As we discussed in part one of our series last week, marketing is a consumer-driven business function, and similarly, the ever-evolving recruitment industry is now a candidate-driven marketplace. This is due to a number of factors, but it's mainly attributable to the fact that candidates have access to any job opportunity in the world thanks to the internet.
In the past, an employer published a classified ad in the newspaper and waited until local candidates saw the ad and applied for the job in person. As you can imagine, this lead to a low volume of applications per job, meaning fewer candidates to choose from. Now, thanks to the evolution of recruitment and the way HR and talent acquisition professionals post jobs online, employers have access to job seekers all around the world, rather than just those in their neighborhood. And for these same reasons, job seekers have access to opportunities globally, rather than just locally.
The difficulty for businesses, then, doesn’t lie in a lack of candidates, but in the inability to effectively reach the most qualified candidates in a highly competitive market.
"Leading companies have figured out that in order to win over top talent, they must deliver a simple, fast and transparent recruitment process that focuses on candidates’ wants and needs. At the heart of this effort is infusing their recruitment operations with insights and best practices from marketing." - Tim Newnham, HR.com
As organizations are seeing, the highest quality candidates have a number of employment opportunities at their disposal. With the heightened level of competition in this “war for talent,” recruiters must proactively seek out candidates in the same way that marketers target new consumers, which is where recruitment marketing comes into play. Recruitment has evolved into “recruitment marketing” because of the need to think differently - to think more like marketers.
RECRUITMENT + MARKETING = RECRUITMENT MARKETING
HR and talent acquisition professionals need to think of recruitment as marketing in order to be successful in this new, talent-driven ecosystem. To start, consider how the 4 C’s of marketing can apply to recruitment by replacing “consumers” with “candidates,” and understanding that the products or services that you’re marketing are actually your open jobs.
Candidate wants and needs: To hire top talent, you must first fully understand your ideal candidates. Who are they? What do they want in their careers? What do they need in their careers? Where do your ideal candidates spend their time online? What other media types do your ideal candidates often use? When you can answer these questions in detail, then you can take the next steps into understanding how to conveniently communicate this information to the right candidates, in the right place, at the right time.
"The common thread among [predictions surrounding Recruitment Marketing tactics and best practices] is ability – the necessity – for recruiters to treat candidates the way marketers treat customers." - Tim Newnham, HR.com
Communication: You’ve probably heard marketers of all stripes claim that “content is king,” and that’s true for recruitment, as well. Any sort of messaging (text, imagery or video) that exists to communicate to your candidates is content, and this includes your careers website, your job titles and job descriptions, job advertising, and more. But, content alone won’t convince qualified candidates to apply for your jobs. In the Information Age, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
Convenience: Once you’ve figured out how to best communicate the right messaging to your ideal candidates, you then need to consider where and when to communicate that message conveniently to your ideal candidates. With most job seekers using the internet to search for jobs, understanding where, when and how your job will be viewed online is key to the success of any recruitment marketing strategy.
Cost: Of course, all HR and talent acquisition professionals know that recruiting requires a budget. And unfortunately, that budget probably isn’t comparable to that of the marketing department. Therefore, understanding where every recruitment dollar is spent and what it actually costs you to recruit your ideal candidates is critical to your ability to optimize your budget and in generating the greatest ROI. With that said, it’s important to note that the cost associated with recruitment is not limited to your monetary budget. It also includes the time and effort needed to attract top-quality candidates, as well as any other business costs associated with this goal. For example, modifying your corporate benefits, such as vacation time or remote work flexibility, might be costs to consider if these are two items on your ideal candidate’s list of wants and needs. While the cost of recruiting top talent may seem high, keep in mind that making better-quality hires leads to greater retention rates and more engaged employees--which in turn leads to less turnover and other business benefits.
Now that we’ve covered the marketing basics and how they can be applied to recruitment in a candidate-driven approach, we’ll focus on improving your communication through job content in Part 3 of our series. This will include keeping your job content fresh and convenient, so you’re able to get the most out of your recruitment costs.