What’s Recruitment Marketing? 16 Tips to Get Top Talent to Notice You

Hey there, hiring manager. We see you. You have NO SMALL job.

Business is good and your employer wants new people. Nay, your employer NEEDS new people. Lack of quality talent is a top CEO concern these days, and it’s a leading factor constraining company growth.

You hear that? Talent shortage is the number one reason your company can’t grow.

No pressure. (ahem)

All eyes are on you these days. Your company is counting on you to fire up those referrals, widen the talent pool, push the pipeline. Oh, and would you lower turnover and “actualize” an apprenticeship program while you’re at it?

Businesses have never done as much hiring as they’re doing these days, and recruiting candidates has never been harder. These are disruptive times, and the happiest hiring managers are the ones who disrupt right along with them.

Hiring has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, particularly on the front end of recruitment. Job seekers have more options and control than ever before, and hiring the best candidates today means evolving beyond job ads.

You need to nurture passive candidates—you know, all those currently employed people who aren’t really looking for a job but could be convinced your grass is greener. And if things are really serious, you might even build a strategy to poach your competitors’ people. (Said it!)
Recruiter: You happy there? Candidate: Make me unhappy.

You’re looking for people who know a good career opportunity when they see one! But how, exactly, do you get them to “see” your opportunity when they’re not even looking? It starts with recruitment marketing.

What Is Modern Recruitment Marketing?

Recruitment marketing is about connecting with an audience in order to attract talent to your organization. It’s what happens before people apply for a job.

It’s not all technology and tools, either. Recruitment marketing involves all sorts of good human stuff like relationship building, lead nurturing, and employer branding to widen and strengthen a candidate pool.

Really, recruitment is marketing.

To set the stage, think of recruitment marketing like a funnel. The funnel is a model many marketers use to track the customer journey from awareness to purchase. But instead of modeling the customer journey, here we’re thinking about the candidate journey.
Funnel graph to show the hiring process

The focus in recruitment marketing is on the upper half of this funnel. Let’s break this down.

  • Awareness: At this stage, you’re helping job candidates learn about your organization as a potential employer. Your task here is to give people a glimpse into what it’s like to work for you. You’re sharing your culture and giving prospective employees (and customers too) insight into what makes you great.
  • Interest: Now that you’re on their radar, job seekers are ready to learn more about your organization. At this stage, they’re scoping out your careers page and following you on social media. They might even opt in to a recruiting newsletter to stay in the loop on future job opportunities. 
  • Consideration: In the consideration stage, the candidate is almost ready to apply. They’re in research mode, taking a deeper dive into your career content. They’re reading your job postings, researching employee review sites, and perhaps even reaching out to their network to see what friends have to say about your organization.

We know some marketing agencies like to flip *interest* and *consideration* in their funnels. We’re gonna go ahead and disagree. First you have to spark their interest before they consider whether or not to click apply.)

As you think about recruitment marketing, the funnel framework helps you think about the type of information your candidates want at each choice point in the journey.

6 Benefits of Employer Branding & 5 Planning Steps You Should Take Seriously!

At its heart, though, recruitment marketing can’t work without employer branding.

Your recruiters can only do so much. Your brand has a major impact on who applies to your organization. Is your brand … bland? Does it say evil corporate overlord? Or is it a story of community and purpose?

We’ve said it before: “If you want to attract the best brains to your company, tell them a story of why they will find fulfillment working with you.”

Branding is such a pervasive part of a company’s message, we don’t often notice it’s there. But it influences how we think and feel about an organization. The most attractive candidates have options, and they will weigh your brand story in their hiring decision. 

One study suggests as many as 75% of candidates will consider your brand before they apply. And according to Gallup, 36% of job seekers say a company's employer brand is the most important consideration in a potential new job. 

If your brand doesn’t appeal to what they care about, people might very well pass you up for one that does. After all, the best job candidates are choosing their employer—more than the other way around.

A strong, attractive employer brand is a surefire way to attain these 6 benefits:

  1. Attract the best people
  2. Lower recruiting costs
  3. Reduce time to hire
  4. Get noticed by passive candidates
  5. Boost company performance

But wait! The benefits don’t stop there. A strong employer brand lowers employee turnover too. Why’s that? Because employer branding isn’t all shine and marketing. It’s the real life culture that keeps people happy and engaged.

Ready to dive into all the juicy ideas waiting below? 

