Having recently moved over to do more of a recruitment marketing role, I can’t help but wonder when recruiter’s roles became more marketing and less sales. Clearly we’ve always had to do marketing in some sense of the term with our primary job being to market or sell candidates and companies. However in 2013, it’s become clear just how hard we have to work as marketers to keep up with our industry in the digital age. Recruiters need to have their fingers on the pulse across all social and communication platforms, they need to be prepared to research and carry out strategic marketing tasks.

More often than not, in today’s industries, positions that require the assistance of a recruiter to fill tend to be for jobs that require the candidate to possess a high level of skill or experience in the sector. Unfortunately, the people who are usually equipped to fill such positions are already employed elsewhere.

One of a company’s biggest challenges these days is attracting and retaining talent. We are suddenly at an age where employees within a company contribute just as much to a business’s success as the service and/or product they are selling. So the workforce is being forced to adapt now. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the candidates who are right for their job aren’t actually out looking for a job. In turn they are hiring recruitment agencies to act as marketers – seeking, searching and finding talent, and then marketing directly to them. And this is why recruiters are now
out there, proactively probing for talent and, funnily enough, expanding their network before the jobs even exist.

Below are some of the marketing strategies that I, and many other social recruiters now, have to be aware of, have to learn about and keep up-to-date with everyday.

Social media

With the industry the way it is, social media and its strengths could not have come at a better time. The increase in access to information about candidates and companies is invaluable. We are expanding our networks beyond anything we could have imagined twenty years ago because we are now able to communicate to thousands, or even millions of people at one time. We are using these social platforms to interact with and engage candidates; source candidates from their social footprint and form online relationships with them before we even meet them. Not so long ago it might have been alarming to have a stranger (who knows your name, age and employment status) approach you online.

SEO

As a result of now living in a digital world, adverts for jobs we are placing on the market require more attention to detail than the old ‘40-worder’ in the local newspaper. We want people to find our jobs before they find anyone else’s, so the use of SEO has become a crucial part of recruitment marketing strategy. We need to research exactly what kind of keywords potential candidates are using when searching for jobs online, and then more importantly, we need to use them correctly. And it’s not only search engines; with social networking profiles like LinkedIn becoming increasingly important in the industry, we have to apply SEO across this platform too.

Copywriting

We have always had to write our job adverts well; it’s copywriting in a respect – crafting words to appeal to candidates whilst still articulating your client’s needs and staying on brand. With the large scope of online platforms available to advertise your jobs on now, each job description needs to be written using the relevant language, be placed on the correct sites and most importantly stand out amongst the other hundreds of jobs it’s being posted up against.

Branding

The mix of two brands (recruiter’s and client’s) in one advertisement is also an important factor to consider. How can we portray our own image as a recruiter or on behalf of our agency, when we have to address the brand guidelines of our clients too? Branding and brand experiences are a key part of recruit marketing. We need to act on behalf of our client’s brand, offering our candidates the best experience possible to earn and retain trust for their brand and in turn this will reflect on us. You want people to share your job ads with friends and family, but you want them to do it for the right reasons.
So in 2013, when the whole world is online and one slipup in communication can have a tremendous ripple effect, you are essentially putting your client’s brand on the line every time you post on their behalf.

Direct and email marketing

Different media communications are high on a recruiter’s busy marketing schedule too. Direct marketing and email market requires a certain level of knowledge on how to tailor different types of communications to different customer groups. You need to know how to leverage these communication channels to your advantage. Whether you advertise on Twitter, via email or post, you need it to be planned, well researched and effective.

Events

Events are another winning strategy in recruitment marketing. We have to show our clients that we are industry savvy, following and keeping up with current trends and changes, and then we have to share this knowledge with them. Proactive recruiters are out there setting up networking events, finding a trending topic and gathering industry bodies to discuss them. We invite clients, candidates and colleagues and these events become as much about impressing our clients and attracting passive customers as it does about leveraging the fact that these events are sharable through social media and word of mouth.

Recruitment marketing is a sector of recruitment, which is reasonably new; still in it’s early days. There is a new breed of recruiters evolving; recruiters who need to be tech-savvy, socially aware and prepared to learn new skills that better meet client requirements.

I’m sure a lot of traditional recruiters will disagree with me here, but being a recruiter in 2013 is a lot more challenging than it was a few years ago. While of course recruiting is still first and foremost a sales role, the marketing role and skillset required are not too far behind. It’s an industry evolution and I believe it’s here to stay.

Amanda Ashworth is an agency recruiter with a passion for social recruiting, who now focuses on marketing. She blogs about the changes within the recruitment industry and social media. Follow Amanda on Twitter @RecSocially.