Recruitment Agencies: Superheroes Apply Within

Recruitment Agencies: Superheroes Apply Within

By | July 11, 2011 at 9:00 am | 2 comments | SEO | Tags: , ,

Recruitment Agencies: Superheroes Apply Within

Every sector has specialisms; web development is no different.  Unfortunately, many recruitment agencies have yet to grasp the difference between web development and web marketing.

I regularly get job opportunities throughout the UK, and I ignore the majority.  Why? Firstly, I am very, very happy at my current employer. Secondly, the majority of job offers are completely misguided, insulting and would require super human feats of skill – all for a drop in wages; The reason? Recruitment agencies still not getting the difference!

Here is an excerpt from a recent job offering I received at the opposite end of the country to me. A job offering, might I add, from a recruitment company that I have never spoken to:

seeking 3 X Front end developers ((X)HTML, CSS, Jquery) on an initial 3 months contract for an ever growing company in xxxxxxxx, London.

The successful Front end developer(s) ((X)HTML, CSS, Jquery) will be building/creating web pages in (X)HTML, CSS and Jquery from Photoshop files.

Essential key skills / experience:

  • Strong knowledge of (X)HTML, CSS, JQuery
  • W3C Web Standards
  • Experience in creating public facing sites on multiple browsers
  • Experience in UI design skills would be an advantage
  • Experience in Photoshop, Adobe suit, etc. Would be an advantage
  • SEO and PPC would be an advantage

Did you spot the super human part of the job they requested?  Yep, “SEO and PPC would be an advantage

An Increasing Problem

I am seeing more and more of this being slid in to job offers. Is it a case of buzzword bingo or are they actually looking for someone with proficient skills in SEO and PPC and if so, what part of the implementation stage are they looking for? Are they looking for someone who is proficient in creating SEO friendly web applications and websites, someone with experience of creating PPC landing pages or are they looking for someone to manage an SEO campaign or PPC campaign?

I know a lot of web developers who are fluent in the art of SEO and/or PPC but the majority will admit that they don’t get too involved – they simply ensure their designs and solutions do not hinder SEO efforts. They most certainly don’t co-ordinate and optimise entire websites as they build them.  People who work solely as an SEO or PPC marketer know that these are two very different animals.

I admit that recruitment agencies have a tough job. They often have to make a turd sound like the next best thing since sliced bread. However, that’s about as far as my defence of recruitment agencies go.  I’ve been on both sides of the table when it comes to job interviews and there is nothing more disheartening than being fed a lie by the recruiter about a position/candidate.  That’s why I know the ones I trust and the ones I don’t.

In my eyes, search engine optimisation is a skill that can be complimented heavily by experience in web development.  It’s the avenue I took when I first started out as an SEO and it has come in handy when liaising with web developers.  However, they are simply two different disciplines and unless you are an in-house web developer working within a team I honestly hope you are superhero as you will burn out – and fast!

(Photo credit:

About the Author

Kev Strong

Kev Strong is an online marketing consultant at Newcastle Upon Tyne based digital marketing agency, Mediaworks. A lover of all things search and an ex-web developer, Kev Strong (a.k.a Goosh) is a specialist in advanced search engine optimisation.


  1. Laura Sharpe (11 years ago)

    Ah-hem, cough, cough, cough… thanks for the mention! You know I know what I’m talking about when it comes to digital recruitment and I know you’re currently happy in your role. That’s why I don’t pester you… but I would hope you would trust if I were to come to you with an opportunity that you’d know I’d done my homework, understood what you would be looking for and made sure I understand my Client’s requirements fully. I think the SEO experience line you see on most front end dev and design jobs nowadays is purely down to employers wanting reassurance that the person is able to design/build with compliance and SEO in mind. That’s in defence of my Client’s that mention this. If it’s a more intricate skill required then I would hope either myself or my Client would be able to explain this in the spec and/or advert.

    Rant over, for now! 🙂


    Managing Director
    Sharpe Recruitment Ltd

  2. Kev Strong (11 years ago)

    Hi Laura. There are reputable recruitment agencies out there who “get” digital development and marketing. Like I say, I know where to go if I need to, and you’re at the top of a very small list of agencies I trust so don’t worry, you’re not bandied into the group I aimed this post at.

    Taking your comments on board, I suppose there is a certain amount of blame that can be attributed to the companies advertising the roles as well, but unfortunately I’ve found this to be few and far between. I’ve experienced all kinds of underhanded tactics by recruitment agencies when offering me jobs (something I won’t go into on a public platform).

    I receive over 10 job offers a month for development work (something I have not done for 3+ years) where SEO is prerequisite when it is simply a buzzword used where either the employer or the recruiter don’t know what they are talking about. Sadly, like anything, there are recruitment agencies out there who know their beans and there are recruitment agencies out there who are trying to sell you the magic beans 😀