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Think Like a Marketer to Attract Better Candidates

We’ve discussed recruiting like a marketer in previous posts. Here, we’ll build on that concept and focus on targeted marketing campaigns specifically intended to improve candidate quality.

Just like marketing a product or service, recruiting teams must focus on specific campaigns using a multi-channel approach to reach the most qualified candidate audience.

It’s a good idea to create quarterly and timely campaigns designed to drive targeted traffic to engage with your talent community. The key is to attract, engage, and nurture candidates who haven’t yet applied to a job and convert them into applicants by communicating your employer brand and value.

When you want to improve your targeting to reach higher quality candidates, the first place you want to look is at the personas you’re using in recruitment marketing. As a reminder, personas are a blueprint or description of a key segment of your candidate and job seeker audience. Personas help you deliver and develop recruitment marketing content that will most relevant and useful to your target candidate audience.

You might have one persona for entry-level candidates, another for management, and others for specific positions like engineer or developer.

Candidate Personas as a Talent Attraction Strategy

But have you developed a persona that identifies what your company considers top talent? Ideally, all of the personas you’re targeting will include elements of top talent, but having personas that focus on your hiring managers’ wish list of experience and skills for their team members will help in your campaign targeting efforts.

When creating these personas, include information about where these candidates might go to seek information–not necessarily as a job seeker, but where they go for development, community, and social networking. Passive candidates should be included in these personas. When you’re raising the bar for candidate quality, consider that the very best candidates might be off the market, happy in their current roles, or complacent in their current roles while developing their skills in their field.

Where to Focus Your Recruitment Marketing Campaign Efforts

Once you’ve identified your best-of-the-best candidate, there are some specific areas to focus on when building your recruitment marketing campaigns.

Job posting landing pages

Job posting landing pages to measure success and understand funnel activities. Your open positions are already included on your primary career site, but if you create dynamic landing pages, it helps you gauge interest, traffic sources, user flow, and other behaviors you can track. Once you have metrics, you can optimize landing pages throughout your hiring process.

Use A/B test messages

Use A/B test messages to determine which messages convert the best. This includes your landing pages, email messaging for candidate outreach, and social messaging. Once you measure and quantify your desired quality of hire (through on-the-job performance of new-hires) in order to determine what works and what doesn’t, you can eliminate actions that don’t positively impact quality of hire. A/B testing allows you to continually refine current messaging.

Create assets to support your campaign

Include video testimonials, custom images, and long form articles that will appeal to your top-tier candidate. Don’t forget assets like header images and profile photos for social media accounts and consider making these available to employees and recruiters for further branding.

Targeted outreach

Targeted outreach using social ads as well as programmatic offerings. When developing a budget for your campaign, targeting is key to reaching top level candidates. Once you’ve identified where your choice candidates spend their time, there are likely Facebook or LinkedIn groups focused on their industry and position. You can target your social spend based on group membership. For programmatic advertising, consider what your top candidates might search for, not just when considering a job change, but also what they might search for related to career development. Highlighting something like your company’s training and development programs for employees can be an effective tool in your ad campaign.

PR outreach

PR outreach is a great way to support your recruitment marketing efforts with interviews, awards, and other company milestones. If you don’t have an in-house PR staff or a marketer dedicated to working on outreach, consider designating a member of your HR team to maintain and build lists of contacts in the media, write press releases, and communicate them regularly. 

While traditional PR is great, don’t forget to reach out to job seekers, recruiters, career experts, and HR influencers. Share the work your company has been doing. We, especially myself, like to hear about launches of new career sites and successful talent attraction strategies.

Use your career site

Use your career site to provide information to those looking for it, as well as your job postings and activities on job boards. Your career site is one of the most important tools for branding and attracting candidates to your job postings. However, simply setting up a page with job listings means that you might be missing out on opportunities for moving candidates into your recruitment funnel. The content you provide on your career site should not only be valuable for candidates, but also targeted to top-tier candidates by showcasing your company’s value. It should also include a strong call to action for future engagement, such as a newsletter subscription.

Focus on your employee value proposition

Focus on your employee value proposition, or the benefit an employee can expect to receive in return for their performance. If you haven’t developed a solid EVP, survey your current employees to find out what they love about working for your company. This may be unique to the department and role for which you’re hiring. Once you discover what your company’s unique employee value proposition is (career progression, amazing perks), focus your messaging on that aspect.

Your employer brand messaging (which includes job postings) should cover what your target audience needs to see in your company, rather than what your company is most proud of. Additionally, your employer brand strength, including its impact on job applications, should be measured frequently, and your efforts modified to continuously improve.

Related: Your Employment Brand is a Marathon

How Recruitment Marketing Improves Your Candidate Funnels & Applicant Quality

When you adopt a marketing approach for recruitment, significant changes happen in your employer branding, prospect attrition, and scale of candidate outreach. The benefits of recruitment marketing include a reduction in your low impact recruiting tasks, while allowing your company to focus on recruiting top quality hires and innovators that are difficult to attract using standard approaches for hiring. A shift to data-driven decision making, from KPIs to A/B testing, gives you the ability to make decisions on employer branding, recruitment advertising and job posting placement based on hard data.