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Does offline marketing still have a place in the recruitment world?

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As we plough our money into job boards, Google adverts and social media to attract candidates, are we forgetting that good old fashioned offline marketing still exists?

We’re so used to searching for jobs online, applying online, and often having our first conversations with our prospective employers online, that everything to do with work has almost completely shifted into the digital world.

However, you’ll still see job adverts in newspapers, in bus stops, on tubes and trains, or even on a flyer pinned to a noticeboard somewhere. In a phone-first world, does this still work?

Yes, it does.

The lesson we need to take away from this, backed up by the numbers, is that recruitment marketing isn’t recruitment marketing anymore; it’s consumer marketing. We’ve talked about this already.

There’s a reason why Apple, Samsung, Tesco, and [insert any business here] plough millions into print media and ‘out of home’ advertising. And it’s because they’re experts in consumer marketing, with a complete understanding of the marketing funnel, touch points and the power of exposure. They’ll spend most of their budget online, but they know the power of diverse marketing.

For many in the world of recruitment, we’re still stuck in the cycle of job boards, recruitment agencies and poorly-executed careers pages with minimal quality traffic, and in some cases definitely not thinking of our candidates as consumers.

What needs to change?

You really need to start thinking of your live jobs like a consumer good or service. If we look at it this way, offline marketing makes up about 11% of net advertising spend in the UK. Is 11% of your recruitment marketing spend diverted to offline? Nope, we didn’t think so (and well done if it is).

By building out a diverse marketing mix, with a solid employer brand behind it, then the candidate’s journey looks a lot different:


The candidate spots a job on a job board. The salary is a bit low, but it’s 5 minutes down the road so they look at the requirements. After getting bored halfway through the list of ‘must haves’, they head to YouTube to watch some cat videos.


The candidate sees a quirky job advert on the petrol pump on the long drive to their current job. After scanning the QR code, they learn all about the company’s vision. They want to apply, but have to get to work. They get home that night to find a flyer advertising the job too! How strange. They pick up their phone and fire off an application, engaged and excited about joining a company that matches their personal values – and is so close to home!

Offline media is never going to be the silver bullet to recruitment woes, but as you can see, it’s the additional string to a recruitment bow that needs to put the candidates first.

Yes, absolutely keep spending the majority of your budget on digital recruitment marketing, as that’s where the magic happens, but don’t discount offline; it’s an important part of a recruitment journey that looks more like buying a car than applying for a job as we dive deeper into the 2020s.

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