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Candidate marketing

Blurred Lines: Why Recruiters Should Be Thinking Like Digital Marketers

Ania D'Agostino

light-road.jpegHere’s how recruiters can learn from marketers when it comes to targeting qualified candidates, advertising the company brand, and sending the right message to prospects.

While we may not think of them as kindred spirits, recruiting and brand marketing are actually very similar in a number of ways. The fundamental objective of both is to attract, engage and retain the attention of very specific target audiences in order to drive a desired action – for marketers, that action would be a purchase; for recruiters, an accepted offer from a right-fit candidate.

The marketing world has updated its tactics in accordance with evolving consumer preferences and digital best practices, and recruiters need to do the same. Luckily, updating your talent marketing strategy for the digital age is a relatively easy thing to do.

Charlene Li, founder and CEO of the tech consultancy Altimeter Group, outlined a three-step plan to attract the best possible talent: “First, an organisation needs to develop a talent brand. Second, the organisation needs to scale this brand through employee advocacy. And finally, the organisation needs to build a fully-functioning digital operation to support these ‘marketing’ efforts.” Though it may sound somewhat broad in its scope, this marketing-minded approach to talent acquisition can have a serious impact on your ability to attract, engage and ultimately hire top recruits.

Developing an Employer Brand

Every year, publications like Fortune Magazine and Forbes put out lists of the top companies to work for. According to Monster, “All of these companies have one thing in common: their brand precedes them.” More than their products, people know the brand narratives of these companies, and because of this, they feel compelled to work there. The Walt Disney Company, recently named America’s “most desired employer,” is a great example of this kind of employer branding at work. After all, who wouldn’t want to work for a business that brands itself “the happiest place on earth”?

While marketers focus on the story of the company as a producer of goods and services, recruiters have to develop its narrative as an employer: the people who work there, what makes them different and why they do what they do. This will be an integral aspect of any recruitment programme – used correctly, an effective employer brand will crop up in the job description, company social media presence and in interviews.

Just as marketers need to understand their audience, recruiters need to find what their ideal employees look for and develop their employer brand with that in mind. According to Nathan Perrott, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at AIA Worldwide, the best way to accomplish this is by developing candidate marketing personas, or “hypothetical representations of your target audiences based on real data, research and interviews (ideally with new starters or even better, the talent you want to hire).”

Digital Outreach

70% of job seekers begin their job search with a Google search. This alone should give you a strong sense of how important it is to maximise your business’ online visibility. In addition to making your company more visible, you also need to ensure all of your various channels, such as your website and social media platforms, aren’t inadvertently turning off ideal hires.

As Hubspot outlines, having an up-to-date website, a solid SEO strategy (and possibly PPC marketing as well) and an active social media presence are all crucial components of a successful talent acquisition strategy. Many companies even build landing pages (designed to capture candidate information) and social media pages specific to recruiting, such as Simon & Schuster. Blogs, employer branding videos, social posts, emails and documents should all work together to proactively project your employer brand, providing a window into the company’s culture and building a more personal connection with prospective hires.

Just remember to ensure your content is genuinely engaging and relevant to your target candidate demographic (remember those personas we mentioned earlier?) – the reality is that in a world hyper-saturated with digital content, traditional text-based job descriptions are no longer enough to cut through the noise. Perrott sums it up nicely: “The golden rule to remember in content marketing is ‘Create content that your audience needs, not what you want.’ This means adding value to their experience by understanding their needs and interests first, then aiming to solve their problems and questions with content.”

Keep Candidates Engaged Throughout the Hiring Journey

Importantly, broadcasting your brand doesn’t end once the candidate actually applies to your company – in fact, it plays a key role in keeping applicants engaged throughout the entire hiring journey.

With LaunchPad’s video assessment platform, companies can upload engaging recruitment videos that not only help walk them through the interview process, but also send a clear and engaging message about core values and job expectations. At the end of the day, improving your hiring outcomes isn’t simply a question of finding the most experienced candidate out there; rather, crafting a talent marketing strategy that places an emphasis on culture and brand will result in more right-fit hires, which leads to increased employee retention, engagement and ultimately, your revenue stream.

Ania D'Agostino

Ania D'Agostino is a Marketing Manager at LaunchPad Recruits