Recruitment in focus: Time to get creative

It’s an interesting time for recruitment. With budgets slashed and in many cases frozen, recruitment advertising in the traditional sense hasn’t been a priority.

Recruitment advertising is the obvious vehicle for delivering employer brand messages – and for many organisations, in the absence of recruitment and therefore advertising, the message, in a proactively managed form, has vanished. Of course your employer brand is still there – in fact, it’s never been more important.

With many indicators suggesting we are through the worst of the recession and the economy is starting to pick up over the next 12 months, many organisations are going to need to recruit again.

Savvy organisations will be re-positioning their identity to reflect or indeed challenge the image that the recession has left them with. Some organisations are more confident as a result, and will see this as an opportunity to seek elite talent they believe will be more attracted to them. Others have been humbled by it and will need to reconsider how they can better articulate their offer.

Whatever the message, whoever the employer, one thing is clear – it’s time to reconnect with candidates and to take ownership of your employer brand. And it’s time to get creative.

Creative recruitment advertising connects employers and audiences directly. It’s the employers’ chance to shine. However, it’s not all about getting everyone interested in working for you. It’s important to remember in a time of high unemployment, successful, creative recruitment advertising also needs to actively dissuade unsuitable candidates from applying.

So to connect employers and audiences, the first thing we need to think about is what’s our core message and how can we communicate this clearly and compellingly in a way that inspires candidates and motivates them to take action. Then we need to think about how we get that compelling message in front of the right people.

Importantly, creativity doesn’t stop with execution, because although recruitment activity may have been light in the past 18 months, the numbers of ways to engage with potential talent have multiplied. More and more recruiters are looking to social media, mobile and even using online computer games to display advertising as platforms to engage creatively with their target candidate audiences. All of which work well as an extension of the employer brand and give return on investment. Despite this, some organisations are still nervous about using the new methods – when now, more than ever, they should be embracing them.

It doesn’t end there. Creative thinking, in terms of connecting with candidates, shouldn’t end with attraction – that’s just where it starts. Creativity needs to extend throughout the entire recruitment experience, to work to engage talent – from the careers site, throughout the interview process and into onboarding – from dialogue at a distance to direct conversations.

Jon Porter, managing director, TMP Worldwide

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