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How to develop a recruitment marketing strategy

Candidates today evaluate potential job openings and companies in a similar way to how consumers evaluate products. They do their research, read reviews, and evaluate fit, and weigh the potential return. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to have clear and deliberate employer messaging and outreach strategies that speak directly to your ideal candidate. This is where recruitment marketing comes into play. 

In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the concept of recruitment marketing. We’ll look at what it is, why it’s important, and share some common recruitment marketing strategies and tips for creating your own plan. 

Let’s get started!

What is recruitment marketing?

Recruitment marketing involves both communication and inbound marketing strategies. It’s the process of building and communicating your organization’s employer brand and value proposition, and presenting that in such a way that attracts targeted talent. 

At the same time, recruitment marketing strategies also incorporate tactics that systematically attract, nurture, and convert talented individuals using marketing strategies. These tactics use similar techniques to inbound marketing and aim to create a continuous stream of qualified applicants. 

Typically, recruitment marketing strategies are deployed at the earlier stages of the talent acquisition process. In particular, recruitment marketing handles:

  • Awareness: when candidates are first made aware of your company or job opening.
  • Consideration: when candidates research your company and read your employer branding content to establish interest and fit.
  • Interest: when candidates have conducted enough research to establish their interest in applying for a position or reaching out to the company. 

Therefore, the job of a recruitment marketer is to create strategies that build relationships with potential applicants by developing and publishing messaging and outreach tactics that appeal to targeted candidate profiles. 

Why is recruitment marketing important?

As mentioned earlier, candidates today find and evaluate potential employers in the same way that consumers find and evaluate products. Candidates, like shoppers, are more information savvy than ever. They use social media, review sites like Glassdoor, conduct online searches, and closely review your career site to get the information they need to make an informed decision. 

Owning the messaging and conversations that are being had about you online is critical. Taking a proactive approach to recruitment marketing is the most effective way to steer the conversation and ensure that you own your communication strategy. 

Recruitment marketing is also great for outreach, and for driving increased inbound applications. Marketing strategies are typically designed to increase traffic and lead, emphasizing quality and down funnel conversion. Applied to recruitment, these tactics help you generate more applicants, at a higher quality, and who are more likely to be successful new hires. 

The efficacy of recruitment marketing tactics will, of course, vary depending on your strategy. In general, you can expect the following benefit from a well-structured recruitment marketing plan: 

  • More applications. Recruitment marketing helps you drive more candidates to open positions by ramping up awareness, traffic, and conversions. 
  • Better candidate engagement. Targeted content and deliberate outreach strategies give candidates greater exposure to your employer branding, making them more aware (and hopefully interested in) your company and openings. 
  • Complete candidate experience. Provides a complete end-to-end candidate experience that educates and informs about the company, and provides consistent messaging in all interactions with the candidate. 
  • A competitive advantage. Well-executed recruitment marketing constantly puts your messaging in front of candidates first. They read about your company and interact with your content before your competitors. This puts you top of mind, lets you own the story, and makes you a well-known employer in targeted talent pools

Of course, recruitment marketing is only effective if you use the right tactics and execute them in the right way. In the next section, we’ll dig into some common recruitment marketing strategies and tactics. 

Common recruitment marketing strategies and tactics

Recruiting marketing takes many of the same tactics in conventional marketing and applies them to the hiring process and employer branding. 

Like in conventional marketing, owning your message and driving inbound requires a multi-pronged approach that leans on various tactics and strategies. 

Let’s dig into some of the most effective recruitment marketing ideas. 

1. Market research and persona development

Before you can do any recruitment marketing, you need to clearly identify who you want to speak to, how you want to speak to them, and what the competition is already saying. 

You likely already have a good idea of the types of candidates and employees you want to have. This is usually evident in the types of values and personalities that your team hopes to embed across your organization. 

Take the time as a group to come up with a handful of highly personalized candidate personas that you can use to guide your messaging and outreach. Look at other companies that are targeting the same candidates. What are they saying and promising? Find your company’s niche, and let that drive your messaging going forward. 

2. Content marketing

Content marketing is the most important priority for recruitment marketers and should receive the bulk of your attention. That’s because content marketing is the main driver behind what you’re saying to your candidates, and how your candidates find you. 

Some common content marketing tactics that apply to recruitment include:

  • Careers sites. This is your main platform for developing and hosting your employer brand content. It’s the mother ship of all your recruitment marketing activities and should incorporate as many best practices from web and content marketing as possible. 
  • SEO. Or search engine optimization. This is the main way candidates will find you when searching for relevant employers online. Your career site and associated content should be thoroughly optimized to the types of keywords that your target candidates are searching for. 
  • Video. This is one of the most effective ways to tell your brand story, showcase your office and work culture, and give candidates a bite-sized message about why they should consider your company. Videos can be created for various purposes and are the most effective way to deliver your employer branding message.
  • Testimonials. Authentic testimonials from actual employees go a long way to solidifying your employer brand. Interview your employees, and get them to tell candidates why they love working at your organization. 
  • FAQs. This is a valuable tool for ensuring that your recruiters aren’t receiving the same questions over and over again and that your candidates are getting the information they want. If you find that you receive a lot of the same types of questions, add them to an FAQ section. 

