Picture the scene. You’re bored at the office. It’s a hot day. To make matters worse, the air con has stopped working.
Suddenly, the chime of an ice cream van breaks the oppressive silence. The sound of the school run. Casting your laptop aside, you run towards it. Panting heavily, you make your selection at the window. And then to your disappointment, the man hands you a job advert instead of a 99p Flake!
Fortunately, this nightmare scenario never happened. At Connections, we’re not that cynical with our recruitment strategies. If we promise you ice cream, you get ice cream, as a number of our clients recently discovered when we sent a well-stocked van to their premises, with nary a recruitment ad in sight.
What was the purpose of this all this sweet treatment you ask?
With all the talk of a new digital reality in business, recruiters have had to get to grips with a lot of foreign words which were formerly the preserve of digital marketing. Words like SEO, CRM and PPC. Suddenly they are expected to be brilliant copywriters, tireless researchers and expert Linkediners.
Of course these developments are ground-breaking. It’s also dangerously easy to approach them with an old-fashioned, Sales focused mind-set. Racing up the page-rankings and gunning for the latest candidates’ CVs suddenly seems all important. But this approach ignores what modern marketing is all about.
Ultimately these tools work best at generating in-bound traffic: using content to spike interest and enquiries from clients and candidates alike. While organic brand-building might seem less vital than filling roles, it’s a tactic that companies are embracing wholeheartedly, as traditional marketing methods provide diminishing returns. And I think it complements what this industry is all about: relationship-building.
With personality being central to the recruitment process, it makes sense to place your team’s eccentricities front and centre on your website and social media. This is an area where, if anything, small businesses have the advantage: the voice of a small team will come across a lot more naturally than the marketing department of a larger corporation.
Likewise, offering direct advice in a style which reflects the way your consultants speak to candidates can help to build trust, reaffirming the belief that they are being represented with their best interests at heart.
These strategies have also been described as ‘soft-marketing’, which succeeds precisely because it escapes people’s well-trained ear for a pitch. I would argue that this also applies to the ice-cream van. We didn’t make any extra placements that day, or receive any new jobs to fill from clients. However, as any flush primary school kid knows, donating ice cream is a sure-fire way to make new pals. You might call it the ‘soft-serve’ approach.