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Recruitment Marketing: Best Guide to Magnetism Talent

Organizations are locked in an intense battle to attract and retain top talent. Traditional recruitment methods are no longer sufficient, as candidates now approach their job searches with the same mindset as consumers evaluating products or services. To gain a competitive edge, companies must embrace recruitment marketing – the practice of leveraging marketing strategies to promote the value of working for an employer and captivate potential hires.

The Imperative Shift: Why Recruitment Marketing Matters

Recruitment marketing is a critical discipline that has become indispensable for employers vying for the best talent. In this era of unprecedented job mobility and evolving candidate expectations, the old transactional approach to recruitment simply doesn’t cut it. Candidates today conduct extensive online research, scrutinize employer reviews, and evaluate an organization’s mission, culture, and career opportunities before expressing interest.

The parallels between candidate and consumer behavior are undeniable, necessitating the adoption of marketing principles within the recruitment domain. Skills like branding, messaging, engagement, and measurement are now essential, coupled with leveraging channels such as email, web, social media, mobile, text, chat, video, and events. Tactics like SEO, PPC, personalization, retargeting, nurturing, and content creation are also critical components of an effective recruitment marketing strategy.

By authentically telling the company’s story as a great place to work, recruitment marketers can attract qualified talent and keep existing employees engaged in the organizational culture. Moreover, they can measure the effectiveness of their strategies and channels, demonstrating their value and impact on the business.

Distinguishing Recruitment Marketing from Traditional Recruiting

While recruitment marketing complements traditional recruiting efforts, it is distinct in its approach and objectives. Unlike recruiters and sourcers who are directly responsible for filling job openings, recruitment marketers focus on building and nurturing a pipeline of interested candidates for current and future roles.

Recruitment marketers collaborate with recruiters by crafting compelling employer brand narratives, generating quality applicants for open positions, and supporting sourcers by developing a pool of engaged candidates. Although not directly involved in hiring, recruitment marketers align their efforts with talent acquisition goals, creating and implementing marketing campaigns and events that support hiring plans.

To illustrate the difference, traditional recruiting attracts talent to specific job openings, while recruitment marketing attracts talent to the employer brand itself. Recruiters advertise individual job descriptions across job boards, whereas recruitment marketers develop a diverse array of employer brand content and market it through multiple recruiting channels to create awareness, build followings, capture leads, encourage employee referrals, and generate job applicants.

The Evolving Role of Recruitment Marketing

Initially focused on the talent attraction stage, the role of recruitment marketing has expanded to encompass the entire candidate experience and employee lifecycle. While its primary objective was to communicate the employer value proposition (EVP) and promote the company as an employer of choice, recruitment marketing now plays a crucial role in influencing talent to choose and remain with an organization.

Recruitment marketers leverage their expertise in communication and engagement to shape the candidate experience from initial awareness to onboarding and beyond. Their skills are invaluable in nurturing relationships with potential hires, ensuring a positive and personalized journey that resonates with the modern workforce.

Another key distinction lies in the tools utilized by recruitment marketers. While recruiters typically rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage the hiring process once a candidate has applied, recruitment marketers increasingly employ dedicated recruitment marketing platforms. These platforms facilitate marketing the company to potential candidates, automating nurture campaigns, and tracking the effectiveness of various strategies.

A Dual-Faceted Discipline: Recruitment Marketing as Practice and Profession

Recruitment marketing is a multifaceted discipline that serves as both a core competency for recruiters and a specialized profession in its own right.

As a practice, recruitment marketing skills are essential for every recruiter. This includes writing keyword-rich job descriptions that attract better-fit applicants, crafting compelling email subject lines to increase open rates, nurturing relationships with silver medalists until the right opportunity arises, and connecting with candidates through social media.

As a profession, recruitment marketers are dedicated specialists focusing on brand awareness, reputation management, social engagement, email, text and chat communication, event management, and lead generation. They may hold titles such as Recruitment Marketer, Employer Branding Specialist, Talent Marketing Manager, Candidate Experience Coordinator, or Recruiting Operations Manager.

