What is a Recruitment Marketing Strategy?

Recruitment marketing strategy is a marketing strategy, not a recruitment strategy. Therefore, it does not pinpoint how to hire, how to handle applications or what to ask in an interview.

Instead, it is a strategy that defines what are our recruitment marketing communications’ goals, objectives and means used to impact the active job seeker audience during our recruitment campaigns.

In this blog post I’m sharing with you my 7 steps on how to create a Modern Recruitment Marketing Strategy that includes recruitment process related communications. This is important, because candidate experiences can make or break the employer reputation of a company that hires a lot.

7 steps to Building a Modern Recruitment Marketing Strategy

#1 Setting up your resources

I understand this may not be the first thing on your mind when starting to plan your strategy. However, having worked with defining strategies for years, this is what I always call for to evaluate at first, because there is no point defining a strategy that will be over whelming or even impossible to execute.

You will need:

  • Pairs of hands
  • Skills and knowledge
  • Money
  • Time

What do you have and how much? Start with that.

Most cost effective HR marketing is done on social media. For recruitment marketing, I would also add key recruitment fairs where you should be present, but not just present, but actively committed to delivering results.

And don’t forget about the communications’ and marketing you are able to direct to the applicants during the application and selection process. This is an incredibly little used area in recruitment marketing and employer branding! There are plenty of room to add value for your recruiting success.

You don’t have to limit recruitment marketing to job posting

There is more to recruitment marketing than the job post.

However, if marketing job posts is the only thing you have time, money and resources for, save the trouble of defining a strategy.  I assume you are already posting jobs, so you don’t need a strategy nor a plan for that.

The skills and knowledge needed in strategic recruitment marketing are connected to social media, content marketing and digital marketing. They offer wonderful opportunities to expand your recruitment content!

But they do require availability of new skills and marketing money.

Can you get these resources?

#2 Defining target audiences

The most important element in any marketing strategy is the target audience. In recruitment marketing, the target audience are always the active job seekers. If you want to appeal to passive job seekers, opt for employer branding.

I cannot stress enough the importance of defining, knowing and continuously improving your understanding of your target audiences. You simply cannot influence and impact a person unless you know what tickles them.

Target audience profiling for marketing is not the same as profiling an ideal candidate for a specific role.

Target audience profiling for marketing is not the same as profiling an ideal candidate for a specific role. Your job posts will always have the specifics of what skills and competencies this one person needs to have.

It is kind of like putting the whole group of talents possessing the same or similar skills together and figuring out the top 5 characteristics, competencies and level of experience for these groups.

In addition to thinking what your business needs, think also what your ideal candidates are looking gor.

  • What type of characters your organization is most likely going to appeal to as a place of work? Sometimes we might want more than we can get. Strategy is about being realistic both ways.

Your target audiences will also let you know what media and channels you should include in your strategy. It’s the media and channels where they can be reached as often as possible. Sometimes I see recruiters select media and channels they personally like or prefer or what the hiring managers request even if the candidates are unlikely to be reached there.

#3 Setting goals – Key Performance Objectives

Next step is to identify what success looks like after we have done recruitment marketing activities for some time.

These are called the Key Performance Objectives. KPI’s are strategic goals measuring trends. In other words, the change between what is now and what will be when we next evaluate. They are great because the longer you track, the more you can see how well your execution has impacted your ability to reach your goals.

KPI’s are strategic.

We can also set goals and objectives for recruitment marketing activities. And these goals and objectives are measured by relevant marketing metrics.

Don’t get mixed with putting operational level goals and metrics into your strategy. Also, always avoid vanity metrics.

#4 Positioning through your unique competitive traits

Do you know what is the most often used  HR marketing tool?

It is the copy & paste -tool.

Always, when you take the effort of creating a strategy for any kind of marketing, make sure your strategy will help you to differentiate from the competition.

Copy paste, and you all look the same. That’s not helping anyone.

What are some of the unique characteristics your recruitment marketing strategy should clarify to your active job seeker audiences?

If you’ve done your job in the target audience profiling, now connect the dots by looking at your offering:

  • What makes your business special in comparison to other similar companies?
  • What makes your culture special in comparison to other similar roles and companies?
  • How will you help your employees succeed?
  • What career opportunities can you promise? Are they unique?
  • Have you got any benefits that are exceptional and not offered by 99% of other companies?

#5 Content

There will not be any effective recruitment marketing without content. A random post on the company blog every other month is no where near enough. A job post is no longer enough.

The Modern Recruitment Marketing is not about marketing our needs, expectations and requirements as the hiring company.

Most job posts are very short, yet not very sweet. The shorter the job posts the less it is able to answer all there questions a good candidate will have.

Do you know what are the typical questions your candidates have?

Most recruiters can create a list of the most frequently asked questions. Each question is an opportunity for a blog post where that question is answered in a manner expressing your company culture.

In his book Talent Magnet, Mark Miller gives us three elements the best talents are looking for in the next place of work:

  1. Better boss
  2. Brighter future
  3. Bigger vision

When they search your website and career site, will they find your answers to these?

My advice is to strategically plan your content in levels.

  • Top level content is information, more general and applies to all of your recruitment process. Such as:
    • tips and advice for your candidates how to succeed specifically in your process
    • how your recruitment process flows
    • what candidates can expect from you during the process
    • general information about your company culture, career opportunities and benefits
  • Middle level content is more business division or even position specific, such as:
    • presenting the team leader
    • presenting the team and their level of competencies
    • presenting the office, the location, the city and all there is to do after work if your new hires tend to move locations for this job
    • presenting near future plans & direction, cases or customers specific to this team or division
  • Bottom level content is emotionally appealing, such very personal stories about your people and how your company helped them to succeed, win, solve a career or a life conflict etc.

#6 Execution plan

Once your strategy is defined, you will need plan how to execute that inline with recruitment processes. The purpose of all recruitment marketing is to complement the job post and expand the audience for your hiring need.

Your plan does not need to be very content intensive, but planning what type of content is useful in various parts of the recruitment process is important and helpful.

I recommend a calendar structure as the basis of your plan.

And you need to plan around your recruitment processes:

  • What you want to market & communicate before the job becomes vacant
  • What you do market & communicate during the application period
  • What you do market & communicate after the application period ends
  • What you do market & communicate during the recruitment processes
  • What do you do market & communicate in between all recruitment processes that help you in building your audiences and keep them actively tuned into your way

#7 Learning from the numbers and improving all the time

Social media and digital marketing are so great because we have so many ways to track what we do and how our actions impact our audiences.

We must never report just for the sake of reporting.

Instead, follow the metrics (and only the metrics) giving you insight for the goals and objectives defined in the strategy.  There are so many metrics in general that it is easy to pick this and that, and follow wrong or different data each time. That will not help you follow trends.

Trends are important. One off data doesn’t tell us anything. So we must track the same data month to month until we have enough of the same data to see a pattern.

Analyze are our marketing activities improving what we planned (goals and objectives)?

What seems to work, what doesn’t?

Do more of the what works and less of the what doesn’t.

It’s really inspiring to read data over a time, see trends and learn from the numbers! The numbers talk, you just need to listen.

Or, you could do just random acts, not know what success looks like and never get the sense of accomplishment you will, when you do it in a planned, systematic and measurable manner. But you want to be a successful recruiter, don’t you?

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