Testimonials – getting it right

July 12, 2017

Testimonials remain one of the most powerful forces in recruitment marketing. However this is only the case if they are proper testimonials. Otherwise you are wasting valuable space on your website and brochures.


So what is a proper testimonial? Well, a testimonial needs three important things.

This means that it needs to be fully attributed. Writing, for example “Recruitment Marketing Expert” or “Robert from a marketing agency” means nothing. The words in the testimonial only carry credibility if they have a full name and position. i.e. you could, if you wanted, check out the profile of that person giving the testimonial or even confirm its providence.

The person who is attributed to the testimonial also needs to have gravitas. It must come from someone who could perceivably be an end client and/or who has a strong profile. If you want to impress with a testimonial to the point of having someone be swayed by it, then this is essential.

If you are a finance recruiter, the FD of a local business is going to hold ,much more sway than an accounts assistant from the largest blue chip. It’s about the individual and not the company name.

Great platitudes have little relevance. The reader of a testimonial wants to know what was done, how value was added and the steps you/your organisation went to. The fact that you are a nice person or your company has a warm vibe is irrelevant. That you were able to fill a particularly tricky role or consistently provide the best CVs within 24 hours is what counts. Tangible facts win out all of the time.

The testimonial has to be fit for today’s world. A testimonial which talks
about how you always fax over the best CVs instantly dates the reference and renders it obsolete. And testimonials from companies no longer existing have zero weight. If you are placing supply chain professionals, are your clients going to be impressed by what the logistics managers of C&A, Our Price and even BHS have to say?

All too often people rush to publish testimonials because they feel they are a fail-safe. If you have a spare page in a brochure or some space on a website, often people will just chuck in a random testimonial. But each testimonial has to say something relevant to what you are talking about otherwise it just becomes words on a page. All too often recruiters, and even marketers, will make up testimonials and add them to marketing collateral. Their thought process being that not only is it better to have a testimonial than not, but that it can say exactly what is needed. Of course this is not only unethical, but serves little purpose.

And that brings me finally to LinkedIn testimonials. If you are a recruitment consultant, the best testimonials are from candidates and clients, not from ex colleagues. As a marketing director I want to know my marketing recruiter has placed good quality marketing people, having understood the brief, understood what the candidate wants and added value to the process. I don’t care if the consultant was great to sit next to, won incentive trips or was the source of hilarity in the office.

Testimonials, when done properly are invaluable. You only have to look towards TripAdvisor, Trust Pilot and some may even say Glassdoor (although I am not a fan of this platform as my previously article demonstrates) to see that industries based on recommendations are being established. However they need to be credible, have meaning and be relevant if they are going to persuade more clients and candidates to use your services.



Remember you need to have the express permission of the person identified in the testimonial and for it to be use,d where it is.  Moreover you need to have that permission recorded.