Marketing strategies for online recruiters

10 Jan

Over the past few years, I’ve been asked to write a top line digital strategy for jobs boards and online recruiters. I thought it would be interesting to document my thoughts for creating a stand-out digital brand in the jobs board world and explain how I see a small me-to brand breaking through.

Facing a challenging market

One of the reasons the online recruitment sector is fragmented, is because the barriers to entry are low, anyone can set up a website. However the cost of sustainably and credibly acquiring market share is high. In addition to this, niche sector focused news providers are ever encroaching on the jobs board arena. They do so to recoup lost revenue as print advertising rates decline, due to advertisers seeking cheaper alternatives online. Niche providers and online trade magazines enjoy high visibility within their sector. Often they own the hearts and minds of a limited, but loyal, readership. As a result they think setting up a jobs board is a simple solution.

Become the go-to online jobs board

Job seekers what to be able to turn to the ‘go-to’ resource to find their next career move. Research has told us that candidates don’t want to wade through lots of irrelevant jobs to find the job of a life time. They are seeking instant satisfaction – which means finding and applying for well targeted roles swiftly and easily.

Stand out from the crowd

The route to become a large, successful and innovative player within the digital recruitment sector  is to corner a niche; differentiate your proposition from the competition; dominate the niche; and step sideways into complementary markets (When you have the time, budget and resource). Replicate the process over again to take the market like a well-drilled army, efficiently.

What do Google, Tesco, De Beers, Mal-Mart and Standard Oil (100 years ago) have in common?
They know (or knew) the way to dominate a market is ultimately through controlling distribution. Compared to that, any marketing achievement is relatively minor. Controlling distribution in the online jobs board market relates to; identifying, attracting and securing the best candidates in the market (engaging them and delivering them to clients ahead of the competition).


The marketing academic, Piercy says “Go big or go niche” – it’s wise words as “Going big” over night is exceptionally expensive. Striving for market dominance in the online recruitment market requires time, investment and nurture. I believe that the current climate provides a great opportunity to get close to your audience and deliver more value than your competitors and start to win their hearts and minds. Key areas to focus on are Brand and Core Competence. Building a brand is exceptionally expensive and time consuming – developing a core competence requires experience and an unwavering focus on your audience’s needs.

Top line considerations

Create visibility

  • Demonstrate market reach and size beyond your means
  • Create an innovative high-impact strategy to increase brand awareness
  • Develop a low-cost strategy to get people talking about you (i.e. buzz)

Create a dialogue

  • Nurture the database of contacts and users – enter into a regular communication with them delivering high added value information
  • Win the hearts and minds of the senior influencers in the market place
  • Deliver low-cost high-impact initiatives to the target audience on a regular basis

Drive engagement

  • Foster higher engagement in the brand
  • Make your visitors proud to do business with you and loyal to your site, never rip them off
  • Create a stand out brand that is synonymous with the quality, innovation and trust


  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Control your distribution channel
  • Build a strong brand and deep core competence
  • Seek to dominate one niche sector at a time; and step side ways and replicate the process
  • Focus on innovative high-impact initiatives that help you stand out from the crowd

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