Hang with me for a sec more. Just a few words on planning. Because we’re not talking random acts of marketing here. If you want your recruitment marketing plan to really pack a punch, you want to get intentional.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

- Abraham Lincoln

Let’s start with these 5 planning steps:

  1. Dive into your existing brand: Survey employees. Read the online review sites. Talk to past employees and even job candidates who turned you down. Know what people are saying about your business.
  2. Discover your signature strength: Figure out where you shine. Find out why employees choose you and why they stay. That’s an authentic point of differentiation that can help you stand out. This becomes a key part of your unique employee value proposition.
  3. Define your needs: Map out your audience. Consider the kind of talent you need today and the jobs you’ll need filled in the future. Talent personas can help you visualize your ideal candidate and where they’re most likely to come from.
  4. Remember internal communication: Roll out your messaging to hiring managers as well as your other functional leaders. You need everyone on board, creating a consistent employee experience inside your organization and reinforcing the best parts of who you are.
  5. Market your message: Talk to your marketing team or get an outside marketing recruitment firm involved. You know talent, for sure. Now talk to the branding specialists who can make sure your messaging is persuasive and engaging.

16 Recruitment Marketing Ideas That Are So *Right Now*

So what’s a hiring manager recruitment marketer to do? Once you know who you are, and why your employees ❤️❤️ you, it's time to spread the word and get noticed.

Get in front of the best talent and get them to check you out. Think like a marketer and promote the value of working for your organization. When people are:

  • aware of your organization
  • attracted to what you stand for
  • and trust your culture matches your message …

… you'll attract top-notch candidates to fill your jobs faster. 

To do this, you'll need to build your storytelling skills and connect with people on a real (human) level. You'll also need to think strategically about your marketing channels, get diligent about execution, and measure it all to test your ROI. 

You can build these skills! We're here to help. For starters, here are 16 tips you need to consider incorporating in your own plans: 

1. Post Meaningful Content

 team photo and illustration of social media content blogging concepts including share, like, connect, content, and blog.

Build awareness through online content. Post to social and your own blog. And contribute to relevant media and industry news sites.

To develop a recruiting content calendar, think about all the activities going on in your organization that could spark someone’s interest in you as an employer.

  • Team-building events
  • Employee perks
  • Career development (conferences, training)
  •  *Wow* projects
  • Travel opportunities
  • Community sponsorships, giving back
  • Environmental stewardship

Incorporate employer brand content into your regular marketing calendar. Customers want to do business with good corporate citizens, just as much as job candidates want to work for them.

Encourage employees to share these experiences on their own social channels, too. (See #5

2. Have a Social Conversation

Authentic connection must be part of any digital marketing recruitment effort. Once you’ve published the content, stay involved. Respond to comments. Thank people for posting and sharing. If people see you’re present and engaged, they’re more likely to start a conversation—one that builds to connection.

3. Love On Your Career Pages

Your website is a key resource for potential job candidates. Make sure your career page is a main feature, not an afterthought.

This is the place to answer that essential WIIFT (what’s in it for them), with the kinds of information candidates want most. Tell ‘em about benefits and growth opportunities. Highlight your amazing facility and tell your culture story.

The Work at Trek page, for example, has some of the most detailed benefit information we’ve ever seen online. That and an oh-so-watchable culture video:

Johnsonville takes its career section to the next level with a dedicated microsite and pages of employee profiles, culture and benefits. (There’s even a direct link to their Glassdoor profile. (See #7

4. Share Employee Stories

Let your employees shine. 

Job seekers look to employee stories for trustworthy information on what it’s like to work in your organization. They want to see what real people have to say about you, and they’re looking to see themselves reflected in your workplace.

Kohler stands out with an inclusive, wide-reaching range of employee profiles ranging from corporate jobs like finance director to customer service and skilled trades: 

https://www.kohlercompany.com/careers/our-people/  

Share employee profiles, success stories, and video testimonials. When employees tag you on social, thank them and get the go-ahead to repost. Keep your ear to the ground and if you catch wind of a compelling story, ask your team member to help you share it with a wider audience.

You want employees to feel safe, so never force participation or manipulate the message. Authenticity wins the day.

More on this in #5.

5. Amplify Employee Ambassadors

employee with a megaphone spreading your brand message

Remind employees that their singular voices are an important part of how your company is perceived.

