Guest blog: Are traditional recruitment marketing tactics obsolete?

We are lucky to have Phil Welch, a seasoned Graduate Recruitment writer, as a guest blogger this week. Let us know what you think of his take on traditional marketing tactics in Graduate Recruitment. Enjoy!

I recently saw an article in the Evening Standard about the upcoming RAD Awards. In it, a senior creative in the recruitment communications industry was quoted as saying: “Traditional recruitment marketing tactics are now obsolete.”

As someone who’s worked in recruitment communications for 27 years, I was disappointed to see such blinkered thinking from someone in our industry. Throughout my career I’ve seen the marketing mix change from adverts in local papers and the trade press to careers websites, job boards and now social media. But none of the more ‘traditional’ approaches have completely disappeared and even today, there still seems to be a place for them. Yes, traditional job advertising in the press has been hit hard by the rise of job boards and the like. But trawl through any local or even national newspaper and you’ll still see job adverts. Similarly, the rise of websites, microsites and social media may have had a major impact in areas such as graduate recruitment, but there are still many organisations, including some of the biggest graduate recruiters, who invest in ‘traditional’ face-to-face marketing on campuses and at careers fairs.

I’m a strong advocate of using new technologies to attract the very best people. But I’ve always worked on the principle that you should remain open to all possible approaches. And the key is to do your research and to use this to determine which tactics are going to attract the people you want.


Research certainly shows that graduates are spending more time online and using social media, so, yes, these need to be part of your approach. But that doesn’t make the other channels obsolete. Far from it.

In fact, recent research by JustOnCampus showed 78.6% of university careers services say that students value traditional campus presentations the same or more than in the past. When asked why the other 21.4% valued them less, the most likely reasons were that presentations were either boring or irrelevant.

For me, the key to successful recruitment – no matter who your audience is – is to develop a mix of marketing channels and to integrate them so they become relevant to your audience. But, most importantly, no matter which channels you use, you need to ensure that your message resonates with your target audience. Without a relevant message, your choice of channels becomes irrelevant. Students certainly won’t follow you on Twitter or Facebook just because you’re there – you need messaging and content that interests and engages them.

Recently, recruiters have taken challenges, magicians, even art installations onto campuses – all backed up with strong, relevant messages and social media campaigns that engaged students. Others have created live webcasts of their campus presentations to reach a wider online audience.

It’s this kind of creative thinking, combining traditional and new marketing methods with focused messaging, that resonates with the graduate audience. So, when you choose a new platform to attract the right people, you have to be sure that it’s the best way of reaching your audience. If they don’t read the local press, then don’t use it. Similarly, if they’re not on Instagram or Pinterest, these probably shouldn’t be a priority for you either.

So when it comes to attracting the right people, you shouldn’t rule out any marketing method until you fully understand where those people are and what they’re most likely to respond to. With a clear, relevant message no channel should be regarded as obsolete.


About the author

Phil Welch Phil Welchis an award-winning copywriter and creative with 27 years’ experience in recruitment communications and is managing director of Welch Words Ltd. He’s delivered successful creative recruitment campaigns for clients ranging from global banks, market leading FMCG companies, and major law firms to government departments and non-profits.


We are always looking for great new guest bloggers so please give us a shout if you would be interested in contributing!

– The JOC Team


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