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We’re facing a tight labour market in 2023 and it’s more important than ever to step up your game as an employer of choice.

The Guardian recently been reported that 90% of CEOs expect staff shortages this year. With unemployment rates in Australia down to 3.4%, what can you do to stand out as an employer in 2023?

In my next post, I’ll share my interview with Nathan Soti, who’s the Managing Director of Ethos360 Recruitment on how to select the right people. But first, you have to get those people to apply. 

For advice on this, I spoke with marketing expert Jane Toohey, the director of outsource2us, which is a Brisbane-based marketing agency that works as a plug-in marketing team. She focuses on supporting Australian and New Zealand businesses, specialising in manufacturing and trade, childcare and education, professional services, health and wellbeing and technology.

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Recruitment is Marketing

You may recall that I’ve spoken about how recruitment is more of a marketing exercise than an HR one. Effective marketing is about having a good strategy, and then managing that implementation very closely. You need accurate reporting and you need to tweak what works and what doesn’t to ensure good ROI. With the skill shortages, at the moment, marketing your brand story is really important. 

Effective marketing is about having a good strategy, and then managing that implementation very closely.’

Jane and I started chatting after we released our post on using social media to engage more candidates and here I’ve asked Jane to share some of her insight, including her top recruitment marketing tips, with you. 

How to Differentiate Yourself

Karen: Perhaps we could start with how you think marketing can help with your employer brand, so that you can show up in the market to candidates and not just customers? 

Jane: That’s a really good question because when marketing comes to mind, people usually think about getting new customers. At the moment, with such a tight market, when you go out with an ad for a new person, you might get one or two applicants. In days gone past you might have attracted 200. 

At the moment, with such a tight market, when you go out with an ad for a new person, you might get one or two applicants. In days gone past you might have attracted 200. ‘

How do you differentiate yourself? You don’t want to have to just hire whoever’s going, you want the best candidates to apply. And you also don’t want to have to fight on salary, that’s like fighting on price in the market. 

Telling your brand story is so important. You need to include in your brand, a little bit about your culture, and a bit about what it’s like working within your team and your business. That brand’s story can double up – for example, if you do the right sort of pre-production on a good video, you can tell a story about your business that will attract both customers and potential staff. 

Karen: That’s so true. And your customers or clients, depending on your business, actually do care about the culture of the business as well, don’t they? These are not mutually exclusive things when you’re thinking about your brand. 

Jane Absolutely. In our agency, for instance, our clients love our culture. The things that appeal to new staff about the way we collaborate together, our clients love too. It can double up. Your marketing can approach both customers and staff. 

How to Use Social Media

Karen: I have clients that really dislike social media, including founders who resist even having a LinkedIn profile. And my advice is that it’s really difficult to attract candidates, particularly in a service space, if you don’t have those things in place. 

I remember when I started my business, Amplify HR, six and a half years ago, which is a long time in social media, and I was told even back then, if you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. Do you find similar resistance to social media and how do you encourage people to consider their social presence?

Jane: We do get resistance. The first thing everybody thinks is Facebook and Instagram. But with the time and effort and energy you have to put into Facebook and Instagram to have a good presence nowadays, maybe these are not the best platforms. I often say to clients and businesses, maybe you don’t have to be there. 

But in a B2B environment, or even a B2C environment where you want your brand story told, you do need to be on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of those platforms that you can outsource. If you get the profile right, and you get your targeting right, a team can do it for you, or your marketing manager can do it for you, working with you. 

I understand that some of my clients don’t want to be on social media all the time; I understand the owners don’t want to be sharing what they did on the weekend with their dog. But there is a need to have a presence, because if we’re going to go out and advertise for new staff, one of the first things they will do is check out the profile of the owner of the business. They want to know who they’re going to be working for. It’s really important to have a profile.

I understand the owners don’t want to be sharing what they did on the weekend with their dog. But there is a need to have a presence.’

Karen: That’s a great point. You don’t have to do it all yourself, you don’t need to be a slave to your mobile phone. But there are lots of ways to have other people manage this for you and still have a presence. 

I did a focus group for a client where I asked the staff, ‘why did you start here?’ The majority of them said ‘because of the founder’. That gave me a lot of information to be able to demonstrate the importance of keeping the founder’s profile up-to-date, because people were looking at it. 

People want to work for someone they can learn from, that they can respect. The tonality of your posts is also important, sounding like someone that people want to work for seems to be really important. 

Jane: Yeah, absolutely. And then people see your business as a company that they can be proud to work for

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7 Marketing Tips for Recruiting in 2023

Karen: I’m all about the practicals. If I’m a business owner, considering improving my marketing and branding this year, what are your top tips for what I can put on my to-do list for this month?

