8 minute read

The biggest recruitment marketing challenges of 2023

We’ve heard the phrase ‘content is king’ on repeat for many years now. And we've all listened and churned out blog post after blog post.


When there is so much content being produced, readers are being flooded with options.

How do you make your content stand out?

Because, let’s be clear, content is still key. There is just more competition out there. Which means your content has to be better.

For the full low down on recruitment marketing read our comprehensive guide.

How do you make sure your content is better than the competition?

There are multiple factors.

I could tell you it’s about how good your writing is. But what does it mean to be ‘good’?


  • Good writing is clear, concise, easy and enjoyable to read – because we are writing for an audience not for Google these days.
  • Good writing shows a spark of personality and draws you in.
  • And when we’re talking about writing designed to pull you in from the search results, good writing answers a question for your audience. It solves a problem for them. I mean, why else would they read it?

What challenges are your audience facing?

For my audience (you), recruitment marketers, the biggest challenges in 2022 were:

  1. Generating traffic and leads
  2. Hiring marketing talent
  3. Marketing plan pivots

(HubSpot’s 2023 Marketing Industry Trends Report)

So, let’s look at ways to solve each of these and then consider what challenges your audience might be dealing with.

How can you generate traffic for your website?

By ensuring your content is search engine optimised (SEO).

I know, I know. I just said we’re not writing for Google anymore (and we’re not). Then I said your content has to be SEO friendly.

As far as I’m concerned there is a very big difference between writing something with a specific reader in mind and writing something using a set of guidelines and a list of words to stuff in there. In case it’s not clear, it’s the first option you want to be doing.


So, what do you need to optimise?

To help with your recruitment blog writing and optimisation, BlueSky PR has a checklist available that you can download but here are some of the key tips:

  1. Optimise the length of and the key phrase used in your title tag (the version of your title displayed in search results which can be different from the title displayed on your page).
  2. Check the competitiveness of the phrase you‘re targeting and make sure your content is the optimal length.
  3. Use images and videos with relevant alt tags (search engines can’t understand these without one).
  4. Use a meta description that gives readers a reason to click through.

More detail can also be found on each of these steps in our blog post: six SEO tips to help your recruitment firm rank on Google.

How can you turn that traffic into leads?

Once you get them to your website, how do you turn them into leads?

After all, lead generation is one of marketing's key goals and measuring ROI from recruitment marketing is all about tracking the leads your marketing activities bring in .

When it comes to converting website traffic into leads, you want visitors to either:

  1. Call you


  1. Give you their details so you can call them

phone call

So, what makes them call you?

Content, or information if you will, that is so compelling that they realise they need your expertise.

And what would make them share their contact details?

Access to gated content that solves their problem / answers their question. Such as a regular newsletter they can subscribe to, or a guide they can download.

What those problems / questions are, and what compels them, will depend on the industries you work with but it is sharing your expertise that drives leads.

Side note: How do you show the ROI from your website?

We all know that recruitment marketing is vital to growing a recruitment business, yet as mentioned above, it can be hard to demonstrate this.

Yes, you want to measure the number of website visitors your site is receiving (and where they are coming from) and your Google ranking to make sure your SEO is working but that isn’t the ROI.

In fact, there are lots of recruitment marketing metrics that you’ll want to measure to assess your recruitment marketing strategy.


The ones that count when it comes to measuring the ROI of your website are:

  1. The number of leads brought in (ROI from marketing)
  2. The number of leads that convert (ROI from the combination of marketing and sales)

Whether a lead is a client or candidate will depend on your goals but each will have a financial value attached, either the value of the overall client contact or the individual client placement.

How to measure ROI from recruitment marketing

As long as you have a CRM system in place, you can 100% measure the number of leads you bring in from your website, either using a specific field to track this (preferable) or by simply using the notes (definitely the longer route but better than nothing). Measuring the number of leads that come in via the phone though will require co-operation from your consultants to make sure they ask and track this.

And as long as you can track where a lead came from (and any other sources of conversion along the way) you (or your MD) can track the number of leads that convert as well.

That will give you a true picture of the return on your investment.

Next up...

How do you get around your own hiring challenges?

Option 1: Upskilling and reskilling

Perhaps there are junior members of your marketing team you can upskill?  Or someone from elsewhere in the business who would be great at marketing but just needs some training?

mentoring to upskill junior staff

Having a mentor to check in with and discuss ideas, someone to help them make decisions, someone to steer them in the right direction, suggest areas of improvement and where training would be beneficial, can be a huge benefit to both their personal and professional development. We ourselves offer a mentoring service that we’d be more than happy to discuss with you. 

Speaking of training, this can come in many forms, from the more traditional courses, to workshops and webinars. 

