Recruitment marketing specialist skills in 2021. What do you need?

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The past twelve months have been a challenge for every industry and for those working in recruitment marketing it has been no different. Now that the world is slowly returning to some semblance of normal we are looking at how our recruitment marketing teams and their growth plans have shifted since early 2020 and what the makeup of a team could/should look like when it comes to blended skillsets. 

Pre-March 2020, many teams were looking to bring in marketing specialists in certain disciplines. Roles and opportunities were being created for highly trained/focussed people with a particular skill, usually video or content. But has there been a shift?

A pandemic-led shift in required marketing skills?

With furlough and redundancies having an impact on staffing levels, the need for generalists has once again come to the fore it seems as marketing teams in recruitment look to scale their activity rapidly.

Many marketing functions need individuals who can pick up any task at any point. The pandemic shifted the focus within recruitment businesses and in some cases marketing became more important than ever to maintain visibility throughout a time when actual recruitment activity plateaued in many sectors. 

Certain questions started to be asked. What needed prioritising? How could we strip marketing back to its essential function and outsource where needed? 

But now, as we get back into the swing of things, what is the future for recruitment marketing specialists? Not only that but what’s the progression for those in specialist roles and how can you keep them for longer?

There’s limited career progression for someone like a videographer in a recruitment marketing team, it’s unlikely that specialists like this will have a true ‘career’ in a recruitment firm unless there is a laser focus in that area from the company. But that doesn’t mean there are not career opportunities if they really want it and are maybe willing to pivot a little (sorry, that phrase is still about).

How do you grow a recruitment marketing team?

The ability to grow a marketing function in recruitment rests on the success of the business as a whole, making it difficult to commit to certainties around opportunities and projects for specialists. You can however offer wider training to some so they can develop as a generalist (if they want to of course). Generally though, there is an acceptance that after 18 months – two years somebody with a very specific skillset will likely be looking to move on. 

Another reason for moving away from a team of recruitment marketing specialists with specific skills can be around succession planning. For those that head up a team of marketers, they can struggle with succession planning for their own roles. Fellow team members may not have the breadth of knowledge that would empower them to step up if needed when they are focused on a specific marketing discipline. Keeping generalists in the team, and offering training or projects to keep them interested creates a clearer career path when growth allows. 

What about the wider team structure though, such as junior staff members? Could you hire marketing apprentices to fill a need? But then how do you approach training them, in particular, how much of your own time do you invest in them? There are mixed views on apprentices with some having brilliant experiences and others not so much. But when it comes to training new starters the advice is to use your other team members. Not only will it be a great experience for those without direct management responsibility but it removes some of the burden on a single person in the team.

Do you need experience in recruitment marketing?

Finally, is experience in recruitment needed for new hires in our marketing teams? If you’re bringing somebody in without any recruitment marketing experience, particularly a generalist, then it’s a steep learning curve. One that will involve a lot of your time and some hand-holding. It’s a topic that divides opinion so we’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you’re looking to bring someone into your team do you specifically look for recruitment experience or do wider credentials and personality come first? Does it depend if you’re looking for a recruitment marketing specialist or generalist?

It’s a cop out answer, but it depends.

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with some of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be.


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