Generally, recruiting departments are increasingly adopting marketing techniques to attract the best talent. Well, what is marketing, and how does it relate to recruiting?
Based on iCIMS whitepaper, marketing is traditionally defined as messaging that indicates how your company satisfies needs, wants, and demands in such a way as to make “selling” unnecessary. This is accomplished with something called the marketing mix – defined by the 4 Ps – which include product, price, placement, and promotion.
For recruiting, you can traditionally assume that the product is the job, the price is the salary, the place is the office location and promotion is through job boards. The problem, however, is that the expectations of buyers and candidates have evolved and therefore, so has the marketing mix. Now, many marketers are considering a 5th P – positioning.
At a high-level, positioning is a marketing technique that presents products in the best light to different target audiences. It includes messaging and experiences that are meaningful, differentiating, and credible.
Any time you are marketing a product (or a job) you need to focus all your activities on speaking to the needs and wants of the buyer (the candidate). This means you must understand the needs and wants of your candidates before defining the messaging.
Once you know your target (the candidate), you can speak to that person directly using a message that is most meaningful to them. So, the first step is to develop a thorough understanding of the hard and soft skills that a candidate will need to be successful within your organisation.
Promoting your jobs is not just about posting on a job board anymore; today it is about creating an experience and recruiting socially. Today, people will move halfway across the world for the right “place”, referring to culture and environment rather than geographic location.
Price is no longer just about salary – now it is reputation, opportunity, and opportunity cost. Different people are motivated by different things. Understanding all this is extremely important when promoting your employment brand and targeting your message so that you are speaking to the right people.
Culture also has a significant impact on candidate drivers. A study by Stanford University founds the Japanese are collectivists, implying that they prefer group benefits. The reason for targeting is to learn to speak the right language to the right people.
Messaging is the way you “speak” to your candidates through words, symbols, and signals. Messaging is even influenced by what you do not say. Most concerning is how deeply your message is impacted by what others say about you.
In addition to this, messaging is visual. This refers to your choice of color and the content, such as videos, images, and social media links. As well, the presence or absence of video and images also speak to a candidate. This is what we refer to as the experience you provide to potential candidates.
Incorporating Positioning into your Employment Brand
Now that you know who you are looking for from the persona development, and you understand that the message must speak to that person – you need to pull it together into a message that attracts the right candidates. To accomplish that, remember these key points:
A. Show How Your Company is Unique
Don’t Let Your Unique Qualities Alienate Good Candidates
B. Create an Experience Consistent with Your Brand Image
Interactivity, Video, Images, Social Media, Educational Materials
C. Show You Appreciate Candidate’s Diversity
D. Keep the Message Consistent in All Communications
Once your message and position are defined, you are ready to share the communications. There are a lot of channels through which to communicate. It is important to remember that in order to realise any return on investment, a good recruitment marketing plan needs to be multifaceted and strategic.
Job Board Posting
To get the best return on investment you need to advertise where the right candidates are looking. Candidates are searching for opportunities on career sites and career portals, job boards, business networks, and social networks. Job boards are the most common advertising method for many companies and are a great place to advertise your open positions.
ROI can be maximised by further targeting your communications. The goal isn’t quantity –it is quality. Therefore, consider job board advertising more selectively. For example, niche boards and professional association boards, often bring in high quality candidates as they are likely to be more involved in career development activities.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is the practice of improving the visibility and ranking of a website in a search engine’s “organic”, or un-paid, results. In most cases, the higher a site ranks on the search results page, the more visitors the website will receive from the search engine’s users.
Although traditional recruitment advertising techniques generate visits to your career site, more and more candidates are using major search engines like Google or Bing to find jobs. To simplify SEO, many recruiters are leveraging career microsites. Microsites are small search engine optimised websites that advertise your jobs and point traffic to your career portal and/or Talent CRM.
For years, sales and marketing professionals have used CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) to build and nurture relationships with sales prospects. As today’s recruiters struggle to hire the best candidates despite the skills gap, recruiters are turning into marketing professionals as they “sell” their company’s employment brand in an attempt to attract top talent. Now, recruitment professionals need to build and nurture candidate relationships with the help of a Talent CRM, which can facilitate their proactive recruitment efforts.
Social Media and Mobile Accessibility
Most organisations have adopted social media and developed “social recruiting” strategies to attract and recruit top talent. Often overlooked however, is the fact that most social media consumption is done on a mobile device. Adding a social and mobile component to your recruiting strategy gives current employees a way to share job openings with their friends. Employee referrals are still a top source of applicant flow and a very effective cost-per-hire strategy.
A key element in using mobile and social for recruiting is consistency. Because some social sites, like Twitter, limit the length of a message, the focus of your messaging should be to drive people to a place where they can see your employment brand, such as your career site. This is where your investment in a robust career site and realistic job postings will pay off.
A Marketing Secret: Social Currency
Marketers use research to understand what grabs buyers, makes buyers dive into seller’s content, and ultimately what makes customers tell others about it. They provide content so that people will read and share it, thus creating word-of-mouth advertising. This concept is known as “social currency” and for recruiters, the same findings will hold true – your “buyers” are your candidates.
Social currency is what people (such as job seekers) gain from sharing information. People gravitate to and tend to share information that builds up their importance.
How does this apply to HR and recruiting? Simply, if you want to attract candidate’s attention, engage them, and spread the word about your employment brand further, feed a candidate’s social currency.
How can the talent acquisition team provide social currency? By doing more than just promoting open jobs. Instead, provide candidates with valuable information by telling them more about your company, and promote that content on social media. Other ideas include telling candidates how to prepare for an interview, upcoming recruiting events, or what you look for in employees.