Don’t try to silence your “Negative Nancys” or “Downer Dans.” You’ll have better results activating your positive contributors. Pull your “Positive Petes” aside and ask them to be vocal advocates for your organization.

Just to be clear: This doesn’t mean sending an email out to all your employees and asking them to leave a (cough, cough: positive) online review. Create the kind of culture that makes employees want to talk you up.

Some tips for activating those employer brand advocates:

  • Ask for stories during annual reviews or stay interviews
  • Give out branded swag to encourage company pride
  • Say “thank you” when you see an employee sending good vibes your way
  • Offer training on what makes a good social post
  • Reinforce and repeat: “Your voices matter. You are our best advocates.”
  • Create a company culture hashtag, (e.g., #DeloitteLife, #TargetVolunteers, #IWorkForDell) and promote it at internal company events

6. Connect with Your Alums

Your previous employees—those that retired and as well as those that left for other jobs—can be valuable parts of your recruitment network. Stay connected, via social or email newsletters, and ask your alums to help refer good candidates.

You may recruit some “comeback colleagues” along the way. Former employees may be lured back as new jobs and growth opportunities open up. Think about retirees as a source of temporary seasonal staff or short-term project consultants, too.

revolving door image suggests some ex-employees return as new hires

7. Get Active on Employee Review Sites

There’s a growing need to manage your reputation at employer review sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, kununu, and Fairygodboss. How you show up and participate on these sites can turbocharge your recruitment strategy.

The first part is easy: Claim your company profile and build it out. Upload a few photos that really show off your dynamic facilities or company culture and outline your benefits.

Now, tackle the real challenge: Respond to employee reviews, good and bad. Show job seekers that you appreciate and care about employee feedback. Criticism is uncomfortable, but job seekers will see value in a company that takes the time to respond.

Georgia-Pacific, for example, has a well-developed Glassdoor profile, and company representatives actively respond to employee comments.

screenshot reads: Thanks for leaving a review! I’m glad your overall experience was positive. I will pass along your concerns.

8. Encourage Resume Drops

Offer a way for people to submit their resume, even if you don’t have a job opening for them right now. This lets you know you have people who are sincerely interested in working for YOUR organization, not just landing any available job.

But the key thing here is actually do something with those resumes; most companies that do this put them in a physical or digital file, never to review them again. Don’t ask for something you don’t have a plan to use.

Breakthrough, an energy technology company, gives just such encouragement in an FAQ section on ​their careers page:

recruiting screenshot reads: You might not see an exact fit at the moment, but we’d still love to hear from you.

9. Keep It Simple

Don’t let a long, complicated application process scare off would-be applicants. According to CareerBuilder, 1 in 5 candidates won’t complete an application if it takes more than 20 minutes. Similar research from Appcast found you increase conversion rates by 365% when you keep the online application process to five minutes or less.

Streamline your application process to make it as easy as possible. Think you’ve got it? Test yourself. Ask a few friends to try out the online application. Did it work as they expected? Any broken links or confusion? User testing is a way to catch mistakes and opportunities that people super close to a project can unintentionally miss.

10. Get Mobile Friendly

Young man with mobile phone, possibly searching for jobs online.

Mobile job search is here. According to Glassdoor, 52% of mid-career workers search for jobs on their mobile phone. And the numbers skew considerably higher for blue collar jobs. That’s a lot of job seekers applying via mobile devices, and you don’t want to miss out.

Be sure your application experience works just as well on mobile as it does on a desktop. Hint: Use a platform that lets candidates upload their resume from Google Drive or Dropbox.

(More on mobile in #11.)

11. Get Listed on Google for Jobs

Google aggregates job postings from across the web into one handy Google for Jobs search feature. Make sure Google can find your open positions by using the necessary HTML coding, and structure your data to be Google friendly. (Google tells you how.)

Mobile-friendly site design matters here, too. If your site isn’t set up responsively for mobile, Google is liable to ghost you, meaning your jobs won’t even appear to candidates searching from a phone or tablet.

Looking to make some bacon? Search for butcher jobs and you might get a results pane like this:

sample Google for Jobs search result for butcher shop associates.

12. Try a New Social Channel

It’s more important than ever to meet your candidates where they’re at. You may already have your Facebook and LinkedIn strategies under control, and those tools are great for certain audiences. But if your ideal talent pool skews younger or less professional, it’s time to look at other platforms.

