The New Normal of Recruitment Marketing

EAG, September 13, 2021

There are many reasons why hiring is as difficult as it is right now. Those reasons are political, they’re generational, they’re societal, and they’re very complicated. They’re also not new in any way – these recruiting challenges have been slowly building for the last several years. The most important thing to remember about why hiring is difficult right now? Not one of those reasons matter. The “why” behind today’s labor picture is irrelevant, since the genie isn’t going back into the bottle.

Simply put, recruiting is a challenge and businesses must adapt to the new normal. We’ve written in the past about how a strong employer brand can best position you for recruitment success. We’ve also written about how a strong company brand can benefit your recruitment process. With this blog, we’re taking an opportunity to showcase factors that will lead to greater success in recruitment.

Over the past half-decade or so, there has been a shift in power that must be recognized. The days of “why should I hire you” have been replaced by today’s mantra, “why should I work for you.” It’s a not-so-subtle shift that has moved the power in the equation to the people you’re hiring.

While HR experts have their hands full adapting to the new recruitment marketing environment, our approach comes from a marketing perspective. These are the key factors that lead to employee recruitment success as we see it.

Mind your employer brand reputation

Sites like Glassdoor give applicants a look into your interview process, your pay structure and management style. That makes it important to pay attention to what is being said about you and manage that reputation as much as possible.

Simply paying attention to Glassdoor may have been enough to repair a reputation in the past, but the new reality is that organizations must take active steps to improve employment conditions and communicate the organization’s dedication to its employees. Channels like Glassdoor act as a check on any difference between a company’s outward rhetoric and what the real workplace conditions are. If you have issues that keep you from being an employer of choice, they need to be addressed.

Beyond Glassdoor, employees in any industry know the ups and downs of working for specific companies because the word on the street is out there. Be honest about who you are as a company, and start to address any issues in person and in your messaging.

Make the hiring process easier

Barriers to entry must be knocked down to make it easier for applicants to apply. The days of requiring the extra effort of custom essay responses, references, and work samples are gone, as the best candidates are likely already employed and will say no to the hassle. Challenge yourself to require the least amount of information possible at the beginning of your application process, in order to make an initial decision about a candidate. You can always continue to gather information from applicants as you move through the hiring process.

Position yourself as the employer of choice

As a marketing tool, your website is designed to resonate with customers and prospects, but as a recruitment tool it should speak to current and future employees, too. With 40+ hours per week of their lives at stake, employees want to spend that time in a great environment. When viewed as an applicant, does the content and imagery on your site paint your company in its best light?

A quick glance at your website’s careers section (or careers website!) will tell you whether or not you are positioning yourself for today’s recruiting world. Is it clear why you are the employer of choice? Do prospective employees quickly see what’s in it for them?

A common area many companies get wrong is the job description. Using the traditional “here’s what we’re looking for in a candidate” approach is out of date. First, tell us on the job description who you are as a company and why you’re a great place to work, as though the candidate won’t visit any other page of your site except that page. Then, tell us who will succeed in this position. The same information is there, but you’re now properly courting your next stellar employee.

Target your HR ads

Getting the attention of job candidates who aren’t looking is a challenge. But it’s the kind of challenge marketing professionals currently undergo to find customers who aren’t looking for your products. Turn to the marketing department. Have them take the same process to reach candidates as they would take to reach your customers.

If you have your marketing team approach the recruitment challenge, it’s going to lead to marketing-like tactics in addition to your traditional HR recruitment. Think about using tactics like display advertising, paid social targeting, and even radio and billboards. It also means making sure your website’s job description is built using the right schema and Search Engine Optimization coding that will position your job description at the top of the list when someone is searching.

Communicate the quality of the job

If Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs has taught us anything, it’s that not all jobs are glamorous. Some are downright miserable. Don’t try to sugar coat them to hide that fact – be up front about it, while showcasing other intangibles that make the job worth doing. Is there a visible career path after starting in this position? Do you hire for management positions from within? What benefits does the job have?

The bottom line for those who post less-desirable jobs: You’ve got to find a way to make those jobs more desirable. Strong competition for employees makes it impossible to fill a position until you make that position worth filling.

Retain your valuable employees

You’ve heard the adage that it’s cheaper to keep your current customers than to go get new ones? The statement points out that recruiting a new customer costs more than treating your current customers right. By that same token, it is more efficient to keep your current employees than to find new ones.

Spend time thinking about how to incentivize your employees in two key areas:

  • Retention incentives – Your HR budget likely needed an infusion of additional funds to more effectively compete for hiring visibility. Shifting some of that investment to retention initiatives can be well worth your time if it reduces your need to recruit as heavily. Some opportunities include calculating annual bonuses by factoring in your employee longevity, or recognizing those employees with 5, 10, or more years’ service with a financial reward on top of their public recognition of that milestone.
  • Referral bonuses – Employees who are happy are also happy to recruit for you. When incentivized, doubly so. Paying referral bonuses is the obvious incentive to enact, but don’t underestimate the power of office-wide swag. Annually, quarterly, or monthly, your merchandise giveaway – like water bottles, yoga mats, knife sets, or anything you can think of – can instantly spark good feelings. Combined with an employee initiative like a Q4 revenue rally, merchandise gifts can be powerful retention tools.

Other discussion points in the retention category have already been written about at great length and don’t need the same level of coverage here, except a reminder to treat your employees fairly, give them a career path when possible, and provide appropriate benefits that your staff truly values.

Need a hand making it rain resumes or improving your employer brand? Let’s talk.


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