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Recruitment Marketing: The Basics

Ilinca Draganescu


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You’re a recruiter. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Hiring managers tell you when they have an opening, you post the job description to appropriate job boards then wait for resumes to come in. Is there more you could be doing? What if we said there was actually a whole methodology out there focused on helping you build a talent pool of awesome candidates who might not even know they want to work for you yet?


Enter Recruitment Marketing (RM). 

Recruitment  marketing is about finding the right people before they know they're ready.

Recruitment Marketing: The Fundamentals


RM is to your recruitment funnel what inbound marketing is to the buyers journey in regular marketing. Basically it entails using inbound techniques and tactics to attract, engage, and delight passive job seekers into your talent pool so that when an opening comes up you can draw right from this pre-selected group of people. This cuts time to hire, cost per hire, and can lower the amount of energy you’re spending on each individual opening dramatically.


Inbound marketing was created to bring in new customers not by selling to them, rather by providing useful information and conversation that leads to the marketer and their company being seen as a trusted advisor within their industry. In recruitment, this looks like presenting a solid employer brand (EB) and using various channels to convey that EB to the world. Now when your audience of passive job seekers (an estimated 70% of the job market that are currently employed and not active looking to move) decides your offer looks too good to pass up, they jump in and apply.

The 3 stages of the recruitment marketing cycle


Borrowing heavily from the inbound marketing world again, there are 3 stages of RM that correspond to the first 3 stages of the overall recruitment funnel.


  • Attract/Awareness


At this stage you’re using social media and your blog to get the word out about your awesome EVP (employee value proposition) and using your brand voice to let the world know what it’s like working for your company. Keep conversations in channel wherever possible to let your audience know you value their time, and keep those conversations in brand voice for consistency. This is the phase where you’ll be sharing blog posts, office tour videos, and employee testimonials to really sell the company culture.


  • Engage/Interest


Here you’re going to continue the conversation, while simultaneously introducing more links to great content, job listings on your career portal, and using your social media presence to keep your audience engaged with you and learning more about your company.


  • Delight/Consideration


At this point, you have active openings and candidates actively looking to fill them. These formerly passive audience members have been following you for some time, have engaged by asking questions and have loved the answers you provided. Keep your momentum by engaging in further and deeper conversations with your new pool of applicants. Keep answering their questions, directing them to further resources on your site, and scheduling phone or video calls when appropriate to move them along their candidate journey.


Beyond these stages, there are several key elements to a successful recruitment marketing campaign. We’ve broken them down into a top 5 for today’s purposes, you may see some overlap and that’s for good reason. Each of these 5 items feed into and off of each other, so it’s crucial to do what you can to foster all of them in turn.

The Target Persona: Hard to Have an Audience You Can’t Identify


First things first. In order to tailor your content and social media presence to the people you want to hire, you need to have a solid understanding of just who those people are. This is where a stable of solid, well-thought-out target personas comes into play.


It’s true that your HR department likely already has some personas on hand. These will be a good starting point, however, there are some additions you’ll want to make for them to be most effective for RM. Primarily, you’ll want to do your research into where they spend their online free time so you can beef up your presence on the right sites. No point in establishing a robust Facebook presence if your audience spends all their time on Reddit, right?

Employer Brand: The Who


You’re no doubt familiar with the idea of a brand. It’s the combination of images and thoughts that come to mind when you think of a company. Whether a consumer product, website, or even the name of a particular celebrity—brands are everywhere. So what is your employer brand?


It’s the combination of company culture, product, values, and mission that make your company a great place to work. It’s more than the brand image presented to the general public, they care about your product first and company ethics second. Potential employees, on the other hand, want to know why they should drop their current position and jump ship to join your organization.


Do you have a mission statement? EB guidelines? These are two places to get started on developing an EB that will be attractive to your target audience of potential applicants. 

Employee Value Proposition: The Why


Most of your EB is made up of tangible aspects of becoming an employee. Your EVP consists of both the tangibles, like benefits packages, and some intangibles like office culture. Share videos via social media, office tours and employee testimonials work great here. Give your audience an idea of how your office feels and how your people feel about working there. Then use your blog to publish industry news and updates, to tell stories about recent wins, and share how-to guides for your latest products. 

Social Recruiting: The How


We’ve talked a lot about posting things to social media. When you’re using your presence for the purposes of attracting and engaging potential applicants, it’s called social recruiting. Beyond simply advertising openings, your social media presence serves as a platform to broadcast your EB and EVP, as well as a place to conduct the conversations that will help convince folks that you’re an honest and genuine company. Answer questions, conduct polls, or just chit-chat with your followers. Things to remember: be yourself, and be entertaining. People are following you to get a feel for your company and see whether they think they’d be a good cultural fit there.


This is also where you’ll start receiving inquiries about openings from people who have been following you for some time, so be ready to send them to department portals and job descriptions on your careers page. Better yet, deploy a chatbot that can help them start the application process right from Facebook Messenger or LinkedIn.

Content: The What


Running through and around all of these efforts is the content you’re producing. Blog posts, social media updates, office walk-through videos, and employee testimonials form the backbone of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. And it’s this content that supports your RM efforts. When you’re chatting with a follower and they ask for details about company history, it’s helpful to have a blog post or series that delves into that history you can direct them to. Or when someone asks about that award they read about your company recently receiving, how awesome will they think you are when you send them to a video that goes over the project that led to the award?


Recruitment marketing consists of a lot of individual steps you may already be conducting as part of your overall recruitment strategy. Having a title to put on it and a structure to organize these activities around can bolster those efforts and make them even more effective. So the next time you’re on Twitter chatting with a follower, remember that they may also be interested in that developer slot opening up next week and start feeding them the information they need to make an informed decision about joining up.

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