Recruitment Marketing: From Nice to Have to Necessity

Recruitment marketing as an industry has expanded the past decade from a nice to have addition to a recruitment campaign to a necessary piece of a company’s recruitment strategy. In the past year, the employment landscape has changed even more drastically, and recruitment marketing is now a key asset that must be employed to continue to attract best-in-class talent. With this new field emerging recruiting is no longer isolated to head hunting and job fairs but has now expanded to include all aspects of marketing, from content marketing, lead nurturing, social, careers site optimization, SEO, referrals, employer branding, events, analytics and more.


What is recruitment marketing?

Recruitment marketing is a term that has attracted a lot of buzz recently, but in reality, this is a strategy that employers have been utilizing to attract candidates for many years. So, what is recruitment marketing? In short, the recruitment marketing field is the practice of applying traditional and emerging marketing concepts to recruitment and HR practices in order to continue to attract top talent and make employers competitive in the recruitment landscape.

Similar to product marketing recruitment marketing has a variety of stages in the marketing funnel.

Look familiar? Recruitment marketing deploys many of the same strategies and concepts used in traditional marketing landscapes. There are often misconceptions that recruitment marketing is just about awareness(put the information out there and candidates will apply) but in reality recruitment marketing is an in depth and complex process that involves strategizing everything from employer brand voice and tone to candidate nurturing and even new hire experience.


Why is it necessary in today’s world?

The recruitment marketing landscape has evolved over the past year and the candidate lifecycle from awareness to employment has become much more sophisticated and complex. There are a few catalysts that have caused this recent evolution in the recruiting landscape.

In the past year, the demand for essential talent increased exponentially with job availability increasing from 6.11 million in 2020 to over 10 million in 2021 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

With job availability increasing in-demand talent has become harder to find and retain. Many desirable candidates are already gainfully employed and not actively seeking new roles. Those who are in the job market have the opportunity to research and be selective as they through their job search as there are many opportunities to choose from. This shift in mentality has catalyzed organizations to use marketing practices illustrate their position openings, benefits and employer brand experience in an authentic and approachable way with the ultimate goal of standing out in the competitive recruitment landscape.


How to use recruitment marketing to attract top talent

As the job market remains volatile many organizations are deploying recruitment marketing strategies to stay competitive in their search for top talent. When deploying a recruitment marketing campaign there are best practices that can be beneficial in building out a successfully campaign strategy.

Know your audience: Who is your employee persona? Like product marketing, knowing your ideal candidate for each role is going to be key to attracting the right talent. Candidates applying for different roles may have different motivations, backgrounds and interests, understanding these will help you build out better campaign assets and feature the information and benefits that are most valuable to your potential candidates.

Consider the recruitment marketing funnel stages and use multiple channels: Consumer experience and ensuring positive touchpoints with a brand at every step of the sales funnel is key to successful conversions in marketing. In recruitment marketing it is also critical to consider candidate experience every step of the way. Think through where your candidate is first going to be interacting with your brand. A candidate may be familiar with a brand’s products or offerings before considering them as an employer or a candidates first interaction with a brand could be entirely employment based. Understanding the different touchpoints and where a candidate may first interact with your brand is key to building a positive candidate journey.

Let’s look at the awareness stage as an example, these are a few common examples where a candidate may first come in contact with an employer brand: your company’s website and careers page, social media, news articles and other industry publications, job sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor, or even Google Reviews! Consider a candidate’s experience with your brand across all these different platforms. How easy is it to navigate your website? Do you have articles and blog posts that support your employer brand as well as your overall brand voice and EVP(employee value proposition)? What is your employer brand reputation? These are all things to consider at the awareness stage of the recruitment marketing funnel.

Measure success, adapt and act: setting KPI’s before launching a campaign has long been a key practice for determining ROI, this is no different in the recruitment marketing world. Like traditional B2C marketing, clicks, website visits, click through rate and other standard top -of – funnel marketing KPI’s are relevant. However, recruitment marketing does deviate from traditional marketing when it comes to bottom of funnel metrics, for instance conversions. The most commonly tracked conversion KPI for recruitment marketing is applications, this differs from the commonly seen add-to-cart or point of sale conversions which are often tracked for more traditional digital ecommerce campaigns for example. Some recruitment marketing specialists will track all the way to the bottom of the recruiting funnel, the point of hire, and even work with HR teams to continue to track retention and turnover data after that.


Where is Recruitment Marketing Headed?

As more employers are turning to marketing as a key part of their recruitment strategy more tools have become available that provide marketers with valuable insights and continue to streamline the recruitment marketing process. Following the trend of automated workflows, marketing automation tools have also emerged that allow marketers to decrease time to hire and track the metrics that they value most. Integrating data from recruitment marketing automation software and applicant tracking system allows recruitment marketers to track conversions to the point of hire and beyond. Many recruitment marketing software solutions can sync with common applicant tracking systems.


Case studies: Who has done it well?

Starbucks: Starbucks has a broad network of locations with their hourly staff making up the bulk of their workforce. Starbucks has integrated its brand culture and values into its employer brand voice with a focus on ethics, diversity, minimizing environmental impact and community involvement. Starbuck careers page showcases these pillars well and makes a strong employer value proposition to those considering a career at Starbucks. Check out their careers page here.

SAP: another brand that has successfully aligned its overall brand strategy with its employer brand. SAP has applied its culture of innovation to its recruitment marketing with authentic and genuine employer messaging that sets it apart as an employer. SAP has its own employer brand channel that is built to attract and delight potential candidates while conveying the culture and spirit of the organization.

Zappos: is another brand that has set a new standard in the recruitment marketing landscape. Zappos has incorporated a strong social media presence into it’s recruitment marketing strategy with dedicated Twitter channels that show an inside look at what life is like working at the company. Zappos careers landing page features these social channels as well, bringing the employer brand experience full circle and giving candidates coming from many sources the opportunity to thoroughly explore the employer brand. Check it out here.