By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

We’re in a time when the job-market landscape is a candidate’s dream. The economy is looking up and unemployment is low, which means that candidates have more options than they’ve had in years. And it’s not just that they have options. They have more access and opportunities to connect with employers before they apply for a position. This leaves them in a unique position to get to know whether or not a company is a good fit and has what they’re looking for before ever stepping in the door.
In order for employers to stay competitive and continue to bring in the type of candidates they’re looking for, it’s imperative to go beyond the job posting and start looking at a total solution. What will make the difference is a unified marketing campaign that conveys your employment brand both online and in the real world. We’ve got to start thinking less like traditional HR pros and more like marketers.
Branding and recruiting
You know what branding means to retailers and service companies. You see the same campaign across many channels, all pushing you to make a buying decision in favor of their brand, whether you’re online, flipping through the Sunday paper or visiting a store. Recruitment branding follows the same idea. Essentially, it’s the process of creating a consistent marketing message across all channels. Your brand reinforces and supports your marketing and recruiting efforts with the goal of engaging and building awareness with candidates about career opportunities with your company.
Touch points
Thinking like a marketer means you’re focusing on the end buying decision in all that you do. For candidates, the decision to buy occurs when they apply for a position with your company. The way that marketers achieve this is through repeated touch points. On average, consumer brand recognition doesn’t even occur until there have been seven touch points. If we translate this to recruiting, this sheds some light on exactly how much connecting and engaging we must do to get a candidate to the purchase point where they’re seriously interested in the company. This is why branding is so essential to your recruiting efforts. In recruiting, there are three things touch points must be:
  • Consistent – To make the most of your efforts, be consistent with your ads, postings, engagement and outreach. There’s nothing worse than starting over every time you reach out to a candidate because you’ve gone too long between touch points.
  • Supporting – You’ll likely have many different touch points, from conversations in your talent network to meeting someone at a career fair. Consider how each touch point is supporting the others. Is the message you use when you meet someone in person consistent with your career site? Where are you guiding them after the initial contact? And is your touch point sequence organized in a way that allows each one to build on the one before?
  • Ongoing – Remember the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”? Well it applies in recruiting too. Much of your efforts will be focused on long-term relationship building, so while you shouldn’t bother or overwhelm a potential candidate, your efforts should be ongoing. 
If you can remember that the hiring and recruiting process mirrors the consumer marketplace, your touch points will be moving in the right direction. Candidates, like consumers, want to relate to a company prior to applying. They want to understand company culture, philanthropic interests and leadership style to see your company and theirs can align. Use this desire to your advantage and put those touch points to work.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

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