Creating a Recruitment Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps
When you think of marketing, you probably think of your product, your brand, and your carefully crafted messaging strategy aimed at attracting the right customers or clients. After all, if you don't market your company, no one is going to buy, no matter how excellent your offer is.
The importance of marketing to the people who buy from you goes without saying. But have you ever considered that marketing to your potential employees is just as important? Because the reality is that if you're not marketing yourself as an employer to potential job candidates, you're not going to be able to attract top talent - no matter how exceptional your benefits and company culture are.
What Is Recruitment Marketing?
Recruitment marketing is the process of marketing your company to potential candidates. Just like a B2C or B2B marketing campaign, your goal is to shape the way that potential candidates think of you. The difference is that you’re interested in shaping how they view you as an employer, not as a service provider. You want to get them to associate your company name with the best in your industry, and with being a superb place to work.
And all of this happens long before the candidate applies, before you post a job, and even before you know you need to fill a position. You wouldn’t start getting the word out about a product the day it launches; nor should you spread the word about an open position the day you post it. Because, as we’ll see in the next section, by the time you need to fill a position, it’s much too late to market yourself as an employer.
Why Recruitment Marketing Matters
It’s easy to neglect recruitment marketing. After all, recruitment is something that most companies don’t think about until they have an urgent need to fill an open position. And once a position does open, you find yourself scrambling to find the top candidates, only to see them snatched up by other companies who have taken a more active approach to recruitment marketing.
The HR landscape has changed with the rise of social media, career sites, and other instant communications technologies, and gone are the days when offering just any job was enough. Candidates have more options now than ever, particularly if they are experts in their fields. They can afford to be picky, and it’s up to you to show them that they should pick you.
Above all, you must be proactive. You need to constantly be recruiting, even when you don’t have open positions. If you can shift your recruitment strategy to this mindset, you’ll be way ahead of the competition when it comes to getting the best people to work for you.
7 Steps to Creating a Recruitment Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand the importance of recruitment marketing, let’s address the seven steps you can take to start practicing recruitment marketing at your company.
1. Create Your Employer Value Proposition
What can you offer prospective employees that no other employer can? Where do you excel? These are the questions you need to answer before you begin any form of recruitment marketing. Just as in a traditional marketing campaign, if you’re not clear about your unique value proposition, all other efforts will be useless.
Work with your current employees to develop your value proposition Send them a survey (or meet with some of them individually) to solicit their input on what sets your company apart as an employer. What prompted them to work for you instead of the competition? Why have they remained at your company? Answers to these questions are invaluable in figuring out how you’ll position yourself to prospective talent.
2. Develop Your Employer Brand
What words do you want prospective candidates to associate with your company? How do you want them to perceive you as an employer? The answers to these questions will form the foundation of your employer brand. For instance, you may want people to think of your company as “more fun to work at than anyone else” or “having the highest employee retention in your industry”.
Once you’ve gone through the above employer branding exercise, you need to weave your employer brand into everything that your company does. You need to make sure your employer brand comes across in all of your recruitment marketing, job postings, conversations with candidates, interviews, and offers of employment.
3. Be Present Where Your Candidates Are Present
You need to have a strong presence both online and offline in order to keep your company foremost in the minds of potential candidates.
Regardless of your industry or recruitment goals, your firm should maintain a presence on:
LinkedIn - More and more companies are using LinkedIn to let candidates apply for jobs. But you can also use it as part of your recruitment marketing. Set up a page for your company, and update it regularly with your thoughts on the happenings in your industry, updates about your company, and relevant articles that align with your employer brand.
Other Social Media Platforms - LinkedIn is the most obvious social media choice for recruitment marketing, but you shouldn’t neglect other platforms where your candidates are present. Indeed, there’s high value in using more casual social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to show the fun, casual side of your company. Post pictures of daily happenings, engage with other brands and potential recruits, and share content from your blog.
Your Company Blog - Speaking of blog content, you should have a company blog as part of your recruitment marketing strategy. But merely maintaining a blog is not enough: you need to implement a unified content marketing strategy. All the top employers have blogs that don’t just talk about the business of their companies--they showcase life at their companies, and they present the philosophy behind how they hire and work. You should do the same, even if it means having to hire someone to work on it full-time.
