Understanding Your Available Talent Pool of Digital Marketers with the benefit of fancy Venn Diagrams

I chose earlier this year to barge into the world of recruitment because after many years of running a digital marketing agency and in-house digital teams, I felt recruiters didn’t ‘get’ digital marketing.

So I made it my mission to ‘get’ recruitment, to learn from some of the very best recruiters out there and to deliver something new to the market.

Now, the end result of that is that I’m building a business that will be very different to other digital recruitment agencies, largely because we think & act differently, and that means we get better results. At least, that’s what we’re being told.

So the result of these learnings is that I’m seeing a few recruiting tricks that simply DO NOT work, but are very commonly used throughout the industry.

Hawking Around CVs

I used to get speculative anonymous CVs ALL THE TIME at the digital agency. And you’d think – why are they sending me this CV? I don’t need this person. OR you’d think OOH THAT WOULD BE NICE but it turns out not to be a real person. Nasty tactic.

Relying on Job Ads

Yep, job ads and job boards, they can do a job. But are you going to find top digital marketers scouring Indeed? The likely result is 50 CVs from Bangalore asking for visas, with little to no experience in digital marketing.

Pushing available candidates

There is a tendency to push out candidates who are active on the market. And sometimes they’re a match – but how often? And if they’re on the market, how many other people have got that CV? Likely every client on the books.

None of these tactics work in digital marketing, unless you’re doing it a thousand times a day and you’re hoping that one will stick.

And in the end, that annoys everyone.

So the more I’ve analysed the digital marketing recruitment landscape, the more I’m seeing a set of Venn diagrams to describe how companies should be looking at their recruitment strategy, and who doesn’t love a Venn diagram?

And this kind of proves why it’s so hard to recruit without knowledge of the industry…

Let’s start with the available market…

We’re starting really basic here. We have everyone in our local area, and we also have all of the digital marketers in the local area. And let’s assume that we’re all on at the very least a hybrid model here, if not fully on-site. So you’ll see there’s a bit of an overlap. Here’s our digital marketers.

In the next step, let’s dig down into our digital marketers – are they skilled in what we’re looking for?

So we’ve got a segment of our digital marketers bubble which is looking for work, and within that we’ve got some people who have the skills we want AND are looking for work. The available market is looking smaller and smaller, and if we’re just looking at those who are in the market, we can pretty much be guaranteed that we’re going to be competing against other companies for these people.

Next step – what if those people aren’t actively searching? There is a small group of digital marketers within any talent pool that have the skills you want and could be persuaded to join you if the opportunity arose. Your passive talent pool is always there, dormant, waiting to be prodded.

But even then… even if you persuade them, even if they’re tempted, are they a cultural fit? Do they show the behaviours that you are looking for in order to not just drive performance but for them to drive performance over the long term? We always say that we hire for skills and fire for behaviours, but if you can define those behaviours and find a strong cultural fit, aren’t you going to do better as a result?

So what if a recruiter’s job was not just to post job ads and hope for the right CVs to come in, but a recruiter’s job was to actually define the skills & cultural fit in that passive market, and then convince more people to join you.

Like this:

And now, all of a sudden, we see that the passive market starts to outweigh the active market with a strong cultural fit, because the job of a recruiter is to source the right people for the right business, and over time, to help that business build up a talent pool whereby this segment of your Venn Diagram gets bigger and bigger, or at least – more populated with potential candidates.

And you’ll see in the last Venn Diagram here that if you start mapping the CVs you’re receiving from job ads or from some of the more scurrilous recruiters in our industry, then you’re missing out on people who are in the right segment.

And over time, you’ll see that you’re able to compete in the talent marketplace because you’re convincing passive candidates to consider you, as opposed to just looking at the active market where there is strong competition and your top candidates may be talking to multiple people.

So whether you’re recruiting in-house, whether you’re a recruiter in digital marketing or you’re using a recruiter, I’d challenge you to map out the CVs you’re getting and see how close you are to hitting the target.

You won’t hit the target anywhere near often enough when posting job ads, and you won’t hit the target retrofitting CVs to roles unless you’ve somehow struck gold. It’s just not going to work. And yet so many recruiters do this in a hit-and-hope, see-what-sticks mentality.

And we are not the only recruitment agency out there to have understood this – I’ve learned from some quite brilliant people across a variety of recruitment niches, and they know that the hard work pays off if you’re prepared to ask the right questions and understand your industry inside-out.

But if you’re struggling to fill a role, have a look back at the CVs you’ve received and perhaps try to shift your focus towards your available market and how you can do more to attract them.

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