Recruiters are Now Marketers (So Start to Think Like One!)

By Tanya Williams - Dec. 16, 2016
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Tanya Williams. Her opinions are her own.
At first glance, recruiting and marketing may not seem to have a lot in common. However dig a bit deeper and you will see that today’s potential candidates employ the same tactics when searching for a new job as today’s consumers do when searching for new products.
If you are a recruiter you should be seeing that your clients and candidates are driving change. Gone are the days where you can just reach out to potential candidates on LinkedIn or post an ad on a job board.
You need to create value for candidates as they are more selective about who they work for and the rewards they want to receive. You need to add value and provide education just like you would marketing a product, except in this situation the product is a person.

Why is recruitment like marketing?

As a recruiter you need to stand out, be different and use new or different channels to find your audience and start real conversations with them. Just like a marketer!
In our digitally connected world, recruiters are now marketers and need to think and act as such. At a minimum you need to think like a candidate who moves between multiple screens every day.
Recruitment is all about using marketing tactics to attract, hire and retain candidates and clients. This includes social media, content marketing, email nurturing, mobile, websites, SEO, blogs, video, referrals, employer branding, events, data analytics and metrics.
Your job as a recruiter is to turn an applicant into a hire, just like converting a marketing lead into a sale.

The changing recruitment environment

Clients and candidates are mobile, social and want personal relevant information given to them on their communication channel of choice served on their device of choice. 75% of professionals are passive and the way people search and apply for jobs is changing. Which means you need to know where, how and when to communicate with them to be a really successful recruiter.
The marketer in you, needs to understand your audience and know how to reach them using personal, relevant conversations.
The biggest mistake I see in the recruitment industry is that people just do what their competitors do and don’t understand the changing nature of their roles and responsibilities as recruiters.
There is also the old school mentality of ‘this is the way it has always been done’ which is such as small way of thinking. Start using your green brain and consider tactics being used in other industries perhaps or most importantly start to look at your data to understand your own audience.
Start to think like a marketer would.
There is a shift in the marketplace that is being driven by candidates who have a lot of choices available to them. You are fighting for their attention! Today’s candidates want more inspiration, purpose, cultural fit and entertainment. Your market is competing for the same talent so you need to impress, just like on a first date.
Having a strong employer brand, showcasing your existing staff and why they love working for you and making it easy for potential new hires to interact with your brand are the new norm in recruitment marketing.  
Having a Brand Employee Engagement Program is vital to ensuring that your current staff, who are your biggest asset, also become your biggest brand advocates and in essence a marketer for your company. Your current staff are a massive asset when it comes to attracting quality candidates for roles.
It is your job as a recruiter to have an online presence and to build your digital visibility to allow you to become part of the communities where your potential clients and candidates spend their valuable time. In essence you need to have a marketing mentality.
Digital technology has changed the playing field forever and if you are not in the game, you won’t be in the recruitment game for long.

Why is this so critical?

A recent study by Robert Half HR consulting found bad hires can cost companies in many ways including productivity and team morale, with supervisors spending on average 17% of their time managing poorly performing employees.
Hiring the right staff is therefore critical and worth the effort up front. By spending additional time at the start of the process you are not only going to get better quality candidates you will have a much happier client.
Proactive, rather than reactive, recruiting should be the new norm allowing recruiters to attract talent through channels like consistent employee branding, social media and sharing videos around company culture, all of which are very important to job seekers.
The new mobile workforce expect a seamless experience between screens so ensuring you deliver this on your digital channels will also mean maximising the dollars you are spending on marketing to generate these new candidate leads.
Recruitment marketing starts from creating a brand presence, to attracting candidates through multiple advertising channels, to nurturing applicants by bringing them through a talent acquisition funnel.

‘Word of click’ replaces word of mouth

If word of mouth has been the best form of marketing up to now,  then ‘word of click’ has now taken over. Your marketing channels are increasingly more digitally focused, your staff and passive candidate market are active on digital and your clients also have an expectation that you would be building strong online communities. In our digital world, it only takes the click of a mouse to share, engage, comment, review, post and interact.
Digital is just another marketing channel to have real human connections, start conversations and build your profile to more potential candidates and clients 24/7. To break through the noise you need to think and act differently.

It starts with a change in mindset

If you manage a recruitment team, it is your responsibility to ensure your team is digitally savvy and understands the marketing process. Help them be better at their job through ongoing education and training programs.
Today, with access to unprecedented information online, buyers complete 70% of the buying process before they even make contact with a person. Great companies are built with great people. 
Having dedicated digital technology and tools can help you gain a competitive advantage in the market which makes it a worthwhile investment for this and many of the reasons I have already outlined.
The internet changed the way that candidates search for jobs in almost exactly the same way it changed the buyer’s journey. In a Google-first world, your employer brand is more important than ever before.
You can apply the same savvy tactics as today’s top marketers to reach candidates (and especially passive candidates) at the various stages of what we’re going to call the candidate’s journey.
Or you can continue to do the same thing you always have and find yourself becoming redundant in the process. I know which choice I would make.

Tanya has over 20 years experience in digital, marketing & sales and specialises in helping recruiters become more visible across digital channels to get more qualified candidates & clients. Her job is to build your digital footprint to make it easy for prospects to find you.


Tanya Williams

Tanya has over 20 years experience in digital, marketing & sales and specialises in helping recruiters become more visible across digital channels to get more qualified candidates & clients. Her job is to build your digital footprint to make it easy for prospects to find you.

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