Getting a Grip on Recruitment Marketing: Part 1

It’s no surprise that social media is changing the way we recruit talent. Brenda Stultz-Roae, Recruiting Manager at Cisco, puts it this way:

“In the evolving model of social recruiting, where relevant content is used to attract and engage the right talent around the company’s employment value proposition, the role of the recruiter changes dramatically from a salesperson who connects a candidate to a specific role, to a brand ambassador and analytics guru.”

So now, along with everything else, recruiters are in marketing, too. And to succeed like a marketer, it makes sense to think like one.

Marketers want consumers to be interested in the products they have for sale. Likewise, you want candidates to be interested in the jobs you have to fill. But with so many new ways to capture people’s attention, where do you begin? What are they paying attention to? And how do you make sure that your employment (or internal) brand gets heard among all the layers of messaging around your consumer (or external) brand?

To get started, there are four things you should ask yourself:

  1. Is this a transaction, or a conversation?
  2. Are you telling an authentic story, defined through culture?
  3. Are you where the candidates are looking?
  4. Are you creating a seamless journey—from attraction all the way to onboarding—that consistently reinforces your story?

I’ll talk more about each of these questions individually, so for right now let’s focus on Question #1: Is this a transaction, or a conversation?

In your role as a salesperson, it’s all about the transaction: The candidate needs a job, and you have a position to fill. The question is, are they buying what you’re selling? But remember, closing the sale is just the last step in a longer process. This is where marketing comes in. It isn’t about closing the deal; it’s about starting and cultivating a conversation that ultimately sets up the deal.

Marketers talk about the progression from awareness to likeability and, finally, investment. The first step is simply to make people aware that your brand exists. After that, you can use message and repetition to shape their perception of your brand. If you do it right, they won’t just know you—they’ll like you. Eventually, candidates become comfortable and interested enough to take action. By now, they’re willing to invest in your brand. In this case, investment means everything from applying for a job to taking an interview trip to—ultimately—accepting an offer.

Traditional media advertising and salesmanship are great for the beginning and end of this process, but in the old days, there was a lot missing in the middle. Social recruiting solves this problem with almost limitless opportunities to foster a relationship that grows from simple awareness into a real preference for your company as employer of choice.

Since, as we’ve said, you may be acting as both the marketer and the sales person, you’ll get the chance to see all these steps in action. And you’ll know that when candidates are sitting across from you, they are beyond mere awareness. They haven’t just seen a help wanted ad. They’ve had the chance to hear your story, ask questions, learn more, maybe even make some friends both in and out of the company. They are here because they like you—and because they have reason to think that you will like them, too.

There’s still a conversation to be had, of course. But now, you have a lot more to talk about. And you’re a whole lot closer to “closing the sale.”

Continue on to part 2 where I discuss how to create messages that attract the kind of people you’re looking for.

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