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Recruitment Marketing: What Modern Recruiters Should Learn from David Ogilvy

Make no mistake: the best recruiters are exceptional at both recruitment marketing and employer branding. After all, if the candidates you’ve spent all your time sourcing aren’t kept excited, getting them through the door is an uphill battle. To be successful, you’ll need to build buzz throughout your hiring process. But how do you shift your communication tactics? Help is on the way!

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Eight years after the Great Recession, it’s a ‘buyer’s market’ for candidates. There are more roles than people qualified to fill them, and the onus is on the company to sell its opportunity to the spoilt-for-choice candidate. Is there really any doubt in your mind that when looking for top talent you must try harder today than in the past? That you have to keep the right candidates informed, respected and excited? This is where marketing comes in.

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

Now CHROs are likened to CMOs, parallels between corporate and employer brand are pointed out and terms like “funnel approach” are bandied about.

While all this is relevant, the recruitment-marketing relationship becomes clearest when you take a quick look at the history of marketing. Those in the know distinguish different periods:

The Production Era of the Good ol’ Days:

That was the “build it, and they will come” time. As long as you managed to supply something, demand was guaranteed.

The Sales Era:

As societies became more affluent and competition grew, suppliers actually had to start going out and actively ask people to buy their product. But after a few decades, that didn’t cut it with the consumer anymore.

The Era of Recruitment Marketing:

Now the marketer´s goal is to build a mutually beneficial relationship with the customer over the long term. No more sales-y BS. No more bragging, lying and string-pulling.

This approach crystallizes in the infamous remark by the godfather of advertising, David Ogilvy: “The consumer isn’t a moron; she’s your wife.”

“The consumer isn’t a moron; she’s your wife.”

And this is brilliant! Can you see it? In the “Production Era” of recruiting, when you had a vacancy to fill, pretty much all you needed to do was get the word out. And, miraculously, people would pile up outside your door, begging you to hire them.

Doesn’t sound like your day-to-day, does it?

Today, no matter if you are trying to sell a product to the consumer or your company to that coveted candidate, you need to go through a cycle of attracting interest to your offering, convert visitors to leads, nudge them towards closing the deal and nurture them after that to carry the relationship into the future.

Recruitment = Marketing and Marketing = Relationships

Where can human relationships be more important than in Human Resources and recruiting?

Your mission as a TA professional isn’t to sell widgets. You’re in the business of connecting people with something that is of the utmost importance to them: how they make their living. In other words, you bring meaning to the candidate’s life.

If that sounds a bit too grandiose to you, think about it: providing meaning and giving you a reason to care is exactly what great marketing does. Because meaning sells!

So, if recruiting just like marketing is all about connection, how do you build and maintain a positive relationship with the talent out there? In a nutshell, you better make sure that at every step, from spreading the word about an open position, to qualifying candidates, interviewing, onboarding and retention you treat the candidate right.

You want proof?

According to statistics compiled by Glassdoor, it takes on average about 50 days from requisition to hire. Compare that to the average 10 days a talent stays available after applying to different positions, and you know you have a problem if your hiring process leaves candidates dangling for weeks on end.

Is candidate experience more important now than ever? You bet. Marketing has entered yet another period: the era of mobile and social networks. Now, if your brand doesn’t live up to its promise, the internet, i.e., the world, knows about it.

The same goes for your employer brand of course. These days everybody can broadcast on Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. Anything and everything gets rated on Yelp, from employers to interview experiences on Glassdoor.

Candidates who are treated poorly are bound to tell their story somewhere in the far reaches of social media. So here are a few don'ts:

Don't turn people off with job ads that exhibit nothing but corporate hubris
• Don't give people the silence treatment after they sent in their CV
• Don't intimidate candidates with your interviewing techniques
• Don’t let them fall into a black hole after the interview

Communication is what makes and breaks relationships. And relationships are what it’s all about these days!