Let’s get this out of the way right at the start – yes, I’m biased! I moved from in-house recruitment to marketing, so I’ve seen both sides of the coin. My own personal journey into marketing started mainly out of necessity – working in places with either a disconnect between the recruitment and marketing teams or in small companies where both functions were still small and stretched for both manpower and budget.
Of course, I also worked in places where recruitment and marketing worked perfectly together and reaped the benefits of a joined-up recruitment marketing plan ( R.I.P Honda of the UK Manufacturing!!) which saw recruitment and marketing work in synergy to increase headcount by 2500!
But, personal biases aside, recruitment marketing is now a critical part of recruitment. With 86% of HR professionals saying that recruitment is becoming more like marketing, and more budget being spent on marketing outside of the traditional job adverts and LinkedIn licences each year, making sure your internal recruitment and marketing teams are collaborating is crucial.
If your recruitment team isn’t at least talking to your marketing function regularly, you are missing out on key opportunities to shave both time and money from the recruitment process. Let’s look at why…
Why is marketing important in recruitment?
A big part of any recruitment process is the ‘attraction’ phase. Most people think of the attraction phase in the traditional ‘contingency’ recruitment model; you get a role you go out and find people to fill it through job adverts, job boards, LinkedIn etc.
In reality, the attraction phase is now much more like a traditional B2B or B2C marketing model. It doesn’t run from when a job is signed off; it runs right the way from brand awareness and funnels people in at various points of the ‘buying process’ using different channels.
With many industries increasingly becoming candidate-led (where the number of vacancies exceeds the number of active candidates) and the number of recruiters at an all-time high, the need to look outside the traditional approaches to candidate attraction has never been clearer. But recruitment is a busy job, and attraction is only one part of the role – if your internal recruiter has ten roles, chances are they will have a lot of other plates spinning as it is – which is where marketing’s expertise comes in.
Nurturing candidates through this entire marketing funnel is more crucial than ever. Research by Hubspot says that businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales while spending 33% less. We often view recruitment as working outside of the typical sales and marketing bubble, but in a candidate-driven market nurturing candidates is essential and the best way to do this is using these methods already open to you, methods that your business is likely already doing to nurture customers. Obviously, once they are in the funnel, there is often a lot more human interaction than in a typical sales process, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t augment it with things like regular emails, white papers etc.
Marketing can help develop your presence across the channels recruiters don’t traditionally spend a lot of time – like the website, PPC advertising, and blogs – creating material that will help bring in people with the right skill sets. Marketing can also help by improving the material recruiters put out on their traditional channels, like LinkedIn, by providing videos, brochures and images that a recruiter might not have the time to create themselves.
Is recruitment becoming more like marketing?
This is an oft-quoted phrase – but is it true? Well, yes, it is. But while recruiters are required to become more marketing savvy, they still don’t need to be marketing experts.
A good internal recruiter needs an understanding of how social media algorithms work; they need to understand their audience and how to talk to them, and where they need to advertise to attract the right people. They also need to understand the wider business marketing strategy – so they can talk in the same tone of voice in job adverts and ensure the branding and imagery is consistent with the rest of the company’s output.
But, equally, your recruiter’s time and skills probably aren’t best spent creating a shiny corporate video, for example. By bringing marketing and recruitment together, you can combine the skills of both, so your job adverts have the technical experience of the recruiter with the flair of a creative expert.
But how do we get to the point where marketing and recruitment are working closer together?
How can marketing and recruitment work closer
Recruitment is a strategic function – I will die on this hill! Treating recruitment like an administration function means recruitment isn’t involved in any strategic discussions or decision-making.
The knock-on effect of this is, recruitment and marketing rarely get to collaborate on a strategic level. There is no joined-up thinking at the top between the two functions, so collaboration between the teams is going to be sporadic and on a case-by-case basis where one or the other is usually called in as a last resort to ‘fix’ something.
Bringing recruitment into discussions at the top table allows for better opportunities to spot ways recruitment and marketing can collaborate to help a company reach its growth targets. Getting a wider strategic picture allows both functions to think about how they can proactively run joint initiatives, plan budgets and even piggyback on the other team’s projects if appropriate. What’s that – you’re running a massive email marketing campaign, wouldn’t it be great if you could include our careers page somewhere on the template?
If recruitment is seen as a strategic function, collaboration becomes easier from the top down. Set regular catch-ups with the marketing and recruitment managers to discuss plans. And, as these plans form, the teams end up working together on deliverables, removing even more barriers to successful collaboration. It’s a virtuous circle!
Return on investment and measurement
Sharing doesn’t just end at ideas either – to be most effective everything you do needs to be measured and tweaked depending on what the data is telling you. So, sharing data between teams is also important.
Marketing should be sharing website traffic stats, conversion figures on campaigns etc. to show the most effective ways of attracting candidates. Likewise, recruitment needs to be sharing placement data, attrition stats and working out where placements came from – so a true return on your investment can be worked out and future budgets can be put to the most effective channels.
It can be a frustrating experience for both teams if they don’t have a full picture – the marketing team will feel like they are wasting their time filling the funnel with good candidates and never hearing the results and recruitment will feel the marketing efforts aren’t paying off if they are just getting candidates appearing in their inbox or applying to adverts. In reality, the stats show that an average candidate needs between 12 and 18 interactions with a company before deciding to apply – so without that visibility, it’s hard to know if that perfect candidate who just landed actually came from – what interactions they’ve had along the way.
- So, recruitment marketing is not only better for recruitment; it’s also better for the business as a whole.
- Effective recruitment marketing can cut both time and cost of a hire while also improving the quality of the hire thanks to longer awareness and engagement periods between the candidate and employer.
- But, while your recruiters need to be more marketing savvy in order to execute their recruitment strategy, they don’t need to become marketing people.
- Instead, remove the barriers between recruitment and marketing – get them working more closely by involving them at a strategic level and encouraging an environment of sharing skills, knowledge and data.
At The Small Consultancy, we understand the importance that marketing plays in nurturing the best talent long-term for your growing business. We work closely to integrate with marketing to make sure our recruitment marketing investments talk to the right people using the most effective channels.
If you are a start-up without an internal recruitment or marketing function – we even have our own marketing resources to help.