How recruitment marketing is changing the way we hire and retain talent.

Back in the olden days, job hunting required the newspaper classifieds and a Sharpie. Today, talent acquisition has become big business, with companies offering everything from childcare to grownup-sized playgrounds to entice top prospects. Many companies are now finding that sending their HR departments out to job fairs, or posting open positions on Monster, simply isn’t enough.

Recruitment marketing shifts thinking away from a transactional hiring process. Instead of interview-offer-hire, the focus is on attracting, wooing and winning over the best talent. It’s not easy to do, especially with the current shortage of appropriately skilled, trained or educated workers. Unemployment in Indiana is lower than the national average, which means fewer job-seekers are on the market. This shifts the power to the prospect, who now has greater leverage in asking for compensation, benefits and perks.

So, how do you market to savvy job-seekers who demand more than a phone interview and entry-level salary? Here are some tips to help you see prospects as customers, and sell your employer brand.


1. Understand the Brand.

When we say, “employer brand,” we don’t mean your product or service offerings. Employer brand refers to your reputation as an employer. It’s the value proposition you make to your employees and the core values that define your employee culture, environment and tone. This is what you’re selling to your customers – the candidates you’d like to hire. What does your employer brand say about your business? Does it attract your “customers,” or does it turn them off?


2. Know Your Audience.

What qualities or traits are you looking for in your ideal candidate? If your employer brand doesn’t appeal to or attract those traits, you need to take a deeper look at how you’re marketing yourself as an employer, or reevaluate the type of prospects you want to find. Think about the talent pool with the biggest fish – are they young? College educated? Socially involved? Do they care about causes? What motivates them to do what they do? Once you’ve worked out your ideal employee, you’ll need to put together a marketing strategy to reach them, with communications that are effective and engaging. Sure, it’s great to talk about the perks of a particular office space (we looove our foosball table and fully stocked beer fridge!), but what’s the meat and potatoes that will draw them in and set your brand apart from the others?


I personally recommend reading Patrick Lencioni’s The Ideal Team Player for some tips on identifying, hiring and developing ideal team players. We’re big advocates of employees with the three virtues he discusses in the book – Humble, Hungry, and Smart!


3. Get Engaged.

So, once you’ve won them over, how do you seal the deal? If you like it, you’d better put a ring on it! A metaphorical ring, anyway. Retention isn’t just about pay raises and promotions. Engaged employees are happy employees, so you can’t go radio silent once you’ve got them on the payroll. You’ll need to work up a strategy that goes beyond hiring, that details the ways your business will motivate, encourage and bolster employees throughout their career, in ways that align with your employer brand. Are your employees concerned with social justice? Initiate recurring volunteer days to keep them involved in a cause that matters to them and to your company. Are they looking for a workplace culture that’s relaxed and casual? Be sure to incorporate dedicated social downtime into their work weeks. Examine your employer brand, your ideal candidates, and then create a plan that will allow the two to work in harmony. There are a lot of great tools out there to measure employee engagement – take that feedback and put it into action! 


Want to learn more about the nuances of recruitment marketing? We’re giving you the opportunity to do just that with Willow Better U! On August 31st, we’re hosting a panel discussion on the growing importance of recruitment marketing, what it means for your business, and how you can implement a successful strategy to find and retain the best talent.


By attending the discussion: “Recruitment Marketing – Using Your Brand to Hire and Retain the Best Talent,” you’ll hear from leading local experts in talent acquisition. Speakers include:


Willow Marketing offers Better U lectures, panels and discussions as networking and learning opportunities to marketing professionals. Better U events are always offered free-of-charge, and are intended to provide insight and advice on some of the most impactful marketing trends facing businesses today.


If you’d like to learn more about or register to attend our Better U panel, check out the website, or send me a note. And if you think your company needs to be doing more to recruit and retain top talent, we’re here to help! We’ll be happy to set up some time to chat about how we can create a strategy that will help you market the right jobs to the right people. Just let us know how we can help!

Kim Jones headshot

Written by Kim Jones

“Willow has been in my life for a long time. I’m excited about the future—where we’re heading—and I’m excited to lead the way.”