Qualithoughts by: Bryan Danta, Q2 HR Solutions Marketing Manager

Let’s begin by understanding both Recruitment & Marketing…

Recruitment is the activity done by an organization to acquire talent. It is first and foremost a constant cycle – it begins before you even meet your prospective candidate and it goes beyond the signing of the job offer – Jane Brown, author of “The Complete Guide to Recruitment”

Marketing on the other hand, is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. – American Marketing Association

So where is the parallelism? In recruitment, you are basically constantly promoting & selling the idea of working for your company. You want to get the best talents, engage them and keep them – Similarly this is what companies attempt to do when they market to their target consumers.

Given the challenge of finding the right talent, some forward-thinking HR practitioners are now investing in building their own marketing capabilities to help them better target, attract, recruit and retain the best people. In this case, their customers are potential candidates and current employees, rather than consumers.

The traditional recruitment model which most companies apply begins with the Job Order, and then follows a process of Sourcing, Interviewing, Job Offer and On-boarding. I’m pretty sure it’s similar to the model most companies use. So what’s wrong with that?

Because it begins with the Job Order – we put more focus on its content. We look at requirements – the qualifications, salary offer, benefits and culture fit needed for every requirement. Because of this, for most it becomes a shotgun approach. There is no cohesive message being delivered about the value of your company.

Most companies talk about their company’s profile, awards and merits, huge office and drink-all-you can iced tea in the 24/7 Cafeteria – But that doesn’t count as Recruitment Marketing. It doesn’t always create that emotional response a well-made employer brand can deliver. If you post that list of perks on Jobstreet or on Linkedin, you’re just showing your applicants the Trees and not the Forest – in marketing lingo, the Features and not Benefits.

In today’s world where we all have access to real-time information, it is important for organisations to take control of how they want to be defined as an employer. Once you have identified how you want to be perceived, you formulate the message, and relay the benefits and perks that your company can offer.

Through this article, I would like to share with you 4 tips that can help companies big or small come up with a Recruitment Marketing Plan.

#1 Review your Candidate’s Journey

By developing a Candidate Journey Model, you can track and analyse your current candidate process and identify the specific “touchpoints” with you & your candidates and find out how each stage can be developed further to create the “Best Candidate Experience”.

#2 Develop your “Employer Brand” & Build your “Employee Value Proposition”

You cannot talk about Recruitment Marketing without mentioning and understanding Employer Branding. A Company’s employer brand is its Reputation as an Employer. It is the emotional response and affinity of your applicants and employees towards your company. It’s the Trust they put in your name. And the essential thing about building Trust is that – you must build it before you need it.

Recruitment Marketing begins with an established Employer Brand rooted in the company’s Vision, Mission and Values. You need to develop that image and perception that will resonate with your target audience, something that describes who you are as a company and why it is a good decision to join you.

Your Employer Brand becomes your story to tell. It becomes an even more successful and interesting story once you include your Employee Value Proposition.

Your Employee Value Proposition is typically the reason why people join and stay in a company. It is the message you deliver to your target audience about who you are and what you can offer as a company. This then becomes the backbone of your Recruitment Marketing Communications.

#3 Find your Medium

Once you have the Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition you need to pick the right medium. While Traditional Media such as Print, TV & Radio are still currently regarded as the main avenues to communicate, there are relatively new ways of promoting your Employer Brand that is less costly but still effective.

According to a recent study conducted by Jobvite – a social recruiting technology company, since recruiters have started to use social media to attract talents, 49% say that the quality of candidates has increased. Why? One reason is that social media makes it easier for employers to show their “true selves”. And Social Media, provides an effective conversation medium.

More importantly, Social Media creates an equal playing field. Before, those who can only promote are the ones who have big budgets. It was a Battle of Deep Pockets. With social media, communication is practically free. It shifts the attention from budget to the importance of creativity and content. A great Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition always win the Battle for Content.

Video is one format that makes it simple to show exactly that. Over 90% of Internet traffic is video content. We prefer to click “play” instead of reading a story. You don’t need a big budget in producing this. Nowadays, an ordinary smartphone camera has the capability of shooting great quality videos. Plug your video in a movie editing software like iMovie, then presto, you have your self-produced movie!

Social Networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) provide a venue for dialogue and also a great customer and candidate insight tool. The important part is to know your objectives first before using them. Each network has their own merits and usually requires attention and consistency.

#4 Track & Measure

Like any Marketing Plan, for your Recruitment Marketing efforts to be considered successful, you need to have an effective tracker for you to know and analyse where you are, as well as to know if you are meeting your objectives. From your defined Touch Points, you should be able to identify objectives and goals for each. You should also look at your statistics – where are your quality candidates coming from and which messages are more effective in attracting them?

The beauty of Recruitment Marketing is that it can be used by anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or a Small Start-up Enterprise. As long as you know your value and you can effectively deliver it in the right medium at the right time to the right people, you’re doing it right!

But remember, The Right People should equate to having the brand delivering its promise to the consumer. In the service industry, it is even more important because your product is your people. The people you will hire should espouse the same message as what your brand promises.

If you’re finding it difficult to recruit, start looking at your brand. The reputation of your brand also has a direct correlation to your recruitment initiatives.