How important is it to be visually stylish if you want to be an effective recruiter?
It is no accident that some of the best-known online recruiting and marketing campaigns look so sleek. We all ‘eat with our eyes’, and this visual approach is an effective strategy for making products, people, positions and businesses look as appealing as possible.
So, when it comes to recruiting new staff and marketing your business as well as possible, good visuals must make the right kind of impression on potential applicants and your target audience. Let’s take a closer look at what the marketing vision behind good visuals is and how it can:
- help make your recruitment drive more successful and
- ensure you reach the right candidates and talent.
How visual communication benefits your business
One of the main advantages of using imagery in your recruitment drive is human nature. Simply put, we can process images faster than text, with humans processing an image in approximately 13 milliseconds.
Therefore, marketing your company’s culture with good visuals makes it naturally more engaging, appealing and interesting for those it is intended for. For instance, using an infographic is the perfect way to convey a lot of information in a short time. Compare the same information gleaned from an infographic to a large block of text and you can see why images are so powerful.
Sharing is caring
People nowadays aren’t content with just seeing an image for themselves, they want to share what they see with friends, family and random strangers on the internet. It’s estimated that 95 million images and videos are shared by Instagram’s half a billion users every day. Not only is that a huge volume of images, but it’s often an important demographic for businesses; 18 to 34-year-olds.
Creating visuals that can be shared across social media must nowadays be a consideration in every recruiting strategy. Powerful visuals are also an effective tool for conveying a strong story and message to your audience. They can be used as the main aspect of your recruitment campaign or to supplement something like an advert. An expertly-crafted design could be the recruiting solution that your agency has been looking for.
Recruitment that meets the six pillars of marketing
The six pillars of traditional marketing are:
- Identify your target market;
- Learn what your audience wants;
- Promote your products or services as the solution;
- Choose a price that people will pay;
- Use convenient sales channels that make purchasing easy;
- Deliver an outcome that exceeds expectations.
When applied to recruiting, these ‘six pillars of marketing’ can be helpful too. Many companies find candidates through a well-selected visual appeal: a competitor must therefore go the extra mile to make theirs stand out amongst their rivals’. But standing out is easier said than done. What are some of the strategies used by the experts?
Types of visual images
There are three main types of images used in visual marketing that can support your recruitment strategy. They are infographics, photos and videos.
Infographics are images that present a visual story and project data in a powerful way. They are perfect for helping people to make sense of supporting statistics, insightful analytics and complex data. So, they become particularly effective when a brand is looking to highlight the positive impact on the environment their product or service has had. They are user-friendly, serve a purpose and should ideally combine key text with relevant and strong imagery. Some include more text than others, but all are easily digestible.
In a digital age where analysing data metrics is vital for unravelling marketing success, developing business strategies and building both brands and products. Infographics are an effective tool to decipher hardcore data through clever and illuminating visual representation.
Photo imagery in marketing comes with some major warnings. A great image can capture an audience’s attention in an instant. A poor quality image can damage your brand reputation just as quickly. Naturally, one of the main goals of visual marketing is to make your product look as good as possible. For this reason, many businesses will opt to hire a professional photographer. But with the right camera gear and lighting, you can produce your own marketing visuals in-house for a fraction of the cost.
This final option is to use stock imagery. This is the fastest, most convenient, and often the cheapest option of the lot. But be warned: you will never own the exclusive rights of a stock image. This is why they’re priced so competitively. It is also why most marketing directors avoid stock imagery wherever possible. The nightmare scenario is that another company re-uses the exact same image for their own campaign – which completely confuses the message of your own advertising.
Video marketing is everywhere these days – from television, to web pages, to street corners and public transport. Videos are an incredibly effective medium to connect people to products for the very primitive reason that motion and activity captures our attention so much more readily than imagery alone. And, while photography still plays an important marketing role, video marketing is king in almost every industry.
Videos have, of course, become an important recruiting solution for many employers, and specific social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Stories specialise in video content.
Keep it real
It can be tempting to add layers of visual gloss to your marketing campign – but doing so comes with a risk. Don’t let your imagery oversell your product and make promises that you cannot hope to deliver. Need a real-world example of this that will be familiar to us all? An explanation of the tactics used by professional food stylists to ‘dress up’ fastt food will have you amazed by their ingenuity.
The same strategy applies to your entire marketing campaign, of course. Over-promising on an experience that fails to materialise upon delivery can generate a tsunami of organic backlash against your brand. For instance, the release of the video game Cyberpunk 2077 in 2020 promised so much through its marketing that, upon release, the final product was considered a huge let-down. Developers CD Projekt were inundated with complaints and 30,000 refund requests.
Strong and good visuals allow people to make positive associations with your business. But, there is no substitute for seeing someone use it in real life to allow potential candidates to visualise themselves working for you or using your product or service. Clothing and sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas both have unique visual selling points to their clothing items, helping to create aspirations from potential customers. Nike’s famous swoosh and the three lines of Adidas have helped establish them as leaders in sportswear. Seeing famous athletes or celebrities wearing instantly recognisable branding makes more people aspire to do the same.
Distinguish between vision and strategy
Your vision is what you are looking to achieve and the strategy is how you will make it happen. In terms of recruiting visuals, choosing something because it looks good doesn’t necessarily mean it aligns with your brand, ethos or strategy. The right visuals complement your brand and give credence to the points you are making. For instance, if you are a diverse and inclusive workplace and want to highlight this fact to attract a wider pool of talented individuals, show this in the company images you display on your web pages, on social media platforms and across your company literature.
Businesses must consider whether their visuals make them look good and if they contribute to the message they are trying to convey. It’s also critical to ensure that the images align with your brand identity. A change of tone or departure from what has gone before could alienate your current customer base.
When creating long-form content, strong images at the beginning of a marketing piece help to draw readers in. Attaching images to articles or blogs also allows businesses to add alt text, enhancing their SEO reach.
Connect recruiting and business aesthetics
Images with no connection to your business can feel like empty gestures or appear out of place. Businesses confusing their target audience may struggle to meet targets and sufficient ROI on their strategy. Instead, visuals should tie in with your business. This way, applicants can see that the two are connected.
Effective ways to achieve this include using the same colour palette or language throughout marketing, recruiting and branding campaigns. Imagine a McDonald’s advert without any red and yellow branding or the famous golden arches. Customers might begin to wonder if it’s really McDonald’s at all.
Images that inspire action
Consider what type of image might make people take action and develop their interest in your brand. This could be through a nod to nostalgia, something forward-thinking or thought-provoking.
Perhaps you may wish to include some information in an infographic about the attempts your brand is making for a positive change in the world through sustainability or social commitments.
Images that fit with your recruiting ethos
Finding and creating images that fit with your brand is just as important as the types of images they are. For example, a sports brand may have a choice to make when it comes to picking models to wear its clothing for marketing purposes. Likewise, using positive role models via the right imagery in your recruitment campaigns is powerful. It will project your positive reputation as a fair recruiter and dispel any chance of recruitment discrimination.
Is it looking to appeal to the general public or fitness fanatics? It’s arguably a stronger image to have someone ‘normal’ in the images rather than someone with abs of steel.
Diversity and inclusivity in recruitment drives are also extremely important, so it’s essential that how you market your business matches your identity. It’s also important to remember that different images appeal to different audiences. What strikes a chord with a younger demographic may not resonate as much, or at all, with someone older.