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Take a Marketing Approach to Recruiting

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recruitingLooking to attract and hire top talent? Then do what the experts suggest – think like a marketer.

Just as marketers promote their products and services to consumers, recruiters sell their companies to job-seekers in hopes they’ll become employees.

Recruiters are in a tough position. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to woo candidates as talent becomes scarce and jobs become more plentiful. According to a CareerBuilder study, 45% of HR managers currently have jobs they cannot fill, while 58% report that they have had vacant positions for 12 weeks or longer.

Your organization’s future depends upon your ability to differentiate your recruiting efforts and think more strategically – more marketing-minded. Recruiters need to treat candidates the way marketers treat customers.

HR thought-leader, Dr. John Sullivan articulates the benefits in his blog “When recruiting adopts a marketing approach, significant changes happen in employer branding, prospect attrition, and selling candidates. This, in turn, generates…a reduction in low impact recruiting efforts, while it simultaneously allows a firm to recruit top quality hires and innovators that it couldn’t attract using standard approaches.”

job searchHow should you go about it? Here are 4 ways.

1: Identify Your Target Candidates

Recruiters need to define who their ideal candidates are, like marketers need to identify their target audience. Let’s look at the steps Advertising for Dummies recommends when identifying a target market and how you can apply them to recruiting:

  • Look at your current customer base – Take an assessment of your current employees and company culture. You’ll want to target candidates that will easily assimilate into your workplace.
  • Check out your competition – Take a look at your competitor’s hiring practices. What are they communicating and what vehicles are they using to do it?
  • Analyze your product/service – Examine the position(s) you need to fill and identify what skills, strengths, education, and experience are needed.

2: Define Your Employer Brand

Not only are you selling the position, you are selling your company or employer brand. SHRM defines the employer brand as “what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. It encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture, and personality.” A favorable one communicates to prospective employees that your organization is a good company and a great place to work.

The value of the employer brand is often overlooked by employers. In fact, only 57% say they have an employer brand strategy. But it’s in your best interest to make it a priority: 75% of job seekers say they consider a company’s brand before applying for a job.

3: Create Relevant Content

Once you’ve identified your target candidates, you can tailor your efforts to effectively speak to them directly. Avoid generic job postings, address their needs and interests.

A common marketing term “unique selling point” or USP means to pinpoint exactly what makes your product (or in this case, your organization) different. Maybe it’s a relaxed culture, flexible working hours, or a quirky history. You’ll want to include this information in your job posting.

4: Measure Success

It’s important to monitor the results of your efforts and continually tweak them as necessary. To accomplish this, Dr. John Sullivan recommends a shift to “data-driven decision-making” like marketers use.  Recruiters should make decisions on employer branding, advertising, and job posting placement based on hard data. This requires measuring the quantity and quality of applicants to determine what is working and what isn’t.

A/B testing, a marketing experiment where two variations of content are pitted against each other to determine which produces the highest conversion rate, is another great tactic to borrow. Use it to measure the effectiveness of job postings and brand messaging.  

Adopting a marketing approach to your recruiting strategy just makes sense.

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