Recruitment and Marketing tie the knot

Better Hires

Marketing and Recruiting working together

Recruiting is much more complex than it has ever been. Job board posting can’t be the only way you let candidates know about your openings anymore. Relying only on social media updates of your new positions isn’t enough either. Having a strong employment brand is becoming increasingly crucial. Organizations that come out on top in the recruiting game will be the ones that consistently communicate an authentic employer brand and value proposition that not only captures the attention of highly skilled workers but also compels them to follow, engage, and ultimately join their teams.

The focus should be on building and nurturing longer-term relationships with the right candidates. Top talent are hanging out in online communities – reading, sharing and commenting on your content. If your company is serious about hiring these highly skilled individuals then you need to actively start leveraging the synergies between marketing and recruitment. There are more similarities between the two departments that you might initially think, making this relationship a potentially long and prosperous one. Quite simply, the methodology that marketers use to produce new customers for your company can also be used to successfully recruit the talent you need to get the job done.
The points below illustrate six key marketing principles and how they are inadvertently applied to talent acquisition.

Market Research – Organizations collect market and competitive information to understand what is happening in the marketplace, the pain points and what their competitors are doing in order to uncover an untapped need. As the war for talent is intensifying, recruiters are following a similar approach of researching supply and demand of good talent as well competitors’ workforce to lure good employees away.

Segmentation – Market segmentation consists in sizing the overall market into smaller groups to understand their individual specific needs and buying decisions so that marketing messages can be tailored for maximum ROI. In recruiting, this practice consists in separating easy to fill jobs from the ones that require highly specialized skills and tailoring a different sourcing strategy with its own metrics for each.

Positioning – This is a strategy that helps position a company’s products/services differently from their competitors by showcasing their unique value proposition and benefits. From a recruiting standpoint, differentiation is also used for employers to “stand out” to candidates and making them look like a more desirable place to work than their competitors.

Branding – The branding process is about creating positive, and emotional associations to corporations’ products/services in order to drive sales and growth. Branding can also be instrumental to recruiting as a strong employment brand would enable the company to attract potential employees. Job descriptions alone – even creative ones – are no longer enough to attract the best candidates. Talent acquisition leaders are creating digital content around corporate culture and benefits of working at their firms.

Implementation – Marketers are engaging with customers and prospects on social media to respond to questions, to share engaging content and to promote their company and/or products. Savvy recruiters are doing the same to promote both their personal image and their company’s employment brands. As candidates increasingly expect to be able to engage with companies via social media, talent acquisition professionals with a strong and active presence are better equipped to attract top candidates.

Control – One of the main drivers to organic growth is effective monitoring and control. A data-driven measurement system is put in place to determine the effectiveness of marketing campaigns against desired ROI. From a hiring standpoint, knowing which channels are bringing in the most candidates and quality hires will help improve the recruitment strategy and channel their energy where their strongest potential candidates are coming from.

As recruiters become well-versed with these marketing tactics in their everyday processes, they will start reaping the benefits of recruitment marketing. When these organizational functions work together and leverage each other’s strengths, they can craft a cohesive and appealing message and brand. Once established, the sky will be the limit as they can spread the word and attract candidates, fans, and customers.

Gamification of Social Recruiting

Gamification of recruiting

Let’s face it. Social recruiting is a game, where a collection of “players” (companies and staffing agencies) compete for the same “prize” – top talent. The winners get the best “prize”, but it can take tremendous time and effort to come out on top.

It is widely known that good talent is employed while the best remain hidden from traditional recruitment strategies such as social media and online communities. So how do you lure them away from your competitors?

If today’s social recruiting campaigns are about developing communities, the future is about creating value in such communities. So instead of establishing a one-way communication with your fans through job postings and the occasional recruiting post, engage with these followers and establish a dialogue with them.

This novel and promising approach consists in “gamifying” the talent acquisition process. Not to be confused with video games, this method consists in incorporating game thinking to business activities. The true value of this route stems from the fact that it can make a mundane task like completing a job application fun, creative, competitive and interesting. Basically, it would disguise the application and assessment process as a fun activity rather than an annoying task, making it much more likely to convert the top talent from just noticing your job opening into engaged candidates who are interested in working with you, and committed to making a difference.

A gamified hiring process will not only make your more attractive in the eyes of job seekers, but it would also contribute to amplifying your brand. Both HR and marketing are in the people finding and relationship building business. Followers who like and share your content, and also interact with you within your online communities are the same valuable asset both of these departments are desperately seeking to find and engage. In a recent study, the marketing department of a global fashion retailer was reluctant to letting HR engage with its fans on social media as it was concerned that recruitment specific spots would dilute its brand. To their surprise, this experiment yielded unprecedented results. Within four hours, 14,000 people had “liked” and contributed to that HR post; and in fact, it was the highest level of engagement ever reached.

A gamified recruitment process can come in two different flavors – ranging from complex and stand-alone gaming technology to simple “gaming elements” directly embedded into the job application process. Subsequent sections will discuss the first approach while the latter will be discussed in a later post.

A full-blown gaming engine is effective as not only does it provide a fun and hands-on experience as to what the job really entails, it also gives a feel for the culture of the workplace. However, this route requires deep IT skills and a sizeable budget to implement the needed technology.  One of the earlier adopters of this new way of recruiting was Marriott International. High turnover of underqualified employees created a serious business problem for the hotel chain. It needed to attract young candidates in areas of the world where the hospitality industry was not well known or seen as a viable career path. And in 2011, the hotel chain launched its own Facebook game called My Marriott Hotel which was specifically designed as a recruitment tool giving younger people a taste of what a career at a Marriott Hotel might be like. The game instructed players to start a restaurant, go through activities such as decorating a hotel restaurant dining room, ordering food inventory for the kitchen, maintaining a restaurant budget, and trying out various positions in hotel operations. According to Francesca Martinez, Marriott VP of Human Resources, the game successfully increased traffic to the company’s career site by 30%.

If you feel that this is the path you would like to embark on, follow these guiding points to get you started:

  1. For each job, identify the skills necessary that candidates need to possess in order to deliver superior performance.
  2. Group the jobs that have similar and complementary skills and devise a fun and creative scenario to assess those skills.
  3. Determine the platform you will use to get the game in front of your ideal hires.
  4. Assess your company culture and consider adding elements that indicate what it will be like to work for your company.

Ideally, you should create a game that is universally enjoyable — while not every player will be a qualified candidate, one of your objectives should be about increasing your brand awareness.