By Jessica Miller-Merrell
As a marketing strategist who earned her stripes working in HR and recruiting, much of what I do centers around engagement, community and relationships. When I made this transition, it was a major shift in my career but it wasn’t a 180-degree turn around because what I quickly found out is that marketing has striking similarities to recruitment and hiring. And what I’ve seen through the years is that the recruitment function is becoming more and more like marketing every day.
Marketing is all about promoting, reinforcing our brand, fostering connections and creating channels through which customers can engage. Recruiting leans on those activities heavily to find, engage and hire the best candidates by focusing on building an employment brand, developing an employee value proposition that is in line with an employee’s needs and wants, shaping the public’s view of the company through a number of ways using multi-channel messaging and creating unique campaigns that reach a very targeted and niche candidate community.
You may not know it, but you’re probably already using inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is one of the most significant ways we achieve customer or candidate reach and response goals, in both marketing and recruiting. Inbound marketing focuses on creating channels for customer traffic to occur and engaging community members by using specific messaging and materials. Essentially, inbound marketing happens when we promote and engage with the hopes of customers, or in our case, candidates, circling back around and engaging us or making a buying decision. In recruiting, these efforts could mean providing a downloadable resource or job seeker template, or providing a salary negotiation guide video series for technical candidates.
Whatever the platform, messaging or method you use to engage as well as attract candidates, inbound marketing in recruiting focuses on these five things:
Your website or career site as a foundation
Your website or career site is the force holding all your efforts together. It should be where candidates know to go first anytime they have a question, are interested in your company or are ready to make the buying decision of applying for a job. It should be easy to navigate, optimized for high listings in search results, feature content people want, and most of all should help candidates engage and take that next step in the decision making process.
Creating candidate landing pages that convert
Creating landing pages that relate to what candidates are searching for, from “cover letter templates” to “tech jobs in California,” is simple and it works. The key to move them along in the buying decision once they’re there is the language you use.
Speak to your candidates as well as employees
In marketing, research is the first step and guides most of the decisions marketers make. Take a lesson from the profession and talk to candidates and employees about what’s working, what’s not, where and how they’re looking for jobs, what the company has to offer, where you’re lacking and more. Not only does it help you make the best inbound marketing recruitment decisions but it also provides a good baseline if you choose to measure your efforts. (Which you definitely should.)
We are visual people living in a visual world, so as important as the words you use are, an image or video can sometimes say more than an entire page of copy could. Use visual channels and use pictures and video in your communications and channels that you wouldn’t necessarily consider visual as well.
Make your website sticky
Your inbound marketing will likely send candidates to your website or careers page, but what’s going to make them want to stay there? Make your website sticky, that is, make them want to stay, with free resources, great content, ways to engage and more. Give them a reason to hang out a while and you’ll make an impression on them.
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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.