As the war for talent fiercely continues and job seeker expectations evolve, it has never been more prevalent for organisations to ramp up their recruitment marketing. This goes beyond posting a role on social media or sharing a ‘day in the life’ blog from one of your team; recruitment marketing is the process of defining, designing and deploying a clear brand and communication action plan, to attract, engage and onboard top talent.

Following the methodologies and structure of traditional marketing, recruitment marketing spans the entire candidate lifecycle, from initial interest and acquisition, through to onboarding, employee engagement and retention. It is about understanding your candidate persona and sharing insight and content on the right channels, at the right time.

So, why invest in recruitment marketing?

Recruitment marketing is not just about short-term wins, it is a long-term game plan to sustainably grow your employer brand, candidate attraction and experience to secure the very best talent for key roles in your hiring pipeline. By investing in recruitment marketing, you are investing in future-proofing your organisation and there are a wealth of tangible benefits.

Recruitment marketing should form part of your recruitment strategy, enabling you to continuously build a pipeline, connect with passive candidates and define who your candidate personas are. Like the old saying goes, time spent planning is never wasted and you cannot afford to just allocate some budget to advertising or sponsor a post on social media and hope it will provide the required recruitment marketing return on investment.

Strategic planning

Incorporating recruitment marketing into your strategic hiring plans will ensure your activity is driven by the goals and objectives you set. It will shape the media you use, your language, the recruitment campaign timelines and even branding applications. By defining a plan, you can look at the wider influences of talent acquisition success, capture talent earlier on in the cycle and utilise insight from past performance to drive future decisions.

Like with all business decisions, they need to be considered and marketing is a strategic investment which takes time to reap the greatest gain.

Time-to-hire

One common challenge facing all busy professionals, but especially in-house recruiters is the limited time frame to execute and recruit a new hire. Statistics show that it takes an average of 28 days to recruit a new person into a business, but add on notice periods, poor candidate attraction, a limited talent pool and a weak candidate experience and that process could be a lot longer. Recruitment marketing offers solutions to streamline this process and accelerate your talent acquisition.

With a recruitment marketing process working consistently behind the scenes to attract and nurture potential talent, you are steadily building an engaged pipeline of candidates for your roles. This means when you launch new opportunities, you already have a series of active and passive candidates who fit your target candidate persona to reach out to, accelerating the process. Team that with a strong employer brand and improved candidate experience, through marketing-assisted initiatives, and you will see a dramatic reduction in time-to-hire.

Candidate quality

Although volume is important, in terms of applications, quality will always be more important than quantity. Unfortunately, there is no tool (yet!) that predicts when ideal candidates may be looking for their next role and often many potential applicants shop around long before committing to a full blown application process. However, recruitment marketing offers a great opportunity to capture those who are interested, but are just not ready to commit yet.

Utilising your employer brand and candidate journey initiated the first step of engagement, but you need to ensure you capture that interest immediately and convert them to joining your candidate network by building a talent pool. This needs careful consideration and long-term planning to ensure the contacts are nurtured, sent job alerts that are relevant through your ATS, like networx offers, and regularly engage with your employer brand. However, great effort reaps great reward and for challenging roles to fill this long-term strategy can really help to break down the recruitment barriers.

For support in building a tailored talent pool, check out our recent article.

Employer branding

Candidates are not just applying for a job, they are applying to join a brand. Your brand encapsulates your company culture, working ethos, your visual corporate identity, values and most importantly your employee value proposition. With greater online transparency through digital media and employer review sites, it is not something you can shy away from or just post an individual blog about; your employer brand is so much more.

Regardless of the stability of the job market, whilst you are scouting for the best possible candidates, great talent will be scouting for the best possible employer. So in order to secure your ideal candidates, you need to invest in defining your employer brand and communicating it authentically, across all relevant media and through your employer actions. 

It is no longer a nice to have, so to get started, check out our guide to the power of employer branding.