Jane: I’ve got some tips, and these tips are specifically around how you can use your marketing to appeal to potential staff as well.

Budget for a Culture Video 

Top of my list has to be what I call a cultural video. But not if you haven’t got a few thousand dollars to spend – $2000 or $3000 is the absolute minimum budget. If you haven’t got that, don’t worry about a video. When it comes to telling a brand story with a brand video, you can’t do a cheap and nasty social media one, it has to look good. You have to have a decent budget. 

Optimise Your Website

Make sure that your website is not only optimised to be found for the things that you’re selling –  your solutions – but also to be found by potential staff. There are certain keywords that people will use, if you sit down and think about it, if they were thinking of working for you. What key terms would they use? Make sure that you’ve got some content for these key terms on your website, and that your website is optimised for them.

Showcase Your Brand Story

Showcase your brand story on social media posts, organic ones. If you’re in the market for staff, you might have two posts that are about the business and your solutions, then a third one around what’s happening in the business, how you motivate staff and what you do for team building. People are interested in those things and your clients will be interested in it too. 

Revamp Your LinkedIn Profile

If you’re looking for staff you’re most likely going to advertise on LinkedIn. When people see your LinkedIn ad, they are going to click through to the company’s LinkedIn page to find out what your company is all about. They won’t necessarily go straight to the website. 

On your LinkedIn page, they’ll want to see your current staff, and what they are saying about working there. It’s definitely worth talking to your current staff about their profiles. Obviously, you can’t enforce any policy on your staff’s own posts. But I’ve found that staff are often willing to comment on posts and say, ‘this is one of my favourite parts of the week’, for example.

Reach New Audiences

To reach new audiences you can use digital advertising. However, Google advertising has become incredibly expensive. If you’re in an industry like insurance, you’re going to have pay a lot of money per click. 

Instead, depending on your market and the sort of staff you’re looking for, or the sort of clients you’re looking for, consider advertising on Facebook or Instagram – if your market is there. Because you get more detailed profiling and it’s a little bit cheaper per click.

Advertise on Job Boards

Promote your business, not just on general social media, but also on job boards. In groups where people are talking about their careers. I’ve had a lot of good experience posting on job boards at universities. You can find good people when they finish their degrees, and even when they’ve been out of uni for a year or so, they’ll still go back to the uni job board.

Don’t Forget Email Marketing

A lot of people ask me, is email marketing dead? Well yes, if it’s a bad email because there’s too much information – you need to keep it short and sharp and relevant

But if you’re looking for staff, or looking for clients, if you write a really good email, it’s very easy for people to share it with others. If they know someone who’s looking for a job, they can share the email, if they know someone looking for your service, they can say ‘Hey, I just got sent this great piece’. It’s one of those things that supports word-of-mouth marketing. A lot of people tell me, ‘I get most of my leads through word of mouth.’ And I say, ‘Well, what do you do to support that?’ 

Employment Projections

Karen: These are fantastic tips and really easy to implement, as well. Let’s take a last look at some statistics. I’ve already mentioned the Guardian report, about 90% of CEOs expecting staffing shortages in 2023. 

There are also some employment projections and labour market insights from the Australian Government showing that more than 60% of the total projected employment growth to 2026 is coming from just four service industries:

  • healthcare and social assistance
  • accommodation and food services
  • professional, scientific and technical services
  • education and training

It may be no surprise that based on 60% of employment growth coming from those industries, it’s also predicted that 90% of new jobs will require post-school education. Recruiting is definitely on the agenda for many businesses this year, but we’ve also got to look out over the next five years. If you’re in one of those four industries, you’ve got some huge growth ahead of you.


Let’s recap on Jane’s tips for branding and marketing through the eyes of candidates and not just customers. 

  • Budget for a Culture Video Make a brand video if you have a budget of at least $2000 to $3000.
  • Optimise your Websites For candidates not just for your services.
  • Showcase Your Brand Story And tidy up your profile on your socials and your website (consider outsourcing!) and consider adding some hiring and culture posts into your social media schedule. People want to know who they might be working for. Just as you probably check out candidates online.
  • Revamp Your LinkedIn profile LinkedIn company page is very important if you are advertising positions, and so are pages for your current staff. Can you provide them with LinkedIn header images and consistent descriptions of the company, and ask them to comment and post about their experience working with you?
  • Reach New Audiences If the pay-per-click rates are too high on Google, investigate Facebook and Instagram.
  • Advertise on Job Boards Promote your business on job boards, in groups where people are talking about careers, such as job boards in universities. 
  • Don’t Forget Email Marketing It helps with overall referral marketing. Keep it short, sharp and relevant. 

I’d like to thank Jane Toohey for the fantastic insights she shared in this post. If you would like to get in touch with Jane her business is outsource2us. And you can email her at

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