The responsibilities of a recruitment marketer can vary based on the organization but may include:

  • Creating and managing the employer brand
  • Building brand awareness and engagement
  • Maintaining the careers website and candidate experience
  • Managing the company’s online reputation
  • Defining target candidate personas and segmentation
  • Developing strategies for campus, veteran, and diversity recruiting
  • Creating and curating content, including employee stories
  • Determining optimal recruitment channels and advertising spend
  • Driving qualified applicants to open job postings
  • Building and nurturing talent communities and pipelines
  • Generating and converting leads into applicants
  • Managing recruiting events and employee ambassador programs
  • Tracking, measuring, and reporting on campaign results
  • Overseeing recruitment marketing operations and technology
  • Managing vendor and agency contracts

With the growing recognition of recruitment marketing as a specialized field, practitioners with dedicated careers in this domain command higher salaries compared to their peers in talent acquisition and human resources – up to 40% more at the manager level and 24% more at the director and vice president levels.

The Path to Becoming a Recruitment Marketing Professional

The path to becoming a recruitment marketer is diverse, with professionals transitioning from various backgrounds. According to industry surveys, approximately 24% of recruitment marketers come from traditional recruiting roles, 25% from marketing backgrounds, and 27% have been working in recruitment marketing for several years, often transitioning from recruiting roles.

As recruitment marketing strategy becomes more central to talent acquisition, there is an increasing demand for marketers to transition into this specialized field, addressing the skills gap among recruiters in marketing competencies.

For companies hiring dedicated recruitment marketers, the role often starts with a single individual. Even large enterprises with dedicated teams currently have relatively small recruitment marketing teams, underscoring the importance of recruiters developing marketing skills to find and engage candidates effectively.

In some organizations, the marketing department provides talent acquisition with recruitment marketing support, such as branding, design, careers page management, social media management, and content creation. Other companies invest in the services of specialized recruitment marketing agencies.

Regardless of the approach, implementing effective offline and online recruitment marketing strategies is crucial for finding, attracting, and retaining talent in today’s competitive job market. As candidates become more digital, mobile, and socially savvy in their job searches and employer evaluations, the discipline of recruitment marketing will continue to evolve and become as sophisticated as B2B and B2C marketing.

Crafting a Winning Recruitment Marketing Strategy: Key Considerations

Developing a successful recruitment marketing strategy requires careful consideration of several key factors. Here are some essential steps to follow:

1. Define Clear Goals and Objectives

Before implementing recruitment marketing approaches, it is crucial to establish clear and measurable goals that align with your overall recruitment strategy. Without this crucial step, your efforts may lack focus and fail to deliver the desired impact.

Common goals for recruitment marketing initiatives include:

  • Creating a compelling employer brand that attracts high-quality talent
  • Nurturing candidates by automating recruitment workflows and candidate communications
  • Building rich talent pipelines in targeted talent segments
  • Driving internal mobility by increasing the percentage of internal hires
  • Engaging alumni (former employees) for future hiring opportunities
  • Supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives
  • Reducing time-to-present to hiring managers for hard-to-fill roles
  • Decreasing reliance on recruitment agencies and associated costs

Once you have outlined these goals, develop specific recruitment marketing tactics and metrics to demonstrate your progress toward achieving them. For example, if your goal is to find more candidates for hard-to-fill roles in IT, your recruitment marketing objective may be to add 100+ leads to your talent pipelines in that segment.

2. Identify Critical Talent Segments and Personas

To effectively allocate your resources and efforts, it is essential to identify the talent segments and positions that are most critical to your organization’s success, both currently and in the future.

Collaborate with key stakeholders, such as hiring managers and business leaders, to pinpoint the roles and skill sets that will drive your company’s growth and competitiveness. Large organizations may have numerous talent segments across various countries and regions, making it crucial to prioritize the most critical areas.

Once you have identified these key talent segments, develop detailed candidate personas that capture the unique needs, goals, and motivators of each group. These personas will inform your content strategy, ensuring that your messaging resonates with the specific pain points and aspirations of your target audiences.

