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Why Recruiting Has Become More Like Marketing

Ask any business owner what the most frustrating part of their job is and the majority will tell you recruiting. Despite the critical importance of recruiting to growing a business, many avoid spending the necessary time to do it well. 

Unfortunately, it’s only getting harder with an increasingly competitive labor market that has made the ability to hire the biggest limitation on the growth potential for most businesses. 

Part of the problem is that what it takes to be great at recruiting has changed in the last few years and not everyone has updated their approach to match the new reality. 

If that sounds familiar, read on to learn why recruiting is partially a marketing problem and what you should do to improve your results and make more hires. 

Why is Recruiting like Marketing? 

Simply put, job applicants are your internal customers and the jobs you are promoting are the products you’re selling to them. To attract the best candidates, you need to market to them as intentionally as you market to your external customers. 

The more people that see your recruitment marketing, the more applicants you can review and select from. 

If you’re like most business owners, you probably recruit by posting an ad on Indeed and hope you get some good applicants to make a hire. 

A major reason it’s difficult to attract enough applicants is that only a small number of people ever see job postings organically. 

On average only 20% of job seekers are actively looking for a job, and of those, a significantly smaller percentage view your job postings. Therefore if you only post your jobs on job boards like Indeed, you miss out on the other 80% of the market who are more passive but may still be interested in your job opportunities. 

To change that, you need to increase your audience size by broadcasting your jobs in more places than the typical job board.

Marketing to job applicants relies on the same principles as marketing to customers. 

  • First, you need to know your target demographic/ideal candidate, including where to find them and what they want in a job. 
  • Then craft an appealing and convincing marketing message to capture their interest. 
  • Lastly, set a budget for what you are willing to spend to get in front of that target demographic and choose where to invest the budget for the best results. 

How to Get Started

If you don’t know where to start, the first step in approaching recruiting more like marketing is to invest time in elevating and amplifying your employment brand. 

Your employment brand is the reputation/image of what it’s like to work for your company. 

Anyone who uses NiceJob to generate and promote customer reviews knows the impact customer reputation management has on marketing and sales results. 

A positive employer brand and employer reputation have the same impact on recruitment and retention. 

The challenge most companies have is they focus solely on their reputation with customers and haven't thought enough about how to promote their reputation with candidates and employees. 

This statistic demonstrates why your employer brand/reputation is so important:

86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings to decide where to apply for a job (source: Glassdoor).

Step 1: Create and Promote a Compelling EVP 

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) articulates the value a company offers to employees in return for the value they bring to the business. More simply, it answers the question: Why would someone want to work for you? 

These are the reasons an applicant would pick your business over a different company. Your EVP should combine your ideal candidate's priorities with what your company actually provides for employees.

To develop your EVP, make time to speak with your employees to understand why they like working for you and what is most important to them. 

This information will help you identify and promote the unique benefits of your job compared to the competition. Highlighting your employee’s real experience will make it more authentic and appealing to applicants.

Once you’ve identified your EVP, you should promote it in your job ads, on your career site, and in other recruitment marketing. 

Step 2: Create or Update Your Career Site

In the same way that your company website is built to convince potential customers that you have the perfect solution for their needs, the purpose of a career page is to persuasively market jobs at your company to potential employees. 

It’s a place to showcase open roles, employee testimonials/stories, aspects of your company culture, and why it’s great to work here (the EVP). Each of these sections can be included on your career page.

All applicants should be forwarded to this page so they are seeing one cohesive branded message that drives them to apply for your open jobs. 

Build it with your ideal candidate in mind to help them make an informed decision about how they would fit at your company. When done right it will convert more visitors into applicants.

Step 3: Promote Your Recruiting Message

When you’ve got a compelling EVP and an informative career site, it’s time to do more recruitment marketing to increase awareness and show candidates the career potential at your company. Here are 3 ways to promote your employment brand:

  1. Employee Referrals: Actually Provide a Great Place to Work

The best hires typically come from referrals through current employees who are happily promoting your company to their network. 

If you take care of your employees and create a positive working environment they can do the majority of the recruiting for you. 

As your employment brand and recruitment marketing comes together you can validate it with your current team and ask them to share content through their social media. In addition, paying bonuses for employee referrals that lead to hires is a great incentive to drive this behavior. 

The best businesses focus more on improving the quality of the jobs they provide (the product) first before investing time and money into building their employer branding. If you create a better job/product it becomes easier to attract and retain the right people.

  1. Indeed / Glassdoor Company Pages

Company Pages on Indeed and Glassdoor enable businesses to build and promote their employer brand/reputation to a wider audience. Companies with detailed profiles and positive reviews attract more qualified applicants because they build more trust with authentic employee validation. 

Warning: more than half of job seekers avoid companies after reading negative reviews about a company on Indeed or Glassdoor, so if your business isn’t a great place to work, it can just as easily earn a reputation that costs you applicants and hires. 

To get started claim or update your company page on these review sites and encourage your employees to share their positive feedback.

  1. Social Media Marketing

Leveraging the power of social media for hiring is becoming increasingly important as people spend more of their time on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. That’s because social media offers the opportunity to network, connect, and share your jobs with a far wider range of people than just through job posting boards. 

If you’re not already looking for candidates on social media, you should be because they’re looking for you there. 

Glassdoor reports that 79% of job applicants use social media in part of their job search, which is why more companies are making recruitment marketing a bigger part of their social media strategy.

Conclusion 

If you want to win in today’s competitive labor market, it’s time to start thinking about recruiting in the same way you think about marketing. 

  • Start treating your job applicants like potential customers. 
  • Market your business to them intentionally. 
  • Sell them on the benefits of the job you’re hiring for and what makes it different from the other companies they’ve worked for. 
  • Nurture and broadcast your employment brand as widely as possible.

Recruiting will always be a challenging part of growing your business but if you follow this advice you should experience a significant shift in the number and quality of the people you attract to join your team. 

Jordan Tait is a business coach, consultant, and Partner in Trailblaze Partners. He helps companies dramatically improve their recruiting and retention by focusing on culture, employment branding, recruitment process, and recruiter training.

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