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What nobody told me about running a B2B marketing recruitment consultancy

Having spent 20 years in marketing, latterly 10 in a B2B environment in both integrated agency and in-house roles, building teams and managing talent had become an increasing part of my senior career. When I took the decision to change direction, B2B marketing recruitment was a great fit.  There have been a lot of learnings along the way.

The true extent of the word ‘consultancy’

Consultancy - Noun. The activity of giving advice on a particular subject

When I started Invoke, recruitment ‘consultancy’ was a given.  But what has come as a welcome and interesting surprise, is actually the variety of subjects clients and candidates ask me to consult on.  The recruitment piece is a given, sourcing candidates, advice on how to position the role and salary negotiations etc. But in a number of cases clients will bring me in before they’ve decided what a role looks like, and we’ll spend time working through the business and marketing objectives and the talent trends in their sector to come up with an appropriate team structure.  They may also ask me to support them in further developing their employer brand messaging which supports us when considering cultural fit as part of the recruitment process. And from a candidate point of view, it’s important at a more junior level to consult on interview technique, future skills, CV writing and training requirements. And at a senior level, consultancy and executive coaching around career development; influencer skills and non exec director opportunities.

How tough the whole process is on candidates (at all levels)

No matter what level of experience a candidate has, the psychological effects of a significant life change such as a new job or journey through a recruitment process shouldn’t be underestimated.  What I hadn’t anticipated was the importance of my role in this experience. From the moment a candidate gets in touch, there’s a responsibility for their wellbeing throughout the process. This includes honest communication, even when a conversation might be difficult; really getting to know what motivates them to ensure I only match them with a company culture in which they’re going to thrive; and learning to connect with people quickly and accurately.

Hardly anyone at any level has a career strategy

This is one that has consistently surprised me.  From junior to senior level, individuals rarely have a clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve with their career and work life balance. Opportunities usually arise ad hoc, rather than being proactively planned. The rare few that do have clear career strategies tend to progress quickly. They develop iterative skills development plans, take time out to widen their network and make connections, have a clear idea of what work life balance looks like to them, and they track down mentors to help them get to where they want to be.  

Just how much I’d care

I’ve always cared about my career and the people I work with, but the level of responsibility I feel when orchestrating an individual’s career, and ensuring organisations make the right decision when bringing employees into their teams has been next level.  Minimising the psychological impact of the process and optimising outcomes by understanding what makes clients and candidates tick has become a really enjoyable part of the day to day.

How important my B2B marketing background would be

Of course it’s a given that having extensive experience as both a candidate and an employer in B2B marketing makes understanding the needs of my clients and candidates and the industry they operate in a lot easier.  But the thing that’s stood out to me is how much of a marketeer you need to be in recruitment. Segmenting clients and candidates, understanding what drives their behaviour, writing ad copy, generating inbound leads and moving them through the sales funnel; and understanding the importance of fitting individual’s personal brand with an employer brand.  

I run an initiative called The Invoke Talent Surgery, a 60 minute free of charge session for decision makers in marketing agencies and B2B Technology businesses. Designed to support you to future proof your B2B marketing team and make short, medium and long term decisions around talent, team structure and hiring.  If you’re interested in taking part in a Talent Surgery for your business please contact me via email to get this scheduled jo.wassell@invokerecruiment.com

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