SEM Recruiters – Rise Above the Noise

Search engine marketers often center their work around the concept of a conversion funnel. The concept is simple with the first step being to fill the top of the funnel with people that have a broad interest in a product or service. As people move through the buying life-cycle, the numbers that make it deeper and deeper into the funnel will decrease until a small (usually) percentage complete a transaction.

SEM recruiters work in the same way in that they fill their funnel by making cold calls, combing through resumes on job boards, and by networking with people in the SEM industry. And while I'm sometimes irritated by the calls I get from recruiters, I also admit that I'm pretty lucky to often find myself in their conversion funnels without any direct effort on my part. So I thought I'd put out a few tips for recruiters, from an SEO's perspective, that might them push more candidates into the top of the funnel.

Note to current employer: I'm not looking to leave. Really.

  1. Know What SEO, PPC, and SEM Mean: Nothing tells me more clearly that you're not worth calling back than saying you have an SEO opening where the hiring company is looking for someone to manage PPC campaigns. Most recently a fellow from Aquent did this very thing.
  2. Don't Call Me at Work: I work in an open area and the last type of conversation I want to have while surrounded by co-workers is one with a recruiter. If my work phone number is the only contact number you have, call after hours and leave a message.
  3. Send Me An E-Mail: I live online and I'm checking e-mail more than I do my phone messages. Not only that, but I can read and respond to an e-mail when the time is right. While my response rate isn't quite 100%, you are much, much more likely to get a response via e-mail than by leaving me a voicemail. Also, an e-mail gives me an easy option for passing on the details to others.
  4. Details About the Hiring Company: Give real details. Don't tell me the opening is with a leading SEO company. I've heard that before. Every company out there claims they are a leading company and, by definition, they all can't be, right? At the very least, tell me whether it is an in-house or agency position and the geographic location.
  5. Details About the Job: At the very least, tell me whether the job is junior, senior, or management level. How many people are on the team? If in-house, what types of sites are being optimized?
  6. Differentiate the Company / Job: Tell me something about the company or the position that makes it different from all of the other openings out there. Are there any industry personalities working there? Are they known for in-depth research?
  7. How Did You Find Me? Don't tell me that my name came up in a meeting recently without any context; that someone referred me without telling me who; or that you found me online without specifics. If you do any of those, I'm as inclined to assume you're lying especially in the case of an unnamed referral.
  8. Differentiate Your Recruiting Efforts: As with all marketing efforts, grabbing someone's attention by being unique can be quite effective. So do something that other recruiters don't do. Guess how long it took me to notice that the folks at Onward Search linked to one of my posts recently? If only they hadn't chosen to call instead of e-mail me at work a couple of weeks back 🙂

I think these items could be covered in a just a few sentences adding next to no additional time to the recruiting effort.

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  1. Good stuff there. I think also recruiters fail to realize that when you are in the inside of the industry, you can often know about who is hiring before they do (much thanks to Social Media involvement). I had a recruiter mention a job vaguely, and I responded, "oh the one with company x". After a pause, she asked me how I knew about it, and I reminded her that I was very connected in my industry and especially locally.

    That being said, if anyone knows of an in-house (non-agency) SEM opening in the Phoenix Metro area, I am in the market for a Senior, Management, Director, or VP level position. In addition to running my SEM business, I have maintained an in-house SEM position for the past few years and like to keep it that way. I can be reached at anthony(@)

  2. A good post and highlights the sometimes transient nature of recruitment staff. Unfortunately it seems that many people fall into the industry and never regard it as a true career.

    As with all specialist fields, it is important to find a recruiter that specialises in your field - hopefully they will only offer the right jobs to the right people.

    I think there is an important point missing from the above, it is sort of covered by inference but is more valid on it's own - i.e. what's in it for me (the jobseeker). Most recruiters fall into the trap of not considering why a jobseeker might be looking to move and assume that they (the jobseeker) are happy just to do more of the same.

    Indeed, this might be right for some, especially where the job content is fine but other reasons are forcing a move, i.e. low pay, lack of training, fear of job loss, lenghty commute to work etc. However there could be other reasons that are prompting the search and getting these right often means a far better match. This could be larger monthly PPC budgets, a move into a team lead role etc.

    Whatever the reason - it is important that a recruiter identifies the most important things to a jobseeker and ensures that jobs offered tick as many of those boxes as possible.

  3. God, there are so many possible PPC jobs that I just ignore because they have expectations that are insanely high (Can you increase my revenue from $40 to $40,000 a day?) or their email look like spam to have me make money while I make money for them.

    Good list!

  4. This was a very interesting post. Informative for those who are doing recruiting regularly, for sure.

  5. Awesome list. I've been plagued by many of the same vague, poorly timed, spam-like contact attempts and most times they come off like a desperate salesmen looking to meet a quota.

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