The Ins and Outs of Recruitment Marketing

In today’s talent market, effective recruitment marketing is vital. But it doesn’t have to be expensive.

That, in a nutshell, was the message imparted at the recently concluded HR Tech Conference by recruiting experts Tim Sackett and Shaunda Zilich.

However, in order for talent-acquisition leaders to reap the full benefits of recruitment marketing, they must understand that it can’t just be about publicizing job openings, said Zilich, global talent brand manager for Qualtrics. She and Sackett spoke at the conference during a session titled “Real-Life Recruitment Marketing.”

“You’ve got to entice people and pull them in, and you can’t do that just by sharing job postings, because lots of people are doing that already,” said Zilich, who previously served as global employment brand leader at G.E. Effective R.M. tells candidates about the company and what it’s like to work there, she said. “It’s about the rocket ship, not just a seat on the rocket ship.”

“Share five pieces of content about your company for every 1 job posting you send out,” said Sackett, president of HRU Technical Resources and a popular speaker and blogger on recruiting.

Captivating content doesn’t have to be — indeed, shouldn’t be — highly polished and curated, said Zilich. If it comes off as slick, corporate and filled with too many stock photos then it will turn off candidates, she said.

At Qualtrics, employees provide much of the content for its R.M. efforts via answers to Zilich’s questions.

“I routinely ask employees 10 questions, such as what led you to work at Qualtrics, what’s your ‘why,’ ‘what’s your No. 1 lifehack,’ ” she said. Zilich uses that information to help passive candidates learn about the people who work there and who hold jobs similar or identical to the ones they’re interested in.

Apps such as VideoMyJob and Videolicious can help recruiters create and share video testimonials from employees, said Sackett. Snapchat is also an effective platform for disseminating content, particularly for millennials and Gen Z, he said.

Software tools that are already being used by the marketing department — such as Hootsuite and Sprout — are effective for managing social contacts, scheduling messages and attracting attention from passive candidates, said Sackett, who urged attendees to develop closer ties with their colleagues in marketing.

“Take them out for coffee or lunch and ask them to teach you what they know,” he said. “You don’t have to add to your spend by going out and purchasing new tools when you can simply use the ones they’re using.”

Zilich said she’s a fan of Elevate by LinkedIn, which helps employees share R.M. content with their contacts. “People will trust other people over corporate channels,” she said.

At Qualtrics, Zilich said she uses the Qualtrics Life social media channels to share news and information about the company to keep potential candidates tuned in. This can include which college campuses the company will be visiting, what it’s like to intern at Qualtrics and even tips for relaxation.

Content that resonates can also be recycled, said Sackett.

“You don’t have to be constantly creating new content,” he said. “You can re-run content from earlier in the year. In fact, good content will play even better the second time around.”

Good R.M. is also realistic, which means HR and recruiters should have an active presence on forums like Glassdoor to respond to negative company reviews, said Zilich.

“You’ve gotta be present at the party where they’re talking about you,” she said. “At G.E., we made a point to respond to every post about us.”

Some people think the best response to “trolls” is to ignore them, said Sackett. That’s not true, he said.

“Embrace the troll,” he said. “Respond to their criticism or complaints in a positive way — ‘Hey, thanks for the comment, we’re trying to do better.’ ”

It’s not so much the negative reviewer who’s important, said Sackett, but the greater audience, who will appreciate the gesture.

TA leaders should also get smarter about employee referrals, which tend to be the best source of quality hires, he said. “Eliminate referral bonuses and put in an automated referral program to make it easier for employees to share referrals with one click. Your referrals will go up by 20 percent.”

The goal of recruitment marketing should not be simply attracting great candidates, but helping them decide whether to apply, said Sackett.

“Great R.M. is about helping candidates decide if you’re a fit for them,” he said.

Andrew R. McIlvaine
Andrew R. McIlvaine is former senior editor with Human Resource Executive®.