While they are not specific to the recruitment industry (we've made a number of free webinars specifically for recruitment marketers), there are lots of free and paid for marketing and social media training sessions and certifications – here is a list of some resources we think your marketing team will find useful to boost their digital marketing skills: 

We also run multiple training workshops on behalf of clients (both in person and virtually) – these are designed to be interactive with exercises to suit the goals of each business and those being trained. Please get in touch if this is something you might be interested in.

Option 2: Outsourcing all or part of your marketing activities

Why would you want to? Being unable to find the right candidates to join your in-house team is one reason, the other is time.

Save your consultants time


Just Google the average length of time it takes to write a blog post and you’ll find most state 3-4 hours. Now depending on the competitiveness of the sector you recruit within, you may be needing to produce new blog content daily, weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly… which means dedicating a large amount of time (and that’s before you start thinking about all the other types of content you need to be producing such as white papers, survey reports, e-books… ).

Your consultants most certainly don’t have the time (or possibly the skills) to write these – but if they can spare 5-10 minutes to have a conversation with an agency, the content can be written for them. 

I know what you're thinking - can I afford it?

Well it should pay for itself... The impact of regular search engine optimised blog content can be anywhere between 25% and 200% increase in your web traffic (depending on the health of your website to begin with), which in turn delivers increased candidate applications and increased client engagement. This leads to more business and to more placements. The number of placements that you make will by far exceed the amount that you've spent in generating that content marketing – according to optinmonster, B2B marketers who blog on a regular basis get 67% more leads, and a poll by Search Engine Journal found that 49% people said that organic search offers the highest ROI when compared to paid search, email and social media, and according to Databox 70% of marketers see SEO as more effective than PPC.

Only commit to what you need

Perhaps the best thing for your business could be a hybrid model, where you have a certain amount of marketing support in-house but could do with some more support while you’re struggling to hire someone or are working to upskill the staff you have?

We'd be more than happy to help.

Pivoting your marketing plan

Marketing plans used to be something we wrote for the year and that was that.  Then covid happened.  

Now we know a plan has to be adaptable.  That unforeseen circumstances can and do happen, and we need to be able to pivot.

So how do we allow for that?

marketing team

Perhaps the simplest option is by focusing on what your broader goals are for the year before narrowing these down to the specific measurable goals and strategy for achieving them, as these are what you may have to adapt.

Another more stable aspect is your messaging, e.g. the expertise you want to demonstrate to your target audience and the main pain points you want to solve for them.

Keep in mind that change never means stop marketing, it means the plan has to evolve based on new circumstances or information.  

Of course, measuring what is and isn’t working is always crucial, and helps keep your marketing strategy effective and agile.  

What lies ahead over the next year might be uncertain, but with the right attitude and communications strategy in place, recruitment agencies can position their firm for the best possible success. If, however, the above sounds like a lot of complex work, why not enlist an outside source of expertise in this area to update your strategy as needed?

Those were the top challenges for recruitment marketers, so let’s talk about challenges for your audience

Let’s start by defining who they are.

In recruitment, these will almost always fall into two categories, clients and candidates, and, depending on what industry you’re recruiting in, will probably depend on which is in most demand right now.

For the sake of argument let’s say your key target right now is candidates because you’re working in one of the industries suffering from staffing shortages, let’s say it’s hospitality (because I love food and many of my favourite restaurants are short staffed right now).

Instead of going into details of why we are experiencing staff shortages (I was actually at a wine tasting the other evening where the B and C words were banned), instead let’s talk about how to attract the candidates you’re short of.

Using Chefs as an example:

  • What makes them tick?
  • What draws them in?
  • What are they passionate about?

For the most part, it isn’t an industry you go into for the money. There are long working hours. You do it because you love it.

The last few years have made people more practical. They choose career paths there is constant demand for. Work-life balance has become a much bigger consideration.

How do you reignite their fire?

happy chef

Perhaps you could interview your clients and placed candidates (who often become clients anyway, right?) about what makes their day? Why they do what they do? Why would they never consider doing anything else?

You could write about the trends your consultants are noticing when they speak to clients - insights into any changes in the industry.

There are also tools you can use to find out what keywords and phrases people are searching for around your topic, two that we recommend are:

  • Answer the Public- A free tool which enables you to see the most popular search queries for topics or brands
  • Google Trends– This analyses the popularity of top search queries and uses graphs to compare the search volume over time across different regions

Give people what they want

At the end of the day, to solve any of these challenges, giving people what they want is the answer.

  • Give your audience the answer to the question they’ve been Googling.
  • Solve their problem.
  • Show them they can trust you.
  • Understand what new hires or upskilled staff need to make their lives easier - and give it to them.
  • Find out your Director’s goals and measure against them.

Need support solving your recruitment marketing challenges? Get in touch.


Author: Jennifer Wright

As BlueSky PR’s Head of Marketing, with almost 10 years’ prior experience in the recruitment industry, Jennifer writes articles and guest posts to inspire recruitment agencies to build their brands, improve their content, bring in more leads and generally make their lives easier.


Originally published December 2020, updated January 2023

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