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6 Steps to Building a Recruitment Marketing Strategy

“Over the past few years ‘recruitment marketing’ has been gaining steam—and for good reason. Today’s potential candidates employ the same tactics when searching for a new job as today’s consumers do when searching for new products.” —Robyn Showers, Brazen

Job seekers have changed the way they look for career opportunities. Just like consumers, they're always online scouting for the next big idea and newest content. You need to be online too with recruiting messages and job openings that engage them. Recruitment marketing helps you do this by giving you strategies to attract top candidates and build your talent brand.

In this two-part blog series, we’ll show you how to get started with recruitment marketing—using the same inbound and outbound techniques that marketers use to build sales pipeline, only you’ll use them to build your talent pipeline.

What Is Recruitment Marketing?

Recruitment marketing begins with understanding the difference between outbound and inbound.

  • Outbound marketing is when you directly reach out to potential candidates through tactics such as posting a job description, running a paid advertisement, or working with a third-party recruiter.
  • Inbound marketing is when you create content that draws candidates to your organization by aligning it with their interests and making it easily accessible online, especially on social media.

Both are needed for successful recruitment marketing. However, inbound is gaining in importance as job seekers, especially millennials, look to establish two-way dialogue and long-term relationships with potential employers in the digital world. (We’ll talk more about this in Step 6.)

6 Steps to Recruitment Marketing

Here are six steps to help you get started with your recruitment marketing strategy.

1. Establish your team and goals. Put together a cross-functional team and decide on your goals. For example, a tech company built a recruitment marketing team led by human resources that included people from marketing, sales, and engineering. The team’s main goal was to increase the number of qualified job seekers visiting its online sites, and boost the percentage of conversions from seeker to applicant and applicant to hire.

2. Identify your target candidates. Use data analytics to develop personas of your ideal candidates. The personas should include their career goals, background and experience, the information they seek and where they find it, and the people and resources that influence their decisions. See this persona example from Indeed. Some companies go one level deeper to include candidates’ needs and values.

3. Define your employee value proposition. Incorporate what you learn about your target personas into your employee value proposition, or EVP. Your EVP should succinctly communicate what’s unique about your company culture. In a few sentences, you need to articulate who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Everyone in your organization, including third-party recruiters, need to convey your EVP in a way that appeals to target candidates. Integrate your EVP into the content you create, and make sure it’s part of how you do business. If you don’t walk the talk, you’ll quickly be exposed on social media. Facebook’s Connecting the World is a great example of an EVP.

4. Create your inbound content.

Develop content that showcases your culture in action. Use a variety of author voices and media types, such as YouTube videos celebrating a successful product launch and blog posts on community service projects. Employees can even create their own video testimonials, like this one from The Shoe Company. Then, have team members share this content in their social networks.

Candidates that come from employee referral programs and social networks perform better and stay longer than those from other sources. Why? They’re self-selecting into your culture. Let these candidates experience your company firsthand by inviting them onsite to engage with you. If they like what they see, they’ll continue to refer others.

Another way to share content is to present how-to advice in professional communities that your target persona visits. These outlets give you the chance to tell your brand story and position your company as a thought leader. Also, include this story along with your job postings, explaining why these jobs are critical to your mission. Amicus, for instance, talks about how its developers make the world a better place by helping nonprofits raise money with digital tools.

When posting job descriptions and other content, always include links to related articles and a clear call-to-action. Influence & Co. boosted traffic to its career site by 200% with video links in its job descriptions that encouraged visitors to share them with their networks.

5. Make your content mobile-friendly and findable.

Make your content easily accessible on mobile devices, as that’s what millennials use to find opportunities. Leverage search engine optimization for keywords (70% of all job searches start on Google) and post content on social sites, including your blog, Twitter jobs handle, and LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Starbucks Jobs’ Twitter handle has 85,000 followers who read its latest content and careers news. 

As you’re putting information out there, you also need to improve your talent brand and reputation by continually refreshing your content and monitoring what is being said about you on sites like Glassdoor. Addressing negative comments is just as important as encouraging employees to write positive reviews.

6. Develop the right inbound-outbound mix. Leverage both inbound and outbound marketing to attract qualified candidates across multiple channels. A general rule of thumb is to make inbound recruiting at least 30% to 40% of your mix, although this percentage is often higher for startups.

Reap the Benefits

As Ben Yoskovitz, founder of Instigator Blog, says, “Successful recruiting is hard. The companies that do it well win.” To do recruitment marketing well, you need to devote people, time, and money—and track your progress to make real-time improvements. However, your investment is worth it because the benefits go beyond increasing the flow of qualified applicants. You enhance your company’s brand equity and increase sales as job seekers, and the people in their networks, become your customers.

Learn more about finding the best people and building your talent brand at HCM World. Register here. And stay tuned for part 2 of this blog. 

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