3. Establish a Cross-Functional Working Group

Successful recruitment marketing initiatives require cross-functional collaboration and buy-in from various stakeholders within the organization. Establish a working group that brings together representatives from talent acquisition, marketing, communications, and relevant business units.

This cross-functional team will assess your organization’s current efforts to attract, engage, and retain key talent segments. They will also identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, building a compelling business case to secure executive support, resources, and investment for developing a comprehensive recruitment marketing strategy.

4. Conduct Market Research

Before implementing any recruitment marketing tactics, it is essential to conduct thorough market research to gain insights into your target talent segments. This research will help you understand your audience’s needs, motivations, and preferences, enabling you to develop an informed and effective approach.

While commissioning professional market research can be beneficial, there are cost-effective alternatives for organizations with limited budgets. Leveraging your existing workforce can provide valuable insights – conduct surveys, focus groups, or human-centered design sessions with employees who represent your target talent segments. Start with your most critical segments and gradually expand your research as you refine your processes and learn from your initial efforts.

5. Shift from Reactive to Proactive Recruitment with Automation

Successful recruitment marketing relies on candidate personalization, drip-fed content, high-touch communication, and sophisticated analytics to track what’s working and identify areas for improvement. Achieving this level of personalization and engagement through manual processes alone is nearly impossible and would consume countless hours of recruiter time.

Recruitment marketing automation is the key to shifting from reactive to proactive recruitment. By automating candidate communication, nurturing campaigns, and content curation, recruiters can focus their time and energy on value-added, strategic activities rather than administrative tasks.

Implementing an agile candidate relationship management (CRM) platform empowers your talent acquisition team to nurture candidates effectively while addressing other business-critical tasks. For example, with automated email campaigns, recruiters can keep highly qualified silver medalists engaged and interested in your company while focusing on filling current open positions.

The Power of Segmentation: Creating Tailored Content Experiences

One of the most effective strategies in recruitment marketing is creating tailored content experiences for each target talent segment. A one-size-fits-all approach is often ineffective, as it fails to address the unique needs, pain points, and motivators of different candidate personas.

Refer back to the talent segments and personas you identified earlier in the process. Each persona will have distinct goals, challenges, and drivers that should be reflected in the content you create for them. Your messaging should showcase your employer’s value proposition in a way that resonates with their specific perspectives and provides the information they need to progress through the candidate journey.

Authenticity is paramount in creating compelling content that resonates with modern candidates. Post-pandemic, employees and job seekers have become more skeptical of corporate messaging around topics like work-life balance, flexibility, and benefits. Research shows that 61% of candidates are more distrustful of what employers say about themselves compared to pre-pandemic times.

Leading employers are harnessing employee-generated content (EGC) to promote authenticity and provide job seekers with an insider’s view of what it’s truly like to work at their company. EGC, such as testimonials, videos, and day-in-the-life insights, is 200% more effective at engaging job seekers than regular content. This is because candidates want to hear from real people, not corporate messaging, about the everyday realities of working at a company.

To leverage EGC effectively, consider building a team of employee ambassadors and empowering them with tools to easily share videos, insights, and testimonials. This approach enables talent teams to create and share authentic content at scale with minimal effort.

Choosing the Right Channels: Go Where the Talent Is

Once you have created tailored, authentic content for your target talent segments, the next step is to deliver that content through the channels where those candidates are most active and engaged.

Gather insights into the social media platforms, professional networks, and online communities where your target segments spend their time. Which channels are they likely to use for social sharing and professional networking? Understanding these preferences will form the foundation of a successful long-term employer brand strategy.

A well-executed employer brand strategy can yield amazing benefits and cost savings, as a great employer brand attracts more of the right people, faster. However, even the best content and advertising budget will fail to deliver the desired return on investment (ROI) if it is not distributed through the channels frequented by your target audience.

