Businesses are finding it harder and harder to recruit top talent. It’s a candidate-driven market – for the first time in living memory, there are more job vacancies than there are unemployed people, with many choosing to leave the workforce altogether. In these conditions, how can you make sure that your organisation sticks out amongst the many others clamouring to attract and hire the best candidates?  

For those working in talent acquisition, it’s important to understand that job seekers are evaluating potential job opportunities in a similar way to how consumers would evaluate a product: they research, read reviews, weigh up their options, and consider what is best for them. Businesses need to build their employer branding, with clear messaging around what your organisation stands for and the benefits to employees.  

Most importantly, you need to find a way to speak to and engage directly with your audience of ideal candidates. This messaging strategy is what is known as recruitment marketing.  

While many businesses employ aspects of a recruitment marketing strategy – whether consciously or not – there are numerous pitfalls and obvious mistakes that organisations struggle to avoid. That’s why in this article, we will look to define recruitment marketing and guide you through what you shouldn’t do and what you need to do to recruit the right talent.  

What is Recruitment Marketing? 

Simply, recruitment marketing is the way you promote your employer brand. It is the use of marketing methodologies to attract, engage, and appeal to the candidates you want to hire, throughout the recruitment process.  

Recruitment marketing is about bringing top talent to you, instead of trying to find individual prospects. It is a process that goes beyond promoting specific job openings, instead promoting your organisation and culture.  

As with the marketing of your product or services, recruitment marketing should employ tactics to funnel your ideal candidates through a journey that goes from: 

Awareness: the first stage of the journey, where you build recognition or your organisation and your employer brand. Here, you are looking to create a certain perception of your company in the minds of potential employees. 

Consideration: the second stage of the funnel is where you nurture their interest in your organisation, providing candidates with what they need to know before they apply 

Decision: the final stage of the recruitment marketing journey, where your goal is to convince candidates to take action and apply for one of your job openings.  

Just as consumers rarely land on your company’s website ready to purchase your products or services, the right talent may equally be unready to apply for your job openings – it takes time and effective communication to nurture a candidate through to the application stage. And even with the best intentions, it can still be a challenge to know where to begin. That’s why we must first look at the recruitment marketing mistakes that need to be avoided.  

Recruitment Marketing – Don’ts: 

Don’t Create Unengaging Job Descriptions 

This is one of the most common mistakes recruiters make – the first time a candidate engages with your organisation could be through a description of an open role posted to a job board. This could be a job seeker’s first – and only – impression of your organisation. Boring and sterile job descriptions can be off-putting, chasing away more candidates than they attract. Your job descriptions don’t need to be written in elegant prose, but they do need to realistic, with a tangible and easy to understand illustration of what the role involves, the responsibilities, and deliverables.  

Don’t Make the Application Process too Complex 

Remember that applying for a job can be incredibly time-consuming, with candidates needing to tailor their CVs to specific roles, fill out multiple forms, or sometimes even complete assessments even before they can apply – often whilst juggling the responsibilities of their lives and current roles. Overly complex processes can turn people off – either because they don’t have the time to engage or are simply unwilling to do so. You must make it easier for people to apply – reduce the forms, and make sure your pages are mobile-friendly.  

Don’t Rely on Only One Marketing Channel 

Marketers would never put their eggs all in one basket when building a marketing strategy and so it should be the same with a recruitment marketing strategy. It’s not enough to just out a job ad or just to have a listing on your careers page. You need a multi-channel strategy that incorporates social media, email marketing, even blog posts. Hiring the best talent requires an end-to-end marketing process that cannot be confined simply to one channel. To reach potential candidates, you need to engage with as many channels as possible.  

Don’t Forget to Promote Your Company Culture 

If you’re looking to recruit the best talent, you need to also let these people know who your company is – what does it stand for? What is it like to work at your organisation? Candidates – especially millennials – care deeply about a company’s culture, with research from Glassdoor showing that over 50% of employees value culture above even salary. With work-life balance another huge factor for prospective candidates, you need to be promoting your culture as a core part of your employer brand.  

These are all simple mistakes that recruiters can make that show that they are not considering the candidate journey – how, why, and when they might engage with your organisation. Ultimately, they lead to a worse candidate experience overall, and will harm your ability to attract top talent during the hiring process. 

Now that we have looked at the actions to avoid, let’s consider what you should do as part of an effective recruitment marketing strategy. 

Recruitment Marketing – Dos: 

Do Know your Ideal Candidate Persona 

A successful recruitment marketing strategy requires that you understand who it is you are marketing to; it means understanding who the ideal candidate is for any given role you are hiring for. Your marketing efforts must be targeted and tailored to who it is that you are looking to recruit – who are they, where can you find them, and what is it that they are looking for in a new role or career change? Without this information, you are unlikely to know which social media channels to target, or job boards to post on. Understanding who you want to hire is going to help to focus your messaging and what aspects of your business you are looking to promote and when 

Do Define Your Employee Value Proposition 

Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the core part of the message that you will communicate to your targeted personas, so it needs to be tailored to be resonant with the types of candidates you are looking to hire. Your EVP includes not only the salary and benefits you offer, but also your company culture, the work environment, and the opportunities for learning, development, and career progression offered by your organisation. This is central to how your organisation can stand out from the crowd and appeal to the candidate personas that you are looking to target. Defining this – and communicating it clearly and effectively – is what will drive your talent acquisition efforts.  

Do Use Metrics to Define and Measure Success 

As with anything your organisation is looking to achieve, to be successful, you need to have clearly defined metrics in order for you to measure how well you are performing against your goals. Some metrics may be obvious, but there are likely many more that you are not tracking. Without the right metrics in place, you may not be aware of the impact your efforts are having – whether they are working, or not. Once you have a marketing strategy in place and you are working to implement it, you need to be able to measure the effectiveness of this strategy, tweaking and changing things as required. Success will always be opaque unless you are measuring it properly.  

Do Utilise Employee Referral Programs 

This may seem like an oddly basic thing to include, but employee referral programs are beneficial to both recruitment and retention. Turning your current employees into brand ambassadors for your company is always a good thing and mobilising them to help your recruitment efforts is going to help you maximise ROI on those you have already hired. But its also a subtle – and extremely valuable – way of measuring employee satisfaction. If your employees are recommending jobs to their friends and family members, it suggests they are happy in their roles. If they are not, then you have suddenly gained insight into areas that need to be improved. Recruitment and retention go hand in hand – this is a method of further intertwining the two while engaging your employees to the benefit of the organisation.  

Do Use the Right Technology 

With an Applicant tracking System (ATS) you can make things a lot simpler for yourself and automate a lot of the processes we have discussed in this article. Post job ads directly to your careers page and to integrated job boards simultaneously, allow candidates to apply directly via social media channels such as LinkedIn to eliminate complexity, and gain data-driven insights and analytics on your recruitment process.  

Are you ready to upgrade your recruitment? Book a demo to see what Hireserve ATS can do for your organisation. 






About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.