Why your recruiters should think more like marketers

Why your recruiters should think more like marketers

There’s one big thing that keeps me up at night: The best candidates in the world aren’t looking for jobs. Amazing engineers, marketers, and salespeople don’t submit their resumes on your website and wait patiently to hear back. They want to grow their careers at companies that stop them in their tracks, not the ones banging down their doors with job offers.

Not surprisingly, I’m not the only one losing sleep over it: Hiring was the number one concern of founders in 2016 (First Round, 2016). If your organization isn’t a household name, how can you stand out today?

I think it’s time companies start thinking dramatically different about how they attract and hire talent. Thanks to Glassdoor, social media, and your website, candidates are just a few clicks away from deciding if they want to work with you or not.

The balance of power has shifted from recruiters to candidates, and that means one thing for companies: you need to change the way you attract candidates to match how the best job seekers on earth want to connect, learn, and explore opportunities with your team.

But how? By thinking more like marketers.

HubSpot was built on inbound marketing – at its core, inbound is about putting the customer first. Instead of interrupting people with advertising, we believed companies should build relationships by offering them helpful content, free resources, and personalized messaging. And it worked.

That’s why I believe that the companies who are going to to hire the best people today are the ones who take an inbound approach, the ones who embrace “inbound recruiting”.


Recruitment marketing isn’t a new idea. Career fairs and job ads in the newspaper have been around forever. But inbound recruiting is about more than branding; it’s about attracting, engaging, and nurturing relationships with candidates.

Instead of old school tactics, we need to rewrite the playbook by taking an inbound marketing approach to how we reach the best candidates. By thinking like modern marketers, we can build an employment brand and candidate experience that are truly remarkable.

Here are three tried-and-true marketing ideas to kickstart your inbound recruiting efforts today:

Create a social (takeover) network

We already know that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are a marketer’s best friend. But should recruiting teams and HR organizations use social media for their own goals? Absolutely.

Getting social is a relatively low-cost and low-effort way for companies to connect with candidates. In fact, 62 percent of job seekers visit social media channels to evaluate employer brand before applying for a job (2015 Employer Brand Survey, Career Arc). If you aren’t already using social platforms to give an inside look at your company’s culture, team, and workplace, it’s time to start.

The good news is, you don’t need to be a marketer to make an impact on social – you just need employees who are excited to get involved. Employee social media takeovers are the best ways to create authentic social content that candidates actually want to read, watch, or follow. After all, your employees are the ones who have a front row seat to what it’s actually like to work at your organization.

Find volunteers who want to be employee social media ambassadors, then create a social content calendar for the next few months mapping out which content you’ll post where, when, and who will be responsible for creating it.

For example, you could host employee takeovers on your company’s Instagram account like Amp Agency does to give followers a peek into what it’s like to work on different teams and in different offices. On Amp’s account, posts are tagged with #employeetakeover and employees introduce themselves to kickoff the series. 

Ultimately, the key to great social content is to let your employees take the wheel; it’s a win for them, candidates, and your team in the long run.

Show, don’t tell on your jobs site

If you look at a few companies’ jobs website, you’ll probably notice there are a lot of similarities in how they talk about their culture, people, and employee value proposition. Things like “solve hard problems”, “work with great people”, and “work hard, play hard” are popular phrases. Does that mean you shouldn’t talk about the challenging projects candidates would work on if they joined your company? Or that you shouldn’t highlight amazing employees on your jobs site? Of course you should, but it’s important to get creative in how you tell that story and show how your company’s culture is different.

One company we admire for their engaging jobs site is Spotify. Employee profiles and Q&As are nothing new, but Spotify took theirs to the next level by integrating a type of multi-media that’s an integral part of their mission and company: music. This profile of Jillian, a web developer at the company, includes one of her personal Spotify playlists at the end.

By embedding a more interactive type of content, candidates get to see a more human side of the company than a standard Q&A is able to capture. At the end of the day, candidates don’t want rhetoric, they want reality. Spotlighting real employees, real stories, real content, and real snapshots on your jobs site can have a big impact on whether or not top talent can picture working at your organization.

Start a dialogue with candidates

Most job application processes are transactional, but really they should be conversational. Think about it: When you land on most jobs site, the only real opportunity to interact or engage is by submitting your resume.

But what if you’re not ready to apply? Shouldn’t candidates have the opportunity to talk to a real person or engage with a company before making that decision?

If talent doesn’t have the chance to stay in touch with your company, or take action outside of the application form, they not only have an impersonal candidate experience but you miss out on the opportunity to build a relationship with them overtime.

How can you nurture job prospects who are still evaluating you as an employer? How can you engage with passive talent to stay on their radar?

From a marketer’s perspective, there are a few ways to build relationships with your talent network.

Does your website have a careers or company culture blog? If you publish employee stories, profiles, and content about your workplace, then create a form for readers to subscribe like Intel does on their Jobs@Intel blog. That way, even if they leave your jobs site without applying, you can still reach them and keep them in the loop with great content with a regular subscription email or e-newsletter.

Or, take the candidate experience even further by trying out live chat platforms like Slack to connect with candidates in real-time. Having a human on the other side of the conversation improves the candidate experience and gives talent the chance to get to know you, your employees, and your culture before starting the application process.

Whether you experiment with a chat platform, launch a new social takeover program internally, or start a weekly live broadcast of employee interviews, the most critical piece in attracting top talent today is to put the candidate first. How can marketing tactics improve their experience and put you on their radar as a great place to work?

By thinking like a marketer in how you recruit and engage with top talent, you can create content that answers their biggest questions, tells your employment brand story, and differentiates you from the pack.

That’s why any recruiting organization or HR team looking for the best people to the join their team should be asking themselves: What would a marketer do?

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