Industry Events - Having an online presence is essential, but don’t neglect the value of face time with prospective recruits. Personalizing the image you project online is powerful for potential candidates. Be present at events related to your industry, but also show up to job fairs at universities. Conduct informational interviews for attendees who want to learn more. Even if the people you’re talking to are still in school, being there early on will ensure your company is on their minds down the road when they’re looking to make their next career move.
4. Maintain and Nurture Candidate Relationships
It’s not enough to get out and talk with prospective candidates. You have to turn those initial contacts into relationships, which you maintain over the course of months or even years, depending on candidate experience and skill level.
This relationship maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult or elaborate. Just send a quick message on LinkedIn every so often, or even a Tweet. You’re just trying to maintain the connection, so that when the time comes for top talent to take the next step in their career, they think of you first, or when you reach out to them, they gladly accept the interview.
To make things easier, you can use candidate relationship management software such as iCIMS Connect or TalentLyft Engage. These apps are similar to CRMs, but are built to help recruiters manage relationships with candidates.
5. Involve Your Current Employees
The people who already work for you can be your strongest recruiters, since prospective candidates are far more likely to believe what they say about your company than what you or any of your recruitment team say.
How do you get your employees to recruit for you? First and foremost, you should create an employee experience so excellent that your employees can’t stop talking about it. Create a company that people love to work for, and they will spread the word naturally.
That being said, you can also experiment with paid employee referral incentives. The structure of this will depend on your company and recruitment needs, but the general model is that you pay a bonus to anyone that refers a candidate you end up successfully hiring.
6. Build Your Talent Pipeline
Recruiting is a process, and the best way to envision that process is through a pipeline. In this pipeline, you’ll have the following segments:
Let’s look at each of these segments in more detail.
These are the people that you’d like to recruit now or sometime in the future. They know about you, but they could learn more. All hiring starts with these people, so you should focus much of your recruitment marketing efforts on turning these prospective, qualified candidates into interested candidates.
These people have gone from just being aware of your company to being interested in working for you. The specific way in which they would work for you is still unclear, and they’re certainly still shopping around with other companies. But having a solid pool of interested candidates is essential for when you do have to hire, making this a crucial phase in the recruiting process.
These are the ones who have taken the plunge and applied for an open position at your company. You don’t need to focus as much explicit recruitment marketing on these people, but you should still be sure that you maintain a consistent employer brand in your interactions with them, and that everything you’ve promised comes across in your interviews.
People who have made it this far have passed all your interviews and screening, and you’ve made them an offer. This is a key moment in the hiring process, and you need to make sure that you keep up your recruitment marketing even at this point, as you must convince them that they should go with your company over others.
It might seem strange to include people you’ve hired in a discussion of recruitment marketing, but the fact is that the recruitment pipeline isn’t a static, one-directional process. It’s ultimately cyclical, since so much key recruitment happens internally. Indeed, a key part of maintaining a talent pipeline is succession planning and figuring out how you can fill more advanced management and C-suite positions with the people that already work for you.
7. Take an Analytical Approach
All of modern marketing is data-driven, and recruitment marketing is no exception. All the advice in this article won’t matter if you aren’t tracking what is and isn’t working. You need to gather data on how prospective candidates are learning about you, how many people you have in each phase of your talent pipeline, and which of your recruitment marketing activities has the highest ROI.
And you need to constantly experiment. Run tests on new recruitment marketing techniques, and eliminate or adjust the activities that aren’t getting results. Question all your assumptions, and maintain an open mind throughout the process.
Boost Your Internal Recruitment Efforts
Much of this article has focused on recruiting external talent acquisition, something that remains a key part of hiring for companies across industries. But it’s a mistake to neglect the other side of recruiting: internal candidates. People who have chosen to work for you can make some of your best recruits for more higher positions, especially because they have already demonstrated a commitment to your organization and understand the way you do things.
To help you match open positions with the best internal candidates, you can use the product we’ve created at Twine Labs. We’ve developed an internal company network that will make internal recruiting a breeze. Set up a demo call today to learn more.