I know, I know – it’s easy for me as a marketer to say people should listen to my ideas. That’s some great job security, right? Well, I know you might not believe this, but despite the title this article isn’t about me. It’s about helping HR professionals take on a task that often puts them out of their comfort zones – recruitment marketing. Where do you start? Which marketing ideas make sense for HR? How do you put a strategy in place that works when you’re already wearing a lot of other hats? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Since recruitment marketing is an area with so many options it can quickly drive you crazy, we’re kicking off a series of articles that will help you focus on what’s manageable through concrete, practical tips covering its key concepts. Follow these tips and you’ll be a rockstar in no time!
What is recruitment marketing?
Like most examples of corporate vocabulary, recruitment marketing sounds like some arcane practice reserved for a particular group of specialists, but the reality is it’s pretty simple. All recruitment marketing means, when you get down to it, is what you’re doing in your recruiting processes to promote your open jobs, communicate your company culture, and bring in good applicants. The reason it’s got “marketing” in it is because doing it effectively looks a lot like what marketers do to build your company’s brand and sell it to customers.
So does that mean you have to suddenly become a marketing expert to bring these ideas into the HR department? No, but it can definitely feel that way when you first start looking into recruitment marketing. That’s why, speaking as a marketing professional, I want to quickly take you through the five areas that can make the biggest impact for you without overwhelming the other aspects of recruiting and HR you need to manage. We’ll then dig into each of these areas more specifically in the rest of the series.
1. Candidate personas
On the marketing side, we have what we call buyer personas to identify the characteristics of the groups we’re trying to sell products or services to. Based on customer and market research, these personas capture what makes specific types of buyers tick – things like the challenges they face, their goals, their fears, etc. – and boil those down into a few composite profiles with names and even photos attached that help marketers focus when trying to reach those audiences.
So why mention them here? Well as it turns out, with a few adjustments, personas can be great for identifying your ideal recruiting candidates too. Appropriately, when you do this they get called candidate personas instead and you need to pull your information from different sources, but the purpose of the exercise remains the same. Here’s a good example from Indeed:
You’re trying to capture what’s special about the different types of employees you’ve hired in the past and use those insights to pick the right people in the future, as well as using these representations of your ideal candidates to understand their needs and get them to pick you too.
2. Social media
I know this seems like an obvious one for a marketing person to harp on, but hear me out. Lots of HR professionals already see social media as a great engagement tool to build company culture, and of course use platforms like LinkedIn often to post job openings (94 percent of them, to be exact). But the real magic happens when you make culture and job promotion come together.
By taking a few targeted actions around social media, you can highlight what’s unique about your organization and get your job postings visibility. Some quick wins include:
• Making sure you’re posting announcements on your LinkedIn profile in addition to just posting jobs
• Including links in your job posts that go straight back to your branded careers site (more on this later)
• Using Twitter to post a mix of snapshots into your culture, news around career events you’re attending, and of course timely links to openings.
Sounds a lot more dynamic than just an endless list of job descriptions, right?
3. Job boards
Similar to social media, job board listings are a chance to differentiate yourself from other organizations. This is extremely valuable in a world where 95 percent of candidates consider a company’s reputation before pursuing a career opportunity.
Make sure you stand out on job boards by finding examples of your reputation and culture to highlight. You can even repurpose some of these from the social media efforts you’re working on. And again, make sure you link back to your branded careers site when it makes sense rather than having applicants fill their information out on the job board. This helps you further establish your narrative as a company and build an appealing applicant experience.
4. Your careers site
I’ve talked it up in the past couple points already, but having a well-integrated, carefully branded careers site makes a huge difference for recruiting. Just like marketers build your company’s wider website to appeal to the buyer personas they’re trying to reach, you can create your own corner of that website that attracts the candidate personas you’ve identified.
Make sure when you build your careers site that it’s intuitive to navigate, blends seamlessly into your wider website, highlights key statements about your company’s mission, vision, culture, and benefits, and easily drives visitors into the application process. A strong HCM platform will see recruiting as the first step in the employee lifecycle and will offer you options for crafting a personalized careers site that funnels information from applicants right into your evaluation and interview processes. If it’s a fully unified system, they should also let you transfer applicant records into employee records when you decide to hire them to reduce the pain and repetition of onboarding.
Recruitment marketing doesn’t stop with job promotion. You’ve got to keep candidates interested once they’ve put their applications in and are moving through your evaluation and hiring process. Email is a great way to do that.
We use email all the time in marketing, and the biggest tip I can give is that it doesn’t work if you just tell people what you want them to do. You’ve got to tell a story or else your message will just fade into the background of a crowded inbox. Think about how you can make people want to work for you through the notification emails that are usually a standard part of any recruiting cycle. When you tell someone their application was submitted, can you put a quick, relevant anecdote from one of your current employees in there? How about a short video of a recent internal activity or event? It doesn’t take much to add a little personality even to automated messages, and it’ll pay off by keeping you in the minds of your applicants.
This is just the beginning
All the short tips highlighted in this article will get deeper attention as we continue with our recruitment marketing series, so keep an eye out for the next article! By the time we’re done, I’m sure you’ll feel confident in the next steps you can take with recruitment marketing and will see ways it can enrich your recruiting strategy as a whole.