Of course, true recruitment marketers will always take a data-driven approach to content creation. This is where the next tactic comes into play.

3. Analytics

Understanding where you are currently, road mapping where you want to be, and tracking the results is critical to marketing success. The vast majority of your recruitment marketing strategies should be guided by data, and have identifiable success metrics. 

Some of the most common metrics that you can measure in recruitment marketing include:

  • Inbound web traffic and on-site engagement
  • Inbound applications
  • Funnel conversion (i.e., applicants to interviews to hires)
  • Engagement metrics (i.e. on-page engagement, social engagement)
  • Web property performance (i.e., page speed, and other technical audits)
  • Success metrics that tie to your three funnel stages:
    • Awareness: traffic, social media engagement 
    • Consideration: Job post visits, FAQ engagement
    • Interest: applications, connections with recruiters 

It’s important to pick and choose the metrics that relate most directly to your tactics and goals. This will help guide your priorities and decision making. 

4. Digital marketing 

Once you have your careers site (and content) created, and your success metrics established, the next important step is active outreach. This is where recruitment marketers can use digital marketing tactics to increase awareness and engagement and improve conversions. 

Some common digital marketing tactics that can be used in recruitment include:

  • Email marketing. This might involve sending mass emails to segmented candidate lists to inform them about company news or job openings. Email marketing uses targeted content to send relevant information to specific candidate profiles within your mailing list. 
  • Pay-per-click. This is a highly targeted, scalable tactic that gives you immediate access to potential candidates on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform that offers paid advertising. Pay-per-click allows you to micro-target candidates based on specific variables, and deliver trackable ads that can be optimized and refined over time. 
  • Lead nurturing. This tactic uses marketing automation and email marketing tools to send “drip” messages to candidates after a specific action has occurred. For example, suppose an applicant abandons a form three-quarters of the way through. In that case, you can send them automated reminder emails to complete the application, and re-emphasize why you’re a desirable employer.
  • Brand management. Employer brand management is a critical component of recruitment marketing and is an important consideration for all tactics mentioned thus far in the article. Remember, the goal of recruitment marketing is to establish your employer brand and value proposition and consistently deliver it.

It’s important, therefore, to assign an employer brand owner. This might be your company’s existing Brand Manager, your Head of Recruitment, or a combination of stakeholders. Whoever owns brand management is in charge of ensuring that all messaging stays in line with the core identity that the company is trying to convey. 

Tips for creating a recruitment marketing plan

Now that we’ve covered some common tactics let’s look at some tips to follow when creating a recruitment marketing plan. These tips assume that you will be the recruitment marketing team lead. 

  1. Establish your goals. Before you do anything, you need to establish what success looks like. Meet with key stakeholders at your company to create targets for the number of new hires you need for the quarter or year. These will tie into the organization’s overall strategic goals. From there, reverse engineer your recruitment marketing goals to establish the required number of applicants, traffic, engagement, and any other relevant metric to track. 
  2. Review your candidate personas. If you’ve already created candidate personas, review them to identify opportunities for targeting and segmentation. Clearly establish who your focus audience will be, and what types of messaging they likely want to see. 
  3. Create a recruitment marketing team and set your budget. Once you have your goals and target audience established, assemble your recruitment marketing team, and communicate the budget that they will be working with. 
  4. Create a plan of attack. Choose the recruitment marketing ideas you’ll use to reach your target personas, and create a plan to ensure you meet your goals and deadlines. This will likely include a content calendar that plans out the blog posts, videos, testimonials, social media posts, and so on that, you hope to generate that year. 
  5. Boost your career site. Dedicate time and resources to auditing and improving your career site. Analyze your benchmark data to find areas of improvement and assign content marketers and web developers to improve your career site’s messaging and user experience. 
  6. Test, test, test. Always review the success metrics for every recruitment marketing tactic you use, and test new ideas and possibilities. This will ensure that your tactics continuously improve and attain better results over time. 
  7. Review and refine your candidate experience. Be sure to track and audit your candidate experience as part of your recruitment marketing. Get feedback from employees and candidates, and review engagement and drop off metrics to identify potential red flags and improvements. 
  8. Use recruitment marketing software. Make your life easier by using the right recruitment marketing tools. For example, Recruitee offers a robust, easy-to-use career site builder that you can use to develop and refine your core marketing engine easily. 

Check out our podcast on: Building an effective recruitment marketing strategy

Gone are the days when you could rely on a recruitment ad alone to create qualified inbound applicants. Candidates today are savvy. They’re inundated with information and opportunities from across the Internet at all times. It’s your job as a recruitment marketer to break through that noise and deliver a message and experience that will make your organization hard to resist for job seekers. 

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