Proactive Attraction: Engaging Passive Candidates

While actively job-seeking candidates are certainly a target audience for recruitment marketing efforts, it is equally important to engage with passive candidates – those who are not actively looking for new opportunities but may be open to the right role if it presents itself. According to research, approximately 75% of professionals fall into this category of passive candidates.

Transitioning from reactive recruitment to proactive attraction requires adopting a marketing mindset to get in front of passive talent, tap them on the shoulder, and entice them to consider working for your organization.

“A good recruitment marketing strategy establishes and nurtures relationships with talent even before they’re looking for their next role,” explains employer brand coach Margie Kwan. “You’re building awareness and trust in your brand, and this is the first step to get on the radar of passive talent.”

Candidates make career decisions in the same way they make other purchasing decisions – they are eager to educate themselves about your organization, its products, services, and roles to determine if you’re a good fit. By increasing awareness of your company as an employer of choice, you widen the top of the candidate funnel, allowing a greater flow of talent through each hiring stage and ultimately increasing the number of qualified and suitable candidates at the bottom of the funnel.

Nurturing the Candidate Journey: Targeting at Every Stage

Your ideal candidate is likely currently employed and not actively considering a career move. However, their circumstances and mindset can shift throughout the year. Perhaps by mid-year, they start feeling restless or less secure in their current role due to organizational changes. Toward the end of the year, they may begin actively exploring new job opportunities and sign up for job alerts.

If you haven’t maintained regular touchpoints with this candidate throughout their journey, you’re likely to miss out on this talent once again. The key is to engage with them at all stages of the consideration cycle, ensuring that when they are open to a move, you’re their preferred employer – or at least an option they will strongly consider.

From a content perspective, serving up a job-specific ad or post on social media at the beginning of the year has a very low chance of capturing this ideal candidate’s attention. However, if you share an article about the exciting advancements your company is making in a relevant industry trend or technology (e.g., AI, sustainability, or remote work), there is a much higher likelihood that they will click and engage with your content.

To be most effective, you need to be present in the right place, at the right time, with the right message at each stage of the candidate funnel. For example, if you want to build out your approach for the ‘attraction/marketing’ stages, you can create segment-based go-to-market plans that move key audiences along the consideration journey and down the funnel.

Case Study: Sportsbet’s ‘The Draft’ Recruitment Marketing Campaign

Sportsbet, a leading online sports betting company, leveraged PageUp Recruitment Marketing to build an engaging, on-brand careers site. By doing so, they significantly reduced their reliance on recruitment agencies and job boards for sourcing talent.

“Since then, we have reduced our time to fill by an average of 15 days across the business. We’ve also dramatically reduced our utilization of agencies to 12%,” says Sportsbet Head of Talent, Simone Strachan.

A standout recruitment marketing campaign called ‘The Draft’ resulted in 550 applications and 5 hires for tech, data engineering, and analyst roles – all achieved through Sportsbet’s new career site, without posting a single ad on job boards or relying on agencies.

To attract the right applicants, Sportsbet creates dedicated landing pages for each target talent segment. Software engineers are served content highlighting Sportsbet’s modern tech stack and exciting projects in development, while data scientists see thought leadership content and testimonials from passionate team members.

Sportsbet uses these landing pages to attract their target audience to the careers site, capturing their details with custom calls to action (CTAs) like “Join our talent community.” Upon receiving these candidate details, Strachan can place them in a talent pool and nurture them with relevant content until a suitable role arises.

The Power of Automation: Recruitment Marketing Technology

While the strategies discussed above provide a personalized and engaging candidate experience, implementing them manually would require a tremendous amount of effort. This is where recruitment marketing technology plays a pivotal role, automating candidate communication, candidate care, content curation, and performance tracking, while freeing up recruiters to focus on strategic decision-making.

The key to successful recruitment marketing lies in data. Recruitment marketing technology leverages this data to help you measure and maximize your recruitment marketing ROI. By analyzing the analytics behind each of your marketing activities, you Can provide insights into what’s working and what’s not, enabling you to understand candidate behaviors and inform where you should invest your time and money. Without these insights, it becomes challenging to establish clear candidate marketing objectives, leading to a scattered approach with activities that may not benefit your attraction efforts.