Candidate experience

The relationship between your organisation and a potential candidate doesn’t ignite when they click ‘apply’, but when they first encounter your organisation. This pre-applicant stage forms part of a candidates assessment of whether to apply to work with your company, therefore it is crucial that your candidate experience is interactive, reflective of your target audience and engaging from initial careers awareness, through the entire process to onboarding.

Recruitment marketing encourages you to look at the individual personas of candidates you look to attract, and what motivates and inspires them to take action. With 65% of candidates actively searching for roles at the beginning of 2021 looking for an opportunity that gives them a sense of purpose, due to the pandemic, you need to seriously consider how your employer brand, application questions and interview process highlights what your organisation gives, above and beyond the standard salary and benefits offering.

Simple changes such as personalised communications and onboarding landing pages, through to customised content about their role interests or career development opportunities can really lift your candidate experience and strengthen the employer-candidate relationship.

To get you started, check out our 5 top tips for delivering the best candidate experience.

Pioneering diversity

Diversity offers a great array of benefits to your organisation, including a wider skill set range, improved company reputation, larger talent pool, increased creativity and employee engagement. Research shows that decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results, but in order to grow your diverse team you need recruitment marketing.

Utilising marketing initiatives, such as reviewing the language used in job descriptions, where you are posting vacancies and assessing how inclusive your employer brand is will enable you to become a lot more visible and also desirable to your diverse talent personas.  Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is one of the hottest topics for in-house recruiters in 2021, so check out our latest piece on delivering a discrimination free recruitment process.

Combining recruitment marketing with your wider recruitment strategy will ensure you have a long-term plan to growing your organisation as an employer of choice. Recruitment marketing takes your ambition and objectives and translates them into candidate-focused initiatives, turning active and passive interest into ideal applications.

Defining, designing and deploying a recruitment marketing plan

There are lots of different components that make up recruitment marketing and it can feel quite a sizable beast to get started. However most organisations have already taken some steps towards their recruitment marketing goals, for example implementing an intuitive applicant tracking system or designing the candidate journey to reflect your brand. There are tools and techniques that can support you every step of the way to simplify and streamline your strategy to work for you and your organisation, but it all starts with a plan.

The situation

Before you make any decisions or even plans, you need to understand the situation in which you are hiring. This includes your macro and micro environment, competitors and your target candidate persona.

Reviewing the macro environment is all about reflecting on the state of employment across the UK, national challenges such as the impact of the pandemic on the economy, overarching candidate expectations and hiring trends. These factors, although not in your immediate impact-line, will still influence the success of your hiring and recruitment marketing strategy.

To further shape your thinking and to provide a more granular view, you need to assess your micro environment. This enables you to hone in on the areas such as your company location and employment challenges in the area, your existing talent pool, previous hiring experience and local competitors or employers that may also be bidding for the best talent. In understanding these factors, you can highlight your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities there are and any potential threats, before even posting one single line on social media.

As part of your micro environment analysis, it is important to also map out your ideal candidate personas. You may have a couple depending on the role, level within the business or the skills you require, but this will give you an idea of what kind of media to utilise and the content that will best resonate. A candidate persona is much like a marketing buyer persona, reflecting on characteristics, values, skills and personality traits that you look for in an ideal candidate. A lot of organisations give these personas a name as it aids internal buy-in and these can also be utilised as part of the recruitment process.

Ultimately, your situation analysis is a research and information gathering exercise to ensure the decisions you make throughout the rest of your plan are considered and reflective of your current climate.

Your objectives

As HR and in-house recruitment professionals you will be no stranger to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics utilised to track performance, but in order to measure success you need objectives to benchmark against. Typically in a marketing plan you would have overarching corporate objectives that feed into departmental objectives and the same goes for recruitment. These could be reducing attrition or limiting recruitment spend over the next 12 months. 

As part of your plan you will also want to set some more tangible objectives that are closer to your department’s individual activity. 

