What Can HR Learn from the Marketing Department?


As LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says, “The world’s best recruiters think like the world’s best marketers,” and it’s time to expand the “recruiting skill set to include branding, targeting and engagement.”

Experts have already predicted 2014 is the year recruiting will begin to look more like marketing. Rather than focus on meeting short-term hiring goals and filling a specific number of positions every month or quarter, your new recruiting approach should be focused on targeted messaging, employment branding and devoting resources to position your company as an attractive workplace.

By incorporating some of the most basic marketing best practices into your recruiting strategy, you’ll help your business attract qualified applicants that will meet your hiring needs and overall business goals for the long term. Here are four ways your recruiters and hiring managers can start thinking like marketers to improve the hiring process and attract top talent.

Define Your Candidate Persona

Marketers develop buyer personas to figure out who, when, why and how customers make purchasing decisions. The insight they uncover is used to develop marketing strategies to engage and persuade buyers to choose their product over competitors. Just as marketers are challenged to define and refine buyer personas, recruiters and hiring managers should dig deep to define and characterize their ideal candidates. Your candidate persona should encompass not only the skill sets you are looking for in applicants, but also the demographics, such as location, current occupation, job history, workplace values and challenges they may face in their current positions.

Develop Strategic Messaging

Marketers are seasoned pros when it comes to developing messages and content targeted at specific customer segments. Using various communication channels, marketers focus on delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time. Recruiters can take a similar approach by developing messaging that deeply resonates with applicants and their ideal candidates. This includes content that will engage applicants based on their job challenges and pain points to help them understand why they should consider leaving their current jobs to come work for you.

Build an Engagement Strategy

Marketers are tasked with bringing in new leads and converting them into contacts. An important part of that includes engaging their target audience on various channels as opposed to simply broadcasting information and hoping for a reaction. Recruiters should have the same mind set when trying to attract applicants on social media. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), many companies just post a job opening to Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and leave it at that. But Geoff Webb, senior strategic sourcer for Aon Hewitt, says, “Social networking is not about broadcasting jobs; it’s about interaction.”

Use Storytelling to Convey Your Employment Brand

Incorporating stories into branded messaging is another tactic marketers use to “intrigue, engage and connect emotionally with consumers.” Your HR department can do the same by conveying an authentic employee experience using videos and testimonials that showcase what it’s actually like to work at your company. These types of stories can document workplace activities, highlight some of the most intriguing aspects of your company and add personality to your employment brand.

What other marketing activities would you incorporate into your recruiting process? Let us know in the comments below!


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