Matt Alder on Recruitment Marketing and the technology mismatch – interview @HRTechConf

Steve: Matt, we’re at the HR Tech conference in Chicago. What’s the number one buzzword you’ve observed? What’s the number one trend that you’re seeing here at the conference?

Matt: From my perspective, the sheer amount of people here marketing Recruitment Marketing Platforms! I think some of these guys have been around for a while, but there are at least five or six new businesses who are selling something called Recruitment Marketing Platforms, and that’s quite an explosion in the space. That’s the biggest impression I’ve got so far.

Steve: How much would you split that between this years’ marketing “buzz” versus the fact that recruitment marketing has always been here with a handshake and the right conversation? How much do you see it as a long-term paradigm shift in how recruiters use technology?

Matt: I think the first thing to say is that recruitment and marketing are not the same thing. They are entirely different practices. Recruitment is about finding the right people, having the right people in the right place at the right time. Marketing is about positioning products and engaging with. They are different things. However, I think they’ve got a lot of techniques in common in terms of how they communicate their message. And I think that there is so much great stuff in digital marketing at the moment with technology in terms of how you communicate and how you can automate. It’s inevitable that the recruitment market is seen as a target for that because there is such an obvious fit.

What I think the issue is… I’m not sure how well recruiting consultants will be able to use technology that’s been designed for marketers because marketing and recruitment are different. I don’t think there is enough attention being paid to the end user profile in terms of what they might need to do or what they might achieve with their skillset. I think, logically, it makes perfect sense, but I think some of the recruitment marketing platforms are getting carried away, and I wonder how far away they are going from the people that are actually going to be using that software.

Steve: Can you describe more about this technology mismatch?

Matt: I don’t think it’s necessary the technologies. I think it is how these technologies are implemented, and I think it’s all cool stuff. All of it can provide value, but I think that there’s not as much focus on how you use the technology. There’s more focus on what it can do, and I think that’s where the disconnect is. Any of the technologies out here have the potential to do great things in their recruitment space, but if people can’t implement them and can’t use them, then they are a waste of time

Steve: It’s interesting that you’re saying that recruitment and marketing are two separate entities, but you can’t be a recruiter and you can’t do recruitment without being in some sense a marketer.

Matt: No, absolutely. They are separate. I think there’s lots of talk out there that recruitment should sit in the marketing department. I think what I’m saying is that they are different disciplines, but they share a commonality of techniques. There are lots of things that marketers do that recruiters need to do. I think, generally speaking, recruiters need to be better at marketing and they need to be better at understanding the opportunities that marketing can give them.

So, it’s kind of a bit of a semantic… or binary argument that goes on about “It is marketing; no it’s not!” I think rephrasing that and saying, yes, they are different things but they both use the same techniques, is probably a good way of actually getting some real progress on this area in recruitment.

Steve: Brilliant. Thank you very much.

Matt: My pleasure.

Matt Alder (@mattalder) is a Digital Strategist and Technologist. His current focus is Metashift, a talent acquisition and innovation Consultancy. Listen to his Recruiting Futures Podcasts for innovation and futurology in recruitment and HR.

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