Businesses are increasingly embracing the concept that recruiters should be thinking and behaving more like marketers. After all, there are numerous parallels with selling products/services and selling job opportunities/employers. However, there is one stark difference; marketing generally benefits from relevant training and funding, whereas recruitment often does not. This enables marketing functions to effectively promote what they’re selling, vs. recruitment teams who are often left ill-equipped to deliver at the level that’s expected of them.
At this Resourcing Think Tank, hosted by Which?, we posed the question ‘are recruiters simply marketers that sell job opportunities?’. We are therefore pleased to share five steps for talent acquisition professionals to follow to help them behave more like marketers.
1. Identify the problem(s) you’re trying to fix
To secure any additional funding or resource you’re going to need to compile a compelling business case. In order to do this, you have to understand the problem(s) you’re looking to address. Are we talking:
- Brand inconsistencies and mixed messaging?
- Inaccurate propositions and a tendency to oversell?
- A weak EVP or employer brand?
- Skills shortages around writing compelling copy for job adverts?
- Poor knowledge and investment in modern candidate attraction methodologies?
- A recruitment website that’s delivering poor candidate experience?
There’s a whole host of recruitment marketing based challenges that could be at play here. But, whatever the issue, data and metrics are going to be your friend for evidencing the need for investment.
2. Build a strategic alliance with your marketing function
Most businesses report a disconnect between their marketing and recruitment teams. And traditionally the functions have been viewed fairly separately. Some large organisations are lucky enough to have marketing expertise within their recruitment teams. However, the vast majority of organisations will not. It’s therefore important to build strategic alliances with one another and work collaboratively to ensure consistency and promote knowledge sharing.
Marketing needs to be brought on the journey and consulted with around key projects. They also need to fully understand the potential impact of getting recruitment marketing wrong. Are they aware of the breadth and scope of talent acquisition’s recruitment efforts? For example, do they know how many people are being reached across various recruitment campaigns? Have they considered if your candidates and talent pools are potential customers? Do they know what your recruitment process says about your business? These are all areas that need to be flagged with marketing when securing their buy-in for a cross-functional collaboration.
3. Upskill your recruitment team
One of the key challenges around getting your recruiters to operate like marketers is often a skills shortage. Recruitment professionals generally will not have received any marketing related training. It might be that your recruiters require some additional knowledge to help them effectively promote their jobs online. Or perhaps it’s your hiring managers that need to understand the principles of candidate experience? Do they know what’s expected of them and understand the importance of delivering a good candidate experience?
Have you considered running secondments between recruitment and marketing to help bridge the gap between the functions, develop a common language and share knowledge? Or perhaps offering a marketing apprenticeship scheme would be a relatively inexpensive way of upskilling your recruitment team?
4. Knuckle down your key messages
Any marketing function will have a series of key messages that help position them in the right way, to the right audience, at the right time. Recruitment should be no different. It’s talent acquisition’s responsibility to articulate exactly what you want a candidate to think and feel about you. What messages do you want to stick in their mind? It’s important to ensure they’re realistic and don’t set false-expectations. You’ll also need to think about how you develop and tailor these messages for the key audiences you’re looking to engage with. Here’s some things you might want to consider:
- Have you tapped into the true reasons people like working for your business and reflected them in your messaging?
- Is your careers website accurate and up to date?
- Are your interviewers clear on your key messages and talking about them during the hiring process?
- Are you being realistic about the fact that your business won’t be appealing to everyone? (it’s okay for it not to be!)
- Have you mapped out all your candidate touch-points? What’s being said at each stage? Remember that first impressions count!
5. Develop and promote talent acquisition’s internal brand
Finally, in order for the wider business to buy into the fact that recruitment is a ‘marketing-led function’ you need to get recognised and respected for what you do!
- Define your own internal brand: What is it that you want your function to be renowned for? Just like your employer brand needs consistent messaging, so does your function. For instance, if you want to be recognised for cost-saving, then you need to start evidencing this. Does your business understand the financial impact of the wrong hire and the steps that recruitment is taking to prevent it?
- Share your case studies: Start shouting about your hiring success stories! Who have you hired? What impact have they had on the business?
- Provide business updates: Provide your business with quarterly updates and reports. Keep it high-level, simple and visual. You need to be proud of what you’re achieving as a function. How many hires did you make last quarter? How have you contributed to the business’s diversity agenda? What cost-saving have you helped achieve?
- Go over and above with your service: The business expects you to be able to hire staff. So in order for you to earn additional respect, you need to think about other ‘value-adds’ and areas you can impact as a function. What line manager and candidate packs are you producing? How easy do you make it for stakeholders to be involved in the hiring process? Does your service feel organised and professional? Or is it occasionally a little haphazard?
All of the above will help elevate your function’s reputation and ensure that you’re being taken seriously for the work you’re delivering.