An Introduction to Recruitment Marketing

Written by: Cassandra Bailey

Many years ago, we identified the 7 Business Goals—very specific ways that PR, social media, and email marketing can help companies grow.  One of the goals was recruiting. We knew that companies with good, strong messages and a strategic approach to communicating them would be more attractive to potential employees than companies that had none of those things.  

Over the past two years, more and more clients have told us that recruiting is the biggest barrier to achieving their growth goals.  A tightening labor market, more competition, and a greater focus on cultural fit meant that they have a hard time finding the right people for the right seats in their companies.  So we began researching best practices, developing our own methodology, and trying ways to apply marketing communications tactics to the recruiting challenge. In the process, we’ve developed the following approach to the question, “What is recruitment marketing?”

What Is Recruitment Marketing?

Recruitment marketing, or employer branding as it is also called, is the application of communications strategies and tactics for the purpose of retaining employees and attracting prospective employees.  Some companies have appointed internal leaders, often with titles like “Director of Employment Marketing,” “Head of Employer Branding,” or “Vice President of People and Culture.” Most of these people come with a marketing background, but they now sit in the human resources or talent acquisition departments in their companies.  

While HR people and recruiters are excellent at the process that hiring new employees requires, they simply aren’t marketing experts and don’t have the skills to create and communicate compelling messages.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s the reason that most effective recruitment marketing requires leadership from someone with marketing expertise.

For those considering adding recruitment marketing to their HR groups, whether through the appointment of an internal person or by partnering with an outside agency, we recommend the following:

Research

To begin, a company must know how it is perceived by prospective employees.  This may mean surveying employees and applicants, reviewing online mentions and message boards, and reviewing what is communicated on the website or in job descriptions.  All of this together will create a complete picture of how outside people perceive what it’s like to work at the company. This step is critical for creating recruitment marketing messaging.

Messaging

There are four parts to a messaging for an employer brand that must be clearly articulated:

  • Positioning – one sentence that clearly communicates what makes the company different than any other place the best employees may consider working.
  • Point-of-View – what the company believes; people want to work with people who believe the same things they do.
  • Supporting Message – the 3-5 most important things prospective employees must know in order to apply for a job.
  • Voice and Tone – the emotional connection the company wants to create with potential employees; the 3-5 feelings people will experience when they work at the company.

Once this messaging work has been done, it should be shared with everyone involved in the hiring process, from HR to external recruiters to marketing to hiring managers to executives.  Consistency is critical for efficient recruitment marketing.

Amplification – Corporate Communications

There are a few ways to spread and promote an employer brand, one of them is from the media and channels the company owns.  The company’s LinkedIn page is a clear example, but Facebook and Instagram are often places people look as well. Email marketing to prospective employees or applicants in the pipeline can increase the likelihood of someone taking a job.  And a great media story in a local or trade publication can position the company well for prospective and current employees. It is critical that someone or an agency with marketing expertise leads this effort and that it is coordinated with the corporate communications or product marketing teams.

Amplification – Champion Training and Communications

People like to work with people they like.  The best current employees will attract the best new employees.  However, they will not do it just for money, according to LinkedIn. They want to help their friends and they want to help their companies.  They’re held back from being highly effective in sharing recruitment marketing messages because they lack one important thing – marketing skills.  For that reason, those who really care about their employer brand offer training and support to their internal champions. They share messaging, work on content development, and represent the company at events and online.  This addition to the recruitment marketing plan will exponentially increase the reach and authenticity of the effort.

Measurement 

Since recruitment marketing is new, many may struggle to understand the value.  However, there are some simple things that can be measured overtime that demonstrate return on investment:

  • The number of positive things said online about the company as an employer
  • The number of people who apply for jobs
  • The quality of people who apply for jobs
  • The cultural fit of people who apply for jobs
  • The number of employee referrals
  • The time to fill a job

All of these metrics – if trending in a positive way – can have a short-term and long-term impact on how a company meets its growth goals.

If you want to learn more about recruitment marketing or Slice’s Employer Brand Communications offering, click here to start a conversation.

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