Here’s an interesting statistic: 86% of HR professionals agree that HR is becoming a lot more like marketing. There’s been a shift in the industry that requires HR professionals to put on their marketing hats in order to get the very best talent in their pipelines.
You may not be selling a product or service to customers. However, you’re still selling something: your company. You need to convince talent that you’re the right place to work, while finding a way to stand out from all of the other employers who are trying to do that very same thing.
“But, I’m not a marketing whiz!” you’re thinking now, “I work in human resources!”
Don’t panic just yet. Even if you don’t consider yourself a marketer, there are still some things you can do to apply some tried and true marketing approaches to the recruitment process.
How? Well, during our recent webinar, we picked the brains of some of the best people in the business.
Laura Bilazarian, CEO and Co-founder of Teamable, Alex Duell, Director of Recruiting at Beamery, and our own Melissa Matlins, VP of Marketing here at The Muse, chatted about everything you need to know to think more like a marketer and get your employer brand out in front of both active and passive talent.
1. Be Proactive and Strategic
Step back for a moment and think about the very goal of marketing: to get your company and product/service in front of a target audience, rather than waiting for them to stumble upon it.
Duh, right? As simple as it might seem, that’s the first marketing principle that you need to apply to your recruitment efforts. You need to be as proactive as possible, and that involves hashing out a real strategy for talent attraction.
Yesterday’s recruiters relied on a “smile and dial” type of approach. They blanketed the world in cold calls and generic LinkedIn messages. But any outreach does not equal good outreach.
The people leaders who are really knocking their recruiting efforts out of the park recognize the importance of mapping out their talent experience from attraction to retention, and then figuring out how to proactively and effectively target and engage candidates in each stage of the hiring funnel, including above the funnel, before a candidate has even applied.
2. Develop Target Personas
A key piece of being proactive is having a solid grasp on exactly the type of talent you’re aiming to attract. You probably already have personas for your ideal customers, and you should do the same thing for your ideal candidates.
One of the best places to start when building talent personas is to speak with the employees who are currently in those roles. Because they work in the trenches, they’ll have invaluable insights into what qualities are needed to be successful in that position—which will help you craft a far more detailed persona.
So, what will developing these ideal talent profiles accomplish for you? With that knowledge in your back pocket, you can apply your recruitment efforts where they’ll have the most impact.
After all, knowing that you need to hire a multi-lingual, outgoing sales representative who’s comfortable operating independently will help you focus your efforts far more than simply stating that you need a “salesperson.”
3. Utilize Employee Storytelling
The best marketers are expert storytellers, because stories are what resonate with people best. It’s why so many brands rely on everyday spokespeople to spread their message. Real people with real passion for brands and products is far more authentic than traditional, straightforward sales messages.
With that in mind, storytelling is a tactic that you should be using in your recruitment efforts. And, doing so is probably far easier than you might assume, because you already have some great resources at your fingertips: your current employees.
Your employees have tons of unique stories to share about what they love about working for you, and you should be amplifying those voices to prospective talent through testimonials, video interviews, blog posts, and other types of market-facing content.
When job seekers rank current employees as their most trusted source for information about a company (yes, even ahead of your company website!), you can’t afford not to leverage your employees’ stories to your advantage.
4. Build a Distribution and Engagement Plan
You can invest all sorts of elbow grease into developing the best recruitment content out there. But, here’s the thing: Great content isn’t actually great content if nobody sees it.
When thinking like a marketer, you can’t just build a content strategy—you also need to think about how you’ll distribute that content and get people to actually see it.
Much of this deals with reaching people where they already are. When you were building your talent profiles, you likely identified some places where people prefer to receive communication—whether that’s email, career communities, online forums, events, or something else. Figure out where your ideal candidates are already engaged, and then use those mediums to get in touch with highly personalized and relevant messages.
You also can’t be afraid to test out some different things to figure out what works (and what doesn’t). Perhaps you’ll try some outreach emails with a more formal subject line, and some that are more conversational. Maybe you’ll use a more traditional, bulleted job description for a role, and test out a video job description for a different position.
Marketers know that there’s some trial and error involved in figuring out what’s most effective for getting your message out there. Don’t be afraid to do that same thing with your recruitment marketing!
Ready to Step Up Your Recruiting Efforts?
In today’s competitive talent market, simply waiting for the right candidates to find you and your company won’t generate the results you want. To get the best talent in your pipeline, you need to put on your marketing hat and find ways to get out in front of the right people for your company.
These steps should help you do just that, but we’ve really only scratched the surface on how you can effectively recruit like a marketer. Get the full lowdown by checking out the full webinar right here.
Photo of people talking courtesy of Mint Images-Tim Robbins/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author