Recruitment marketing refers to the strategies and tactics an organization uses to find, attract, engage and nurture talent before they apply for a job, also called the pre-applicant phase of talent acquisition. In simple terms, recruitment marketing is the practice of promoting the value of working for an employer in order to recruit talent. It is analogous in many ways to corporate marketing, and is extremely similar to employer branding except relates to trackable initiatives that drive awareness and conversion of applicants vs someone's impression of working at a company. Of course others see employer branding as a subset of recruitment marketing, in addition to extending the reach and exposure of career opportunities, building and nurturing candidate relationships through talent communities, and all management of messaging and advertising of talent acquisition efforts.
The focus involves initiating relationships with candidates prior to talent needs and beyond job openings by engaging them through the many touch points of the modern job search. The goal of a recruitment marketing strategy is to increase the number of qualified candidates in an organization's talent pipeline. This strategy can be achieved through the use of recruitment marketing software. The recruiting stack can be a single solution[buzzword] or a collection of tools and processes that meet the needs of a given employer's recruiting goals. This stack typically includes a modern ATS (iCIMS, Lever, Workable, GreenHouse, etc), a dedicated recruitment marketing platform (Phenom People, Talemetry, Symphony Talent, TMP Talentbrew, Smashfly, Avature, NextWave Hire, ViziRecruiter), and a host of point solutions[buzzword] to handle anything from social media (Buffer, Hootsuite) to ad buying (typically handled through traditional demand side platforms or marketing agencies).
Bersin by Deloitte defines a talent pipeline as an organization's ongoing need to have a pool of talent that is readily available to fill positions at all levels of management (as well as other key positions) as the company grows. In contrast, traditional recruitment is focused on the immediate need of filling a specific job requisition.
A recruitment marketing strategy leverages the principles of inbound marketing and integrates employer value proposition messaging across the employer brand, online job advertising (through job boards and aggregators like Indeed, Resume-Library SimplyHired, CareerBuilder, Monster, LinkedIn and more), SEO, mobile recruiting, landing pages, content marketing, career sites, social media marketing, employee referrals and email marketing to reach and engage potential candidates to opt into an employer's talent network. Once in the CRM (candidate relationship management), the focus is building relationships and nurturing candidates through personalized content, alerts and calls-to-action to send them relevant information, as well as job openings.
By tracking, measuring and analyzing the effectiveness of recruiting efforts, recruitment marketing is turning talent acquisition into a data-driven function that consistently and predictably drives more qualified leads into the hiring funnel. Using an integrated recruiting stack solution[buzzword] fueled by business intelligence and data science, companies can now report on the entire hiring process including the effectiveness of their recruitment marketing strategy and the value of their talent pipeline.
Evolution of recruiting
Business in all facets has largely turned "inbound" in the last decade—customers are finding their own paths to services, products and companies versus companies using ads to disruptively get in front of potential customers. Inbound marketing has been the most successful marketing method for doing business in recent years because companies are creating value and interest for prospective customers, turning them into loyal and long-term advocates. HubSpot notes that inbound marketers who measure ROI are more than 12 times more likely to be generating a greater year-over-year return.
Marketing teams have thus transformed and expanded, adding new positions like content strategist and digital analyst, and expertise in social media, SEO and demand generation. The modern marketing team has key roles with specific knowledge in efforts that will attract more interested leads through broader channels, and more importantly, will nurture them into qualified prospects to deliver to sales.
To create differentiation and improve candidate engagement, recruiting is using marketing tactics with similar functions and strategies. While there has always been an element of marketing in a good recruiting process, historically it has never been the core, and departments have been siloed between marketing and HR. Now, however, the talent acquisition industry is seeing marketing and recruiting becoming intertwined, with recruitment marketing emerging both as a distinct discipline and a core competency affecting every part of the talent acquisition cycle. Increasingly, recruitment marketing is becoming not only a practice but also a profession, with new job titles such as recruitment marketing specialist, social recruiting strategist and talent brand manager.
Where the value comes from
Typically recruitment marketing drives value in two major ways. First is through driving awareness. This can be through traditional job advertisements, that are more broadly distributed through paid placement on websites like Indeed. This can also be done through advertising strategies that are both paid and organic, but more natural to the world of marketing such as social media advertising, SEO focused content, and even webinars. More awareness leads to more candidates and further growth of a given company's talent pipeline.
The second main source of value is from increasing the rate at which job seekers apply for jobs, or conversion rates. For example, if 5% of your career site visitors currently apply for a job, and you increase that number to 10% by having more compelling content on your careers site, then your recruitment marketing efforts have resulted in double the amount of applicants you would have otherwise gotten.
The end results of these efforts should always be a decrease in time to fill, as well as cost per hire.
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