Last week I attended the 2018 RAD Awards, an event that brings together almost a thousand recruitment marketing professionals for an evening of black-tie celebration at Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane.  I've shared a few of my thoughts from the event below.

(But first, a very big 'thank you' to Robin and his excellent team at ZipRecruiter for the invite!)

The team behind the RADs deserve significant praise for organising a fantastic event that went off (pretty much) without a hitch.  For a night that descends into organised chaos quite quickly, the food, service, and overall execution were top-notch.

“The Oscars of recruitment marketing”, the RADs claim to recognise the best recruitment marketing campaigns of the year, with an emphasis on ‘bravery’ and innovation.  They do a good job of highlighting the headline campaigns of the year, and give recognition to the leading edge of the industry.

As such, and as you might expect, it is only really the big brands (with big budgets) that get the nod each year, but there are still a number of interesting themes that come out, which are relevant to recruiters of all shapes and sizes.  Reflecting on the awards, I think there are two main trends that are worth highlighting.

VR & VIDEO

It’s clear from the list of awards and nominees that the use of technology in recruitment will continue to be a hot topic for marketers this year.

VR is currently touted as the ‘next big thing’ for those with the budget to do it.  Both Barclays and Lloyds pulled off impressive recruitment campaigns this year using VR - although without seeing their performance metrics it’s difficult to know whether it’s "all sizzle and no sausage".  Regardless, VR remains completely out of reach for most employers due to budget limitations, and will be as such for some time yet.

Video, on the other hand, is increasingly at the ‘affordable’ end of the scale, and provides employers with an opportunity to bring their brands to life in a rich and compelling way.  It’s drastically cheaper than VR (or at least good VR) and can be easily promoted via existing communication channels without incurring high additional setup costs.

Accenture’s #inclusionstartswithi campaign bagged the ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ award on the night, and is a good example from the RADs of what could be achieved by mid-tier employers with just a clear, direct and impactful concept.

Personally I’d have ditched the Twilight soundtrack – which feels a bit twee – but overall it’s a really solid campaign and worth trying to emulate.  So much of the value comes from the initial idea and clean execution, which is exactly where brands with lower budgets need to set their sights.

Chat Bots 

Another area that stood out was the use of chat bots: notably, Anchor Trust picked up the ‘Innovation Award’ for their pioneering efforts in this area. 

There is a common concern in the market that chat bots are one of those ‘gimmick’ technologies that will only work in very specific areas.  And it’s certainly true that they have to be carefully matched with their target audience – i.e. no sending quirky GIF reactions to senior appointments, probably – but that’s true of any good marketing.

I think they’re an exciting prospect.  Recruitment chat bots look set to turn one of the most functional parts of the recruitment process (i.e. the initial job search, and the provision of immediate FAQs) into a powerful engagement tool that (literally) speaks to candidates directly.

These robots definitely aren’t here to steal your job (yet), but they have come on leaps and bounds since they were first talked about in the recruitment marketplace, and they’ll continue to develop and grow.

As with all new technology, the earliest adopters will take some knocks and learn lessons along the way I’m sure, but there does seem to be huge potential here.  Promoting your brand whilst simultaneously driving new applications in an effective way is the proverbial ‘sweet spot’ after all.

I think that in terms of recruitment technology within the employer brand space, the effective use of video and the early use of chat bots are the two to watch closely.  Perhaps something to consider if you are looking to take your recruitment marketing to the next level?

If you’re interested to hear more about ways to enhance and grow your recruitment marketing capabilities (whether that’s video, chat bots, or simply measuring results properly!) don’t hesitate to get in touch on rob.prince@talentnexus.com.

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