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Recruitment used to be a fairly transactional process. A recruiter would receive an open job from a client, find a candidate who met the requirements, and submit the candidate to the client. The end.

These days, that transactional approach is a surefire way to repel top talent. Instead, many recruiters are adopting a new set of strategies and practices collectively referred to as “recruitment marketing.”

What Is Recruitment Marketing?

Recruitment marketing refers to the process of “selling” an employer and/or an open job to a candidate. In contrast to the transactional approach, recruitment marketing involves directly engaging with candidates and actively convincing them that a given opening is right for them.

Recruitment marketing takes many different forms. Well-crafted and well-promoted job ads are recruitment marketing efforts. Employer branding — the art of promoting an organization as a great place to work by playing up its culture, mission, values, and benefits — is a recruitment marketing effort. Social media posts that showcase an employer’s recent projects, initiatives, and awards are recruitment marketing efforts.

Essentially, any activity that 1.) makes an employer or role more attractive to candidates and 2.) is designed to attract candidates to you can be categorized as a recruitment marketing effort.

Adopting the Marketer’s Mindset

A key component of successful recruitment marketing is the adoption of what is often called the “marketer’s mindset.”

That means recruiters need to start thinking and acting like marketers. Instead of seeing candidates as resumes to submit, they must see candidates in the way that marketers see consumers: as a population to be wooed, impressed, and won over.

Why must recruiters do this? Because today’s candidates expect more from the recruiting process. In part, this is a matter of shifting demographics: As millennials and Gen. Z-ers enter the workforce, they bring with them new expectations for how they will be treated by employers and recruiters.

magnifyingThere are other factors at play, too: Social media and employer review websites like Glassdoor allow candidates to trade stories about experiences good and bad, which can boost or damage an employer’s reputation. A company with a good reputation attracts more talent; a company with a bad reputation struggles to fill roles with qualified people.

Finally, unemployment is quite low at the moment, which means candidates wield more power in the job market. They can be choosier about where they decide to work. That means recruiters have to pull out all the stops to convince candidates to choose their clients.

Ideal Candidate Profiles: The Recruitment Marketer’s Primary Tool

Before setting out on a campaign, a marketer will identify their target audience. They then craft their messaging to appeal particularly to this demographic.

Recruiters need to do the same, which is why many savvy recruitment marketers craft ideal candidate profiles before promoting their roles. These are profiles that outline what the perfect candidate will look like.

To craft an ideal candidate profile, begin by thinking about what the role requires. Then, look at previous employees who have succeeded in the same role. Determine the qualities that helped them succeed. Combine all of this information to create the profile.

Some criteria your candidate profile should include:

  1. Location
  2. Education and certification
  3. Previously held roles
  4. Technical skills and soft skills
  5. Level of seniority
  6. Values
  7. Personality traits
  8. Company culture preferences

Using Your Ideal Candidate Profiles to Market Roles and Clients

Once you’ve identified your ideal candidate, you can use the profile to guide your marketing efforts.

For example, when working with a client to craft a job ad, you’ll want to write the ad specifically to appeal to the ideal candidate. Some considerations:

  1. What language would the candidate use? Use a tone and vocabulary that would appeal to them.
  2. What qualifications will the candidate have? List those qualifications in the ad.
  3. What values does the candidate hold? Demonstrate those values in the ad.
  4. What perks, benefits, or other forms of compensation will appeal to the candidate? Stress those in the ad.
  5. Where is the candidate likely to spend time on the internet? Where is the candidate most likely to see the ad? Post the ad to the social media sites, job boards, and other platforms through which it is likely to reach the candidate.

Similarly, your ideal candidate profile will guide your employer branding techniques:

  1. What kind of messaging will most appeal to the candidate? A straightforward job ad? A vlog series showcasing the experiences of current employees? The announcement of a recent award? Identify the messaging that will most resonate with your ideal candidate.
  2. What medium should you use? Would your ideal candidate prefer a photo essay on a recent company outing, or a company blog that tracks industry news and trends? Leverage the medium your ideal candidate is most likely to follow.
  3. How does your candidate prefer to receive news and updates? Via email? Phone? Social media?
  4. What aspects of the role or company does your ideal candidate emphasize most? Professional development opportunities? Company culture? The company’s mission? Recent projects? Play up the most relevant concerns in all of your marketing messages.

While the concept of recruitment marketing may seem daunting, it’s actually fairly simple in action. Think like a marketer, identify your target audience, and tailor your messaging accordingly. Follow these steps, and you’ll be building valuable pools of qualified, interested talent in no time.



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