Employer Branding

Recruitment Marketing vs. Employer Branding: What’s the Difference?

Reading them you’d think they are the same thing – but are they? Some would argue there are some similarities in their function and others would claim they are completely different and a business needs both.

Our expert panel tell us whether they think there is a difference between recruitment marketing and employer branding – have a read and see whether you agree or disagree.

Joe Shaker

Recruitment marketing and employer branding are so interconnected.  It’s imperative to have both.  Employer Branding is defining who you are, what makes you different and the value you can bring to candidates in an ownable and clear way.  Recruitment Marketing is what you then do with that message – how you develop your candidate experience with that message in mind and the media you enlist.  You really can’t have one without the other.

Joe Shaker is the President of Shaker Recruitment Marketing.

Maren Hogan

Recruitment marketing is attracting someone to a specific role, at a specific place, on a specific team, for a specific set of responsibilities. Employer brand is more about the promise the company is making to its current and future employees en masse. Nike might be a great and exciting place to work and an easy sell for a shoe designer. Their employer brand has a lot of cache, but for the custodial engineer, the sell is different and requires a more tactical approach that discusses the meaning and responsibilities of that particular job.

Maren Hogan is CEO and Founder of Red Branch Media.

Jared Nypen

Employer branding is an employer’s reputation as an employer and typically includes an employee value proposition, or key pillars as to why people want to work there and what the company is trying to sell to potential employees. Recruitment marketing is the marketing of that brand to attract job candidates.

Jared Nypen is the Vice-President of talent at Great Clips inc.

Lisa Jones

This is a whole blog in itself… but a wise man once said to me “your brand is what people say about you when you’ve left the room” – perhaps marketing is what you want them to say about you?

Lisa Jones is the Founder and Director of Barclay Jones.

Mark Cavanagh

Employer brand can be described as a ship on which all Recruitment, HR and Talent Professionals are aboard, by using the tools of Recruitment Marketing (the sails and a rudder) the shipmates can attempt to steer the ship towards its goal destination of becoming a truly attractive employer brand. Much like the sails or a rudder, Recruitment Marketing can have a fantastic impact on the success or direction of an employer brand, however, where the difference lies in an employer brand is that it can also be heavily influenced by external factors; a wave of opinion, reviews or peer-to-peer discussion can elevate or devastate a brand regardless of marketing efforts.

Mark Cavanagh is the Marketing Manager at The One Group.

Charlotte Jones

When we look at the talent acquisition funnel: awareness, attraction, engagement, interviews, offers, hires, employer branding is at the top of the funnel. Employer branding is about top of the funnel: creating awareness and influencing perceptions with recruitment marketing activity. Although we can influence the brand from an intentional management standpoint, the employer brand reflects the prospective and current employee perceptions that are based on experiences.

Recruitment Marketing is activity that represents the middle to the bottom of the funnel that represents improving talent pipelines: promoting careers, experiences through media planning and implementation, engagement through social and digital channels.

Charlotte Jones is theRecruitment Marketing Manager at Lockheed Martin.

Phil Strazzulla

If you want to get academic or zealous about it, there are differences and mirror the differences between regular marketing (analytical, easy to measure ROI) and branding (more the way a given company makes you feel than the CPC of a FB ad). However, I use the terms interchangeably and I don’t believe we’re at a point in time where it makes sense to make a large distinction between the two given that most companies are looking to get started on the VERY basics of building a strong employer brand and using basic recruitment marketing tactics to drive more relevant candidates.


Phil Strazzulla is the Founder of NextWave Hire.

Shelby Burghardt

I think the easiest way to understand the difference between Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding is by thinking of your Employer Brand as your company reputation as an employer (why you’re a great place to work) and your Recruitment Marketing strategy is how you show you’re a great place to work by providing examples across many channels including your career site, social media, job boards, etc.

Shelby Burghardt is the Global Talent Brand Manager at Thomson Reuters.

Rebecca Drew

Recruitment marketing and employer branding have a complex relationship: both deal with talent attraction, communication and recruitment but they are distinct in how they achieve their goals. For me, the simplest way to understand the difference is that employer branding crafts a company identity that encapsulates what the company stands for, and makes a company easily recognisable against its competitors. Recruitment marketing is taking this talent brand and using ir to appeal to, and stand out to, potential candidates.

The two are becoming increasingly intertwined, as experienced by Siemens, who found that social media meant they didn’t ‘own’ their employer brand in the way that they used to. Instead, it has become a mix of what they say, their employees say and their candidates have to say, resulting in a much more blurred line between the employer brand and the recruitment marketing process.

Rebecca Drew is a Manager at LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

Bennett Sung

Employer branding is a core pillar of an employer’s recruitment marketing strategy. Specifically, it humanizes an organization’s culture, teams, and roles across a range of job seeker personas through an extension of a corporation’s brand voice and visual identity. Employment branding transcends across the recruitment marketing pillars including thought leadership, candidate relationship & acquisition management, and content.

Bennett Sung is the Head of Marketing at Allyo.

By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.