What is recruitment marketing? A beginner’s guide to standing out

Patrice Burnside

Patrice Burnside, global digital marketing manager, goes donuts about effective recruitment marketing.

What is recruitment marketing?

In the recruiter-candidate context, recruitment marketing refers to the strategic promotion of career opportunities.

Of course, recruitment marketing can also take place in a business-to-business environment.

In that context, it pertains to the strategies undertaken by a recruitment company to attract new clients.

For now, I’ll focus on how savvy recruitment marketing helps build relationships between recruiters and candidates in the jobs market.

You may be new to this topic, or perhaps reasonably experienced at engaging candidates. Whatever the case, we’re all on a continuous journey of learning and refining what cuts through the noise.

Plus, there’s a very good chance I’ll be using Krispy Kreme as an instructional anecdote about email writing!

Let’s kick off.

 

Recruitment marketing fundamentals: the jobs board

recruitment marketing

Have you ever browsed the classifieds in search of jobs? It used to be a popular method, but most recruitment marketing is now online.

Remember how you found your first job? Maybe you browsed the classified ads of your local newspaper. Of course, you may be Gen Z or even Gen Alpha, and have yet to come across a newspaper! If that’s the case, please use your imagination for this scenario.

That 2-inch column with a local number, which led to your first job cutting grass on Saturdays? It was recruitment marketing.

These days, it’s not very often that we pick up a local publication and find reams of jobs advertised. Most advertising is online.

Active candidates post CVs on job boards. Recruiters also post job adverts on job boards/sites/portals. Sometimes the two parties meet, converse, and fall happily in love (on a professional level, of course). A contract is signed, with the recruiter facilitating on behalf of the client/future employer.

Even when sparks aren’t immediately flying, job portals serve to help employers build a long-term talent pool. This helps fuel an organisation’s workforce planning strategy.

Reputation management and employer transparency

Job sites such as Glassdoor also contain a wealth of insights about employers. Some of it is supplied by the company. Some of it, in the form of employer reviews, comes from employees, or candidates who’ve interviewed but not joined the company.

For a marketer (in this case, you), a mix of employer brand reviews can pose its own recruitment challenge.

Pay attention to what’s being said. Engage with the client about how to best respond to those reviews. Ideally, this should include an internal review of feedback and actions where appropriate. A company representative should then respond publicly to the concerns highlighted within employer brand reviews.

Reputation management falls under the recruitment marketing remit. But, when speaking with candidates, be as honest and transparent as possible. It doesn’t serve anyone to put a candidate into a role, and for the role or environment to turn out significantly different from what was described. The fresh employee may soon reconsider, and you may find yourself working on the role again.

Job sites have become fundamental sources of marketing engagement. And there are quite a few job boards to consider. One of our partners is Indeed, which we use to advertise vacancies on behalf of our clients.

Careers-focused sites comprise a fundamental component of the recruiter’s marketing toolkit. But they are only part. I’ll next touch upon social selling, a long-tail strategy for effective recruitment marketing.

 

Online, attention is the global currency of choice

Job sites are in abundance ⁠— as are social media communities designed to foster the growth of professional communities.

Many regions have their local preferences. While LinkedIn is a formidable recruitment platform, the site faces competition from the likes of XING in the German-speaking world, and Viadeo among French speakers.

As a global recruiter, you must identify the communities that are popular with your target candidate market. Be ready to meet them in their court.

A word of caution, however.

Attention is the global currency of choice. It is hard to get, and even harder to keep.

So, remember: Before you even think about selling or promoting, spend some time giving. Contribute to topical discussions. Show interest in other people. Engage, engage, and engage. And, of course, listen.

Don’t skip past these points.

After all, those actions help build relationships of trust. And networks, which are the lifeblood of recruitment, are based on trust, communication, and the exchange of value.

 

Glaze your comms with a personal approach

recruitment marketing

Sprinkle your comms with personality. It can help distinguish your content.

The humble email offers another key marketing tool.

I once received a rather peculiar work-related email. A bit of an eyebrow-raiser, the subject line referenced my small-time victory in a Krispy Kreme donut competition.

Uh, that was kind of weird, wasn’t it? Kind of creepy, maybe? It was both, but it was also effective.

Here’s why. We don’t usually receive personal messages at work. Except, everything else about this communication was actually pretty professional. The key difference between this sales message, and every other one sitting in junk, was that the sender had researched me on Twitter, and parlayed this information to spiritedly capture my attention.

Inside the mail, his words delighted in capturing my attention via the subject line. He then went on to ask why we hadn’t yet talked about the wonderful sales tool he was promoting.

Did it work? Well, I opened the mail. So on that level, yes, I suppose it did. Did it hit the mark? Well… you decide!

Want to capture people’s attention? Put the focus on them

Let’s connect that anecdote with how you create personal candidate communications in recruitment marketing.

Are you brave enough to write to your ideal candidate, and initiate a conversation about what they’ve recently binge-watched on Netflix, if that’s what fills their social space?

The choice is yours, but the truth is… it’s really hard to get someone’s attention. The best recruitment communications are typically All. About. The Candidate.

Talent sourcers search for exceptional passive candidates. They are often tasked with finding niche and/or highly competitive skill sets. So, imagine you’ve found that unicorn of a profile. What do you say?

Increase your chance of engagement by ensuring your message is:

  • Relevant: offering an upwards move, or at least a strong, enticing match
  • Personal: voiced with authenticity to help establish rapport and build trust
  • Brief, but compelling: always giving the recipient enough info to want more

 

Onward and upward with your recruitment marketing

Recruitment marketing is an extension of employer brand. In many cases, it forms the first impression candidates make of your business.

Your job, as a recruiter or talent sourcer, is to steer the opportunity to the best candidates. Your marketing strategy powers that engagement. It requires thoughtfulness and planning.

Across all of your marketing, remember this: There are lots of places where lots of recruiters are using lots of similar strategies.

In a world full of glazed donut recruitment, how will your opportunity get noticed?

Start with the basics, be creative, and keep it personal.

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