Instagram, SnapChat and TikTok could hold new potential. McDonald’s, Taco Bell and JP Morgan are just a few employers recruiting via SnapChat. And the U.S. and British militaries have both experimented with TikTok for recruiting.

13. Geofence Your Competitors

Illustration of geo fencing

Target them where they work. Need a specialty skill that’s always in short supply (like welders in this sample ad above)? Set up geofencing parameters in apps like SnapChat, Google Ads, or Facebook to market to users within a very limited geographic area (a few miles).

Don’t forget that in order to entice them to consider leaving their current company, you need a strong employer brand message, one that speaks to what’s in it for them and its emotional appeal (work that makes a difference in people’s lives), and less about pay and benefits (table stakes these days).

Recruiters might geofence a college campus, an industry conference, or a competitor’s facility, for example. It can be an affordable way to zone in (literally) on a highly targeted talent pool.

alt tag: map and phone illustration shows hiring ad that appears within a geographic boundary)

14. Create a Lead Generator

Give people a compelling reason to sign up for your jobs newsletter, aka your talent network. Create ebooks, quizzes, or guides that help people advance their career in your industry. Offer these tools as a downloadable resource on your site in exchange for their email.

Then continue to nurture their interest with career tips via automated emails with insider looks into your company culture and job openings.  

15. Track, Monitor, and Measure

Traditional recruitment tracking happens once the candidate opens an application. Companies are most likely to track things like time to hire, acceptance rate, and candidate experience. That’s all valuable information you can collect and act upon.

What recruiters are tracking (via Beamery):
Recruitment tracking via beamery.com

Move up the funnel though, and there’s all kinds of insight that could make you a stronger recruitment marketer. Tracking social engagement, for example, can help you understand what people are saying about you online and how compelling they find your messaging. 

If you’re not ready to invest in a robust applicant tracking system, talk to your marketing team about their lead tracking tools. Google Analytics can tell you a lot about how candidates are getting to your careers page. And each social platform has their own metrics to help you track engagement.

Start with a manageable approach and focus on information you can use to make your outreach better.

16. Say It and Spray It

Audit your communication channels. Are you using every opportunity to promote your job opportunities? Add a quick “Join our talent network” or “If you like this, you’ll love working with us” message at the footer of newsletters, blog posts, and social channels.

Consider a short hiring promo video that employees can include in their email signature, too. Include a call to action and a link to your careers page. Encourage candidates to sign up for job alerts, follow you on social media, or subscribe to your talent newsletter.

Recruitment tech firm Beamery added a flag to their main navigation, so every site visitor knows they’re looking:

Nav menu of beamery.com

The Final Word in Recruitment Marketing … One Word to Rule Them All

Digital billboard has a thought bubble that says: Keep It Real.

Ready to spread the good word? Choose even one or two recruitment marketing strategies and get started. Build your skills and your systems and the momentum will grow.

Above all, be REAL. Tell an authentic story about your company culture. No fibs, no fabrications, no strrrrreching reality.

Figure out what your employees like best about working for you, and then go out and target candidates who want your distinct kind of vibes. 

Ready to be a recruitment marketing rock star?

Yes, you are ready! You now have a solid grounding in the whyfor and where-how to kickoff an effective recruitment marketing strategy that will bring interested, engaged candidates to your doors. 

Take some time to explore your authentic employee experience, find your signature strengths, and then shape your plan. Soon, you'll be connecting with would-be employees who hear something meaningful in your message. And, when you attract people who want the specific culture and benefits you have on offer, you do more than fill jobs today—you attract candidates most likely to stay. 

Imaginasium helps companies recruit and retain through employer branding and recruitment marketing strategies. Reach out to learn more about how we can help attract more quality talent to your authentic employer brand.

See more posts about Employer Recruiting/Retention​ Communications​

About the author:

Jennifer Fietz

As a client strategist at Imaginasium, Jen is always eager to dig in and get to know our clients’ challenges, their customers and their markets. She thrives on solving the tough problems, working side-by-side with our team and our clients to find a unique and effective way to move their business forward. Jen is driven by results and works tirelessly to make sure any solution we propose is fully aligned with a client’s business and strategic goals. As much as big-picture strategy energizes her, Jen is most passionate about building strong relationships with our clients. Her deep experience in multiple B2B and B2C sectors forms a strong foundation for valuable, long-term partnerships that consistently help our clients uncover new opportunities.