Tell us about yourself: Why tone of voice matters in recruitment marketing

by Elliott Fudge

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An attractive proposition is just the starting point for a successful job advert in today’s ultra-competitive talent market. Not just what you offer but the way you articulate that offering has become a lynchpin in the hiring process. But what exactly does a recruitment tone of voice look like, and how can it help your ad stand out from the crowd? 

Tone matters 

Only a few years ago, there was arguably such a thing as an ‘appropriate’ tone of voice for recruitment. It was formal, generic, predictably detached. Employers reeled off a bullet point list of expectations and waited for the applications to flood in from grateful jobseekers.  

But in the wake of a global health crisis that cut businesses off physically from candidates, as well as customers and colleagues, there was a sea change in how they showcased their proposition.  

Stiff, corporate-speak was out, while more personalised, empathetic voices were used by disruptive challenges to strike a warm and conversational tone that made the human connection across the digital divide. 

In the brave new world of talent acquisition, recruitment agencies are no longer able to compete for talent with bland branding and washed out visual identities. This has been amplified by the arrival of Gen Z on the job market, a generation that is discerning, purpose-driven and more prepared to move around until they find an employer of choice. Those at the coal face of the job market will know from speaking to these candidates that things like wellbeing and work-life balance are high on the agenda. What’s clear is that reeling off a list of role responsibilities and requirements is no longer going to cut it.  

What does a good tone of voice look like? 

As one of the first things potential candidates will pick up on, your business’ tone of voice is crucial in communicating the value of the role, attracting the talent you want and differentiating your business from other employers. 

Your tone of voice should leap off the page as much as any visual identity. It’s the most expressive and emotional element of your brand. Done right, it can help you showcase a business’s culture and proposition, and spotlight the profile of a job in a way no logo, colour or typeface can do. 

Compare the two job ads below: 

“Account managers coordinate with clients to pitch and win new work, coordinate the completion and delivery of briefs and work with a range of different stakeholders to ensure best practice is followed at all times”. 

While maybe an accurate description of what an account manager will be doing, the dry and formal tone of voice doesn’t show off the character or flair of the business, missing an easy opportunity to encourage candidates to apply.  

Consider option two: 

“As an account manager, you’ll be at the heart of our client work. From pitching and winning exciting projects to working with our in-house writing experts, there’s plenty to get your teeth stuck into from one day to the next”. 

While covering the same information, the second option introduces more personality to the description and speaks directly candidates, making it easy for them to visualise themselves enjoying the job.  

Just like a visual identity, your tone of voice needs to carry across all your channels and touchpoints, acting as an ambassador of your unique proposition and culture. Working with experts who can help you distil this through an in-depth discovery process is one of the best ways to find a tone of voice that will work for you.  

Make it stick 

While investing in a tone of voice review and refresh is a valuable process, rolling it out across the workforce is another challenge.  

All too often, we see cases where marketing teams are fully onboard only for the tone to be diluted or lost altogether in candidate and client letters, template job adverts and other communications. 

You may have an internal human resources team writing your job adverts, or you may work with freelancers – but either way, it’s important to make sure your tone is well communicated and can be easily incorporated. Not everyone can be a writer, but everyone can follow a few golden rules that are clearly and simply expressed. 

Again, having the right tone of voice expert here is worth its weight in gold. As well as helping you crystallise your verbal identity, they can create an easy-to-follow style guide, train your hiring teams and provide content reviews with feedback to help your tone of voice get true traction. 

With everyone in your business speaking with one voice, you are more likely to attract talented people who are a good fit for your organisation and your culture – and these are often the people who will stay to build your mutual success.  


Does your tone of voice need a refresh? Or are you having trouble rolling out your new tone across your business? At Stratton Craig, we work with specialist recruitment teams to help them discover and roll out the right tone of voice for them. Get in touch with our tone of voice experts today and find out how we can help you win with words.  


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