Symphony Talent Blog

James Ellis

James Ellis
James Ellis is a guest contributor for He currently runs The Talent Cast [] podcast (found on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you get your podcasts) where he can be found doing deep dives on all things employer brand and recruitment marketing. James currently lives in Chicago, where he spends his time partnering with Fortune 1000 clients to develop recruitment marketing, digital and content strategies to find and attract the best talent. You can reach him via Twitter @TheWarForTalent [] or on LinkedIn [].
Find me on:

Recent Posts

You Don’t Have a Recruiting Strategy, You Have A Mess

Posted by James Ellis on July 17, 2017 at 12:57 PM

You’re falling behind.

Well, more to the point, it feels like you’re falling behind.

You are spending lots of money on a seemingly unending list of tactics you can barely keep straight and if you looked at your inbox right now there are dozens of people trying to sell you even more. And the best news? New companies are launching every day with tools they are sure you need.

But you still feel like you’re falling behind.

Go ahead, pilot yet another new project. Dip your toe in this project or that tool. Test the tenth idea to see if anyone cares. Spread the peanut butter ever thinner to the point of near abstraction. Spend more money and get less in return. And enjoy that conversation with your boss when they want to see how things are going.

When it comes to recruitment marketing, tactical thinking is a trap. It drives you step by merciless step towards the mediocre section in the middle of the pack. It nips at your heels like a small dog, encouraging you down the path paved with good tricks and hacks.

Why is that? Because tactics are for sale to anyone. Think investing in Snapchat puts you on the cutting edge? Wrong. Dozens of companies are helping thousands of companies try Snapchat. Think video job descriptions are is cutting edge? There are companies selling those services to anyone willing to pay. Tactics are for sale, so relying on them is building your house on shifting sand.

Tactics only work in service of a strategy, never for their own sake. But so many companies get so focused on telling the story of how they are leveraging this new tactic or that new tactic, they forget the core of idea of what recruiting is all about: attracting and hiring the right candidate, not just trying to spread a message far and wide. Their day to day is peppered with all those companies selling them the “next big tool in recruiting” that they never take ten seconds to think why they might need it.

Need proof? Who’s the number one most desired employer in the world for years now? No need to say the name out loud, as we all know who they are and there’s no need to give them any more link juice. But do you think they spend their time worrying about whether they should have a [insert your tactic du jour here, be it Slack channel, automated bot, Facebook jobs application process, Snapchat filter, hyper-targeted or lookalike ad targeting, etc. etc. etc.]?  No. They post jobs, run anyone who shows talent through a gauntlet of interviews, turn almost everyone down, and still get all the applicants they need. This company isn’t tactic-driven, and they are insanely successful.

In fact, the companies who recruit best are strategy-driven, connecting tactics to a core strategy rather than thinking up tactics and trying to duct tape them to an ad hoc strategy later on. Instead of working with vendors who sell the next big whatever, they work with companies who establish strategic partnerships. Strategic thinking means having a rationale for why a given new tactic makes sense to leverage. There’s nothing wrong with leveraging video job descriptions when it connects to the larger strategy.

Read More

Topics: Recruitment Marketing

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts

Posts by Tag

See all