Talent acquisition, development and strategists can learn so much from Marketers

Welcome to my first ever blog. Perhaps the rumblings of a nutter who is so passionate about Talent that it was only a matter of time before he started bleating on about what rattles around in his head.

So a little bit about the author, me, that’s Matt. I have been privileged to be a career Recruiter with splashes of Talent Development and management for 20 years or so. I love the buzz of seeing people get jobs, grow in their jobs and develop as leaders within their jobs. I consider myself very lucky to spend every day working in the world of Talent.

When I first started out (by absolute unplanned accident) in recruitment – boy the world was a different place. I had just graduated with a degree in History and politics from the University of Huddersfield and was applying frantically for every possible management graduate training programme I could lay my beady little eyes on. By sheer chance, luck or fate, I stumbled across an advert in a recruitment agency shop window for a Trainee graduate manager. I still remember to this day thinking that as a new graduate (I even had B.A Hons on the top of my cv in those days), that I would make an ideal trainee graduate manager.

I went inside this high street agency and met a lady who I would later work with at http://www.rullion.co.uk – called Rosie. Now Rosie was a good agency recruiter and she immediately razzed dazzled me with long words about this amazing organisation that dealt with blue chip this and utility company that, and that would offer me amazing development and that had a unique culture; all whilst she was dialling the MD to arrange an interview for me.

Anyway, I rocked on up at Rullion and was greeted by a bloke in jeans looking very hung over. He shook my hand and led me into the office. I was expecting to meet the MD and told him I was shocked to find out he was the MD. He actually liked this and laughed at my innocent pre-employment proposition. Well to cut a long developing story short, Jon – the MD, after a series of interviews (the final in a pub where I split a pint all over myself and congratulated the other applicant thinking it was curtains for me only to be told whilst drying my beer filled shirt under the hand dryer that I had got the job by the sales manager) hired me.

I spent 5 years with Rullion and leant heaps and heaps that stays with me today. In that world, we had just started using email and were still often found hovering around the fax machine waiting for new requirements to come in or for signed contracts back from the Limited Company IT contractors that we placed.

In those days we relied heavily on a good card box, full of names of the best COBOL CICS DB2 programmers, which made searching the green screened and more clunky than a bag of spanners database system (funnily enough called “Talent”). Speed was of the essence. We were competing with other agencies and we had to call and secure the best people off our card box lists as fast as possible. Cover them off, make sure we represented them first, then sell them to the client. Success was greeted by ringing a sales bell, going to the pub (surprisingly I spent a good deal of my 5 years in the pub) and then doing it all over again on a blank whiteboard the next month. Such was the culture that we even had a direct line from the office to the pay phone in the pub over the road so we could take client and contractor calls between sinking a few pints of Stellar and feeding the fruit machine. Happy happy days.

fast forward to modern and present day – I can fill you in on my remarkable career progression in future blogs…..


What is it all about now? Well gone are the card boxes that’s for sure. Now the modern recruiter is a combination of marketer, employment brand ambassador, social media digital native, consultant, project manager, innovator and creative sourcer and the person that still finds the best person for the job in the most efficient time frame.

In my mad and crazy head, things feel more and more every day like we are as recruiters, becoming creatures of marketing. Good recruiters need to understand their audience (hiring manager, organisation and team culture). Good recruiters need to understand key markets (where the targets – candidates hang out). Good recruiters need to expertly articulate a compelling message to sell organisations and roles to would be future employees.

If you can’t already see the links with what good marketers and recruiters ┬ádo here is a really useful “top 100 marketing tips” article:


Anyway, as this is a long and rambling blog here are my takeaways and some attempt at making sense of my thoughts :-


recruiters – you are marketers – market well.

learn from what good marketing people do and think bigger picture

think what is my audience

think where does my target customer (candidate) hang out

think, how can I sell the sizzle and the steak and get my target customer engaged and excited about my opportunity.

think how can I innovate and be creative

think, how can I gain permission to engage with my target customer (candidates).

But most of all

Think – recruiters are often the first representatives of corporate brands – that is a real privilege – do it well, do it like it is your own business lining your own pocket .

Enjoy recruiting – it is an awesome career, trade and privilege – market well!


But wait, there’s more..