How to Bring Recruiters in Line With Your Employer Branding Strategy

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Where did all the recruiters go? It’s a question plaguing the industry as recruiting and search firms struggle to hire recruiters amid labor market shortages. In fact, by the end of 2021, open positions for recruiters had more than doubled  since the year before.

So what gives? The pay is pretty good: Newly minted tech recruiters can make upward of $116,000 annually , depending on the location, and an HR specialist can make up to $76,000 . But when everyone and their uncle is trying to hire a recruiter (or ten), employers who want to stand out will have to give recruiters a better reason to stick around.

As understaffed firms struggle to meet their clients’ demands and employers accelerate their pace of hiring, recruiter stress couldn’t be higher. But the problem isn’t just a lack of bodies; it’s also a lack of recruitment support. Recruiters are often seen as order takers or administrative aid rather than purveyors of a business’s most important asset: people. Then, it makes sense why many burned-out recruiters left the industry last year .

Think of it this way: If you treated your top salespeople like throwaway team members, how long do you think they’d stick around? Similarly, a good recruiter can mean the difference between a business growing and grinding to a halt. It would be a terrible mistake to overlook or undervalue their ability to attract suitable candidates and build affinity and a relationship that persuades them to join your ranks.

To build a recruiting team that is equipped to work intentionally and strategically — and one that has the support it needs — take the following steps:

1. Employ Empathy Mapping

In recruitment, creating a superior candidate experience is often considered priority No. 1. Recruiters spend a ton of time empathy mapping to design a candidate experience that wins over the best job seekers. What is an empathy map? In short, it’s a collaborative visualization that’s used to articulate what you know about a particular type of candidate.

Empathy mapping is an essential exercise in understanding your ideal candidate. Still, when the scale is tipped so far in favor of the candidate experience, the recruiter experience often falls by the wayside. Recruiters end up so overburdened that they cannot deliver on the vision of the candidate experience.

To right this wrong, conduct an empathy mapping exercise from the recruiter’s perspective: What are they hearing? What are they seeing? How do they feel? What do they think? Ask yourself these questions and show recruiters that you’re thinking about what it’s like to be in their shoes. Then, explore how you can create more buy-in so they feel valued. Like any other employee, they want to have greater psychological ownership of their work.

2. Involve Recruiters in Employer Branding Discussions

Recruiters are often the sole representatives of your employer brand during the hiring process. So it makes sense to give them a reputation to live up to and equip them with the tools and resources they need to represent the company well. Enter the employer brand. A strong employer brand adds a layer of consistency in how recruiters reach out to and engage with candidates, including the stories they tell and the information they share.

But it’s not enough to hand this tool down from the C-suite. To get the best results, you need to fold recruiters into the process of building the employer brand. Show them that you care about their point of view. More important, make sure that your point of view is directly reflected in your employer brand itself.

They’re hearing and seeing things at the sharp end of the recruitment process — including why people don’t join your organization and what the current market thinks of your competitors — that the C-suite isn’t privy to. That’s valuable information. Plus, baking your recruitment team’s insights into your employer brand engenders that buy-in we just discussed. They’ll be more engaged and open to using the language and framework you’ve given them because they were part of its creation.

3. Allow Your Employer Brand to Do Some of the Heavy Lifting

In the past, a significant indicator of your employer brand’s success was an increase in the volume of applicants. But when recruiters are buried under a mountain of applications, that criterion quickly loses its luster. Instead, you need to measure the success of your employer branding strategy by its ability to deter candidates in the job market.

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but an organized, clear employer brand can repel unqualified candidates clogging up the pipeline and filter out people who aren’t ideal cultural matches. As a result, it will take some of the load off your stressed-out recruitment team. Rather than wasting time interviewing candidates who aren’t a good fit, your recruiters can talk to a higher percentage of valued applicants. Your recruitment process will be more efficient, consistent, and effective.

We’re currently seeing a huge need for more recruiters in the industry. Still, if we hope to fix the recruiter shortage truly, company leaders need to think about their recruiters differently. That means appreciating them for the invaluable work they do and arming them with the tools and resources they need to shine and succeed in their roles.

Bryan Adams is the CEO and founder of Ph.Creative , a global employer branding agency.


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By Bryan Adams