There was a time, when HR marketing was a lot about recruitment fairs and job posts. The digitalization has changed that a lot. For some years now, we have been able to utilize social media and content marketing very cost efficiently.

It makes a lot of difference to stay top of the mind of your audience regularly than meet a random group of job seekers one or a few times a year at a job fair.

HR Marketing is an umbrella term

HR Marketing or Talent Marketing is an umbrella term for all marketing activities targeted to the talent audiences of an organization.

Recruitment marketing is probably the most common form of talent marketing. But there are two others with different objectives and target segments.

It’s easy to mix the three types of talent marketing with each other because many of the tactics used today may appear to be similar.

But recruitment marketing, employer branding and developing your employer image are not the same anymore. These three are the three types of talent marketing with different objectives, KPI’s and messages.

And the reason why I say “anymore” is because of the wide variety of tools, tactics and techniques we have available today because of social media and digital marketing.

1. Recruitment marketing

Today, Recruitment Marketing looks like a job advert bouncing on your newsfeed or the link to a job post following you on news sites, blogs and other audience networks, where banner advertising is permitted.

In some industries recruitment marketing continues to be the expensive print advertisement, that no one is likely to see anymore.

This form of HR-marketing is characterized by:

  • The temporary nature.
  • The objectives of raising awareness to the vacancy in question and attracting applicants to the process.
  • It’s mostly about the hiring company and fulfilling their need with an adequate candidate.

The most typical content of any recruitment marketing campaign is of course the job post.

The job post either tells, lists, describes or dictates what the company is expecting to find and by which deadline.

The job post either tells, lists, describes or dictates what the company is expecting to find and by which deadline.

Adding other content elements to recruitment marketing

These days as many industries and organizations seriously suffer from the shortage of change adaptable talent with up-to-date skills, employers hiring regularly must expand their recruitment marketing.

Three types of HR marketing, blogging

The most typical and cost effective means are adding marketable content aside of the job advert.

Suitable content forms are:

  • blog posts
  • videos
  • podcast episodes
  • slidedecks
  • eBooks and PDF’s
  • infographics to name a few.

The additional content you may create should answer to the most typical questions your candidates might have about you as an employer or about the job, team and career prospects.

Listen to this complementary episode on Building a Modern Podcast episode on Soundcloud.

Content used in recruitment campaigns is unlikely to meet employer branding standards

The most typical mistake is to think the additional content supporting the job post would be employer branding. It’s really not.

I know it seems like that. And it could be, but most often it’s not. This is because the target audience and temporary nature of marketing steer it away from employer branding.

A typical scenario goes something like this:

You wrote a blog post about your team and how you work together. You plan to use it for the recruitment process of a new member to your team.

  • It’s a wonderful add on to the job post, but it is targeted to the specific recruitment audience for this position.
  • It is unlikely to have any strategic employer branding objectives behind it.
  • And it is likely to be buried in your blog archive in about 14 or 20 days, or whenever your campaign comes to an end.

It may seem like you are employer branding, but the objective and duration of use for your post makes it a recruitment marketing content.

We can also look at it this way.

Let’s say your company is a web design company and you hire web designers regularly.

You probably have hundreds if not thousands direct competitors for the same talents. Why would these talents choose your company over the others?

Your employer brand answers this question. And not for the talents you need to hire today, but for the talents your business needs over the coming years.

When recruitment marketing is a short game with fast wins, employer branding is a long game. Success comes to those who persevere and position themselves different from the competition.

HR-marketing on the digital age is mostly content marketing.
People share their experiences about employers online and on socials.

2. Developing Employer Image

I refer to the Employer Image as a pin on your ideal talents map. When your ideal talents are aware of your existence, you get a pin on their map.

However, it’s just a pin.

It doesn’t mean your company is their number one choice. In fact, it doesn’t mean they will ever choose your company for anything! It depends really what kind of an image they have about your company.

Employer image tends to be the birth product of experiences:

  • Our own experiences based on how you have treated us.
  • Experiences we hear from our friends, families and even social media contacts we may not really even know.
  • Experiences we interpret from the news and other media.
  • Experiences we may be exposed to when skimming through a discussion forum or scrolling through the many social media posts online.

In other words, your audience may have a variety of images about your company as an employer. Some are good, some are bad and some negative. If you are an employer, you will have an employer image. Do you know if it’s positive, neutral or negative?

What every hiring employer needs, is to have their employer image under control. No one should not leave it to random views, experiences, interpretations and opinions.

The purpose of the employer image is to exist on the ideal talents’ maps and clarify what one has to offer as an employer. This is important to all hiring companies. And it may well be enough for strong consumer brand companies.

It’s all about making sure your company brand or consumer brand is able to support your ability to build talent audiences from those talents your company needs in the years to come. If not, then you will need employer branding.

3. Employer branding

Employer branding is the consistent act of positioning the company as an employer to become specific, recognizable and different from other similar companies.

It’s about choosing which box you belong to and then staying inside that box, but making sure you stand out different from the others in the same box.

Employer brand is targeted for future talents, recruitment for existing hiring needs

The difference between employer branding and recruitment marketing stand firmly in the target audience.

  • Recruitment marketing message is relevant only to talents looking for a new opportunity right now, during your campaign.
  • Employer branding is most effective when building a new audience for future needs.

Recruitment marketing is most effective in the digital age, when it is highly targeted to those talents matching your selection criteria for this specific role at this specific time. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to succeed.

The problem with such specific targeting is that the message is unlikely to penetrate the attention wall of talents with different profiles.

Employer branding of the digital age has no end date

Marketing has changed so significantly during the digital era that the conventional marketing and advertising of our own needs with an expectation of the audience to react immediately no longer works.

Growth companies need employer branding

  • Employer branding helps differentiating oneself from the competition.
  • Employer branding allows more time [than a job campaign] for winning attention, raising interest and building affinity towards the employer brand.
  • An on going employer branding keeps the growth company on the top of mind and is there, waiting arms open, when it’s time for the talent to start considering new opportunities.

I’m asking: What is the likelihood of your ideal talent being on the lookout for new career opportunities during those exact 7, 14, 20, 30 days your recruitment campaign is active? The more competitive your industry is, the less likelihood there is.

That’s why growth companies can really value from consistent employer branding.

Further Reading: The difference between an employer image and employer brand >>

Minor updates made 21st July, 2020.

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