered position than they’ve ever been in. Armed with an impactful digital strategy and the intelligent deployment of technology, agencies now have the ability to reach candidates en masse, with a highly personal touch. 

Let’s take a look…

So, What Is A Candidate Touch-Point?

Recruitment agency marketing, when it comes to candidates, can be understood as all the various touch-points a candidate will have with your agency throughout their entire career. A touch-point is simply an interaction with your agency brand, from the very first time they ever find out about you, through the sourcing process, to negotiations, post-placement care and beyond.  In the beginning, it may be when they first learn about you by stumbling across your social media presence, downloading a piece of content or reading a job ad. As time goes by, it could be the interview process, a marketing email or a follow up call. Depending on where they are in their careers, they will have a different journey through the various touch-points. Understanding and mapping these touch-points is the most important thing you can do to implement an impactful recruitment marketing strategy and create a positive candidate experience.

The Candidate Journey: Mapping The Touch-points

The candidate journey is the official name for the progression of touch-points a candidate will have with your recruitment agency. It’s important to understand that the candidate journey begins long before an application – it starts when the candidate first ‘touches’ or engages with your company. Not every candidate in the market is actively looking for a role, in fact, only a small percentage are ever looking at one time. With this in mind, it’s key to include those who are not active, so when the time comes that they are looking for a new role, it’s you that they will seek out first. 

The recruitment industry is notorious for providing a terrible experience for candidates, so getting this process clear and making a commitment to optimise it is the first and most crucial step in creating an impactful marketing strategy. Throughout the lifecycle of a candidates’ career, they could have many online and offline interactions with your company. It’s within this process that you have a valuable opportunity to impress, build strong relationships and encourage brand loyalty. In such a saturated market, doing this right can be the source of a very real competitive advantage, but doing it wrong (or not at all) can spell missed opportunities and disaster for your firm.  

It’s worth taking some time to sit down and map out every single touch-point a candidate could potentially have with your agency. This will provide you with the foundational data of an impactful candidate marketing strategy. 

Mapping takes a lot of thought and research – it’s truly a deep dive into your internal processes. The objective is to uncover improvements you can make to ensure your candidates feel welcome, impressed, valued and well informed at every stage of the journey.

Creating A Strong Brand

Before we go any further with regards to the journey and your strategy, it’s worth touching on the importance of a strong recruitment agency brand. Your recruitment brand can be understood as how people outside of your agency perceive working with your agency. In short, your brand should immediately communicate the internal values, overall mission and culture your agency strives for. The purpose of branding is to instil confidence in the mind of a candidate that yours is the right one to work with over the myriad of others out there. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to clearly define why your agency exists and what it is you stand for. 

Ask yourself where your firm is going? What makes you different and if you were a candidate, why would you want to (or not want to), work with your firm? Define your important points and develop a mission statement that will form a strong framework for any and all of your brands marketing communications.

Creating An Impactful Candidate Marketing Strategy 

When you’re clear on your brand, candidate journey and its numerous touch-points, you should have uncovered some key areas you could improve on. These insights should drive the goal setting for your candidate marketing strategy.

You might realise that your website is boring and that you need to provide more value to your visitors by offering insightful industry content, thus increasing conversions. Or perhaps you realise that you don’t have any effective touch-points for engaging candidates after the sourcing process is complete, which could be solved by implementing a monthly email newsletter to continually add value and keep them engaged.  Whatever it is, the opportunities you find through your touch-point analysis will provide the focus you need to zone in and strategically target your marketing tactics. 

Once you’ve defined your focus, it’s important to understand your competition and what they’re doing in those domains. A comprehensive competitive analysis is key to uncovering even deeper opportunities and learning how you might be able to trump your rivals and appeal to candidates in a more convincing way. 

Set a budget and a timeline for your strategy. The recruitment agency environment is hectic and fast paced, so without clearly detailing how much you can afford to spend and how long it should take to achieve your goals, it’s inevitable that you’ll overspend and your timeframe will frustratingly drag out for way too long. Figure out what resources you’ll need to make this master plan really happen and how long it will take to research, decide on and implement the new technology required. Stick to this plan religiously. 

Be warned, while digital marketing has come a long way in the past few years and there are some great tools that will help you enormously in achieving your marketing goals, there are a plethora of options that can easily make your head spin. Start with the most basic tech and build on it as you go.  In the end, the tools you’ll use will be decided by the size and scale of your strategy, along with your ability and willingness to embrace digital tech.


Thanks to innovative technology, the recruitment world has changed dramatically over the past decade and it can be daunting sometimes. But by taking the time to gain a deep understanding of where you’re currently at, then implementing a strategy to improve your ability to delight candidates, you’re ensuring your marketing efforts are always impactful. 

In the next blog, we’re going to look at the five most important technological pillars of an impactful recruitment agency candidate marketing strategy – website, social media, marketing automation, email marketing and the grand daddy of them all, analytics!

Talk soon!

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Steffan Gooch

After spending 7 years as a recruiter, Steffan founded The Social Sourcery in 2014 and now works with recruitment agencies on their digital strategies. Passionate about the evolution of the recruitment industry, he is a firm believer that the future lies in inbound recruiting!

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