Recruitment marketing technology can deliver these insights through analytics, then help you take action to address them. For example, PageUp Recruitment Marketing allows HR teams to manage the content on their careers site pages without relying on IT. Using AI and cookies, PageUp Recruitment Marketing learns what content each candidate visiting your careers site is interested in and serves up tailored content to create a personalized visitor experience.

Technology also helps resource-strapped talent teams create compelling content on a budget. Many recruiters struggle with knowing where to begin when tasked with creating engaging, authentic content that speaks to multiple talent audiences. The solution? Employee-generated content (EGC) tools.

EGC is content created by employees about your culture, employer brand, benefits, and more. It can include live chat Q&As, video testimonials, blogs, social posts, photos, and more. First, create a team of employee ambassadors. Then, provide them with EGC tools like PageUp Employee Connections to easily connect with job seekers via live chat, Q&As, videos, and testimonials.

By leveraging technology to automate and streamline recruitment marketing efforts, talent teams can focus on strategic decision-making, content creation, and candidate engagement, while ensuring a consistent and personalized experience for every candidate.

Measuring Success: Key Recruitment Marketing Metrics

Reporting and tracking the right data and metrics is crucial for evaluating the success of your recruitment marketing initiatives. While the array of available metrics can be overwhelming, the key is to keep it simple and align your measurements with your overall recruitment strategy and the challenges you’re aiming to solve.

Start by clarifying your talent attraction and retention challenges, and then define your marketing goals accordingly. Depending on your objectives, you’ll need to identify how your recruitment marketing activities (content, emails, social media, ads, events) will address these challenges. For example, do you want to drive passive audiences to your careers website to increase consideration of your company as an employer? Or perhaps you want to build awareness of your organization within a particular talent segment.

Once you have established your goals, determine the metrics you need to track. There are many different metrics to choose from, so it’s essential to select an approach that will allow for meaningful reporting. Ensure your goals are specific and measurable, and always establish a baseline figure before you begin.

Recruitment Funnel Conversion Metrics:

  • Conversion of a lead into signing up for alerts, joining a talent network, or applying for a job
  • Hired-to-website visitor ratio
  • Hired-to-visitor ratio by content type (tracking the number of visitors that convert to hires from blogs, video content, etc.)
  • Interaction score – the number of touchpoints and types of content applicants interact with per hire (by talent segment, geography, gender)

Engagement Metrics:

  • Number of visitors that register for your talent community
  • Diversity split – such as the ratio of male versus female visitors at each level of the recruitment marketing funnel
  • Candidate experience and reach – tracked by capturing visitor behavior such as keyword searches, time spent on page, type of content viewed, email open ratios, and returning visitors

Cost & Recruitment Efficiencies:

  • Sourcing attribution efficiency: Determine which channels are effective, which channels applicants first heard about you from, and the sources they used to return
  • Higher return from your sourcing dollar
  • Speed to present candidates to hiring managers
  • Time to hire
  • Reduction in recruitment agency spend

You don’t need to track all these metrics simultaneously – focus on the ones that can demonstrate to the business how your team is attracting the best talent in the most cost-effective manner.

Use this information to monitor and tweak your marketing efforts, adjusting as necessary until you achieve the desired results.

Embracing the Future: Recruitment Marketing as a Competitive Advantage

Recruitment marketing is rapidly becoming a must-have for hiring teams that want to gain a competitive advantage in today’s talent landscape. With candidate expectations higher than ever, organizations that want to capture the best talent need to put their best foot forward with tailored content, personalized communications, and a seamless journey from application to onboarding and beyond.

By leveraging the power of recruitment marketing strategies, organizations can effectively expand their talent pools, position themselves as employers of choice, and future-proof their workforce. As the discipline continues to evolve, embracing recruitment marketing will become increasingly crucial for companies seeking to attract, engage, and retain top talent in an ever-changing and competitive job market.

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