Common recruitment marketing objectives include:

  • Increasing applications per role by X
  • Growing the talent pool by X%
  • Reducing spend per new starter by X
  • Increasing employer brand awareness
  • Get more career site visitors
  • Attract more applicants from social
  • Increase offer-acceptance rate
  • Improve the diversity of applicants

These objectives are what your recruitment marketing activity will feed directly into, so being specific and setting SMART objectives is key to successfully demonstrating performance and return on investment from your recruitment marketing initiatives.

Setting a strategy

Before you get started with the tactics and creative campaign ideas, you need to set a strategy. This is your employee value proposition for each of your ideal candidate personas.

Your employee value proposition is the key message you will target these personas with and it might differ for your audiences, such as for internal candidates messaging might be around long-term development and job security, vs new applicants might be looking for a challenge or focus on a specific exciting project. 

Your employee value proposition covers five key areas to answer the ‘what’s in it for me (WIIFM)’ question that all candidates will ask. These include compensation, benefits, career, work environment and culture, but depending on the candidate persona your strategy will be different. Setting this out clearly before committing to activity will ensure you hit the mark with the next step; tactics.

Choosing your tactics and taking action

The list of tactics is almost endless, from email to webinars, social media to events and content marketing. However, you need to reflect back on your candidate personas and what media and content works for them, to shape the tactics you plan to use. Not only will you want to look at the recruitment marketing channels available to you, but also the content and themes you want to deploy on those platforms, the frequency and how that might play out longer term.

Common effective recruitment marketing tactics include:

  • Job alerts – sending regular emails, relevant opportunities and information about your organisation is a great way to keep passive candidates engaged and grow a relevant talent pool.
  • Social media – almost all active candidates will have at least one social profile, so utilising your social channels to share roles, insight into different departments and the company culture will support your hiring plans.
  • Geo-targeted social advertising – this is a great tactic for difficult to fill roles or in challenging locations, as it enables you to target passive candidates with relevant opportunities on platforms they regularly utilise.
  • Events – these can be wide ranging from webinars, meet the team exercises or in-person events to showcase your opportunities. Commonly done with Graduate and Apprenticeship opportunities, it enables potential candidates to get a feel for your company and increases buy-in and interest, whilst showcasing their commitment to working with your brand.
  • Careers site – having a dedicated careers site and vacancy search pages will funnel candidates in the right direction for your opportunities. Making this clearly visible online, accessible and well-branded is crucial to a seamless candidate journey.
  • Onboarding portal – recruitment marketing is not just about the start of the funnel, but the entire process and making sure you consistently communicate your employee value proposition all the way to onboarding is key for candidate engagement, long-term retention and really living out the values for employees to see. 

Like with traditional marketing, there will be ebbs and flows in your activity and tying clear themes or recruitment drives into a unified campaign will strengthen your tactical activity, feeding positively into your objectives. Many of our clients at networx are partnering with our design team to execute sleek careers sites, targeted social advertising and engaging onboarding portals, so if you would like to find out more,  get in touch.

Controlling the risks

Although it would be easy to sit back after the content is posted and the events have rolled out and feel accomplished, you do need to reflect on the performance of your actions. Not only does this demonstrate that you have achieved your objectives or are working towards your departmental KPIs, but it highlights areas for improvement. Refining your recruitment marketing is vital to make sure that every single line of content, each carefully crafted social tile and event execution really hits the mark and has the best impact possible to attract, engage and retain your ideal talent.

With the right tools in place and an intuitive applicant tracking system, this data should be easy to report on and naturally fall in line with your everyday reporting.

Win the war with recruitment marketing

There is a wealth of talent out there to help your business flourish, but in order to win the war for the very best candidates you need to appraise your recruitment marketing initiatives. From strengthening your employer brand, to building a talent pipeline, your activity needs to be consistent, considered and data-driven. Successful recruitment marketing has to be strategic, and there is no strategy without a plan. 

Plan for future recruitment success and elevate your recruitment marketing efforts with the networx intuitive applicant tracking system and onboarding portal; book your demo today.

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