Defining your tone of voice in recruitment

christin hume hBuwVLcYTnA unsplash scaled 1 | Defining your tone of voice in recruitment
By Paula Smith | 3rd August 2021 | 5 min read

Communications have evolved quite dramatically over time. No longer are corporate, complex and dry messages acceptable and with the fight for share of voice being incredibly fierce, it is critical you consider yours. What is your tone of voice?

With the rise in social media interaction, savvy digital tools that offer a multitude of personalisation features, the expectation of our audiences has changed and as receivers of content, we resonate with messaging that is relevant, accessible and often more relaxed in style. Your verbal identity is just as important as your visual identity and this is often overlooked. However, your tone of voice is a crucial part of who you are as a business and how you connect with your audiences.

For talent acquisition specialists and HR professionals, this is incredibly important as the war for talent continues, tone of voice forms part of your candidate attraction toolkit. It is how you cut through the noise, engage, inspire and motivate the right people to apply and retain them within your organisation. In order to successfully communicate, you need to speak your audience’s language.

What is tone of voice?

Your tone of voice is how you express your brand personality and values through written or oral communications. Alongside visual identity, tone of voice is an important part of your wider employer brand and contributes to your credibility, trustworthiness and competitive share of voice.

In practice, your tone of voice consists of the linguistic decisions you make when communicating, such as vocabulary choices, syntax, grammar, emoji use and style, such as use of humour, rhetorical questions or the delivery of information through facts. These are typically set as part of your brand guidelines, however impact everyone in the organisation who are communicating internally and externally as part of their role. Alongside marketing teams, HR and talent professionals play a key role in managing the identity of your organisation and it is important they adhere to guidance around tone of voice.

Understanding why

Although tone of voice may appear like another tactic in your recruitment marketing toolkit, establishing yours has a wealth of benefits across all your recruitment communication channels. A well-established employer brand, with a strong verbal identity can reduce recruitment costs and time-to-hire, whilst sourcing the very best candidates through attraction, candidate experience and brand amplification.

Brand amplification

Your tone of voice sits within your employer brand and ensuring there is a consistent message across all communication channels greatly aids the strength and authenticity of the communication. Candidates are not just applying for a job, they are applying to join a brand. They want to work for organisations they resonate with and your tone of voice amplifies your company values, what you represent and your employee value proposition.

Company culture

With 50% of those surveyed on Glassdoor highlighting that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction, this is not something that you can shy away from. Your tone of voice channels your messages about your culture, setting the tone for the working environment and what candidates can expect from you as an employer. Conversational, fun or humorous styles might work for some candidates or maybe more serious but accessible for others; it is about understanding your audience and speaking their language.

Candidate attraction

With content consumption at an all time high, cutting through the noise can be a real challenge. Your tone of voice and communication style can help and in utilising creative copywriting you can create catchy headlines, engaging job posts and social media to amplify the reach of your roles.

Candidate experience

The evolution of technology has opened doors to a wealth of tools for you to connect and communicate with your audience and a multi-channel experience has become the norm. As your tone of voice overflows into every tactic, this includes considering your language and audience preferences for videos, podcasts and maybe even TikToks!

Spread the word

Tone of voice is not a new phenomenon and a lot of organisations invest in establishing guidelines as part of their corporate brand suite, however many forget the most critical step; application. 

Across your organisation there will be teams communicating on behalf of the organisation and it is important that they have the guidelines and support to ensure you achieve the consistency and desired positive brand amplification. This includes investing time in reviewing your standard communication templates and materials.

Your tone of voice reflects the story you want to convey to your audience and this should be consistent from social media posts, through to the job description, interview questions and even the delivery of feedback. They all make up the overall candidate experience and give a holistic view of the organisation as a whole.

It is important to also note that your brand’s tone of voice should be consistent, but also flexible for the channel and audience. Just as you may address a senior stakeholder vs someone in your close knit team slightly differently due to the change in audience and level of familiarity, there needs to be a professional scale for your tone of voice when applied to your recruitment communications. For example, social media posts may be more informal than the job description which details the duties and responsibilities of the role.

Consistency is incredibly important and by defining, designing and deploying a clear tone of voice for your organisation that speaks the language of your audience, you will inspire, engage, motivate and resonate with your audience.

Take a look at our IRIS networx solutions for more support in innovating your recruitment activities and working on your employer brand.