Recruiters Need to Think Like Marketers

A recruiter gets some marketing advice.

86% of Recruiters Agree That Recruiting is Becoming More Like Marketing

In today’s challenging, candidate-driven hiring climate, recruiters who embrace recruitment marketing and think like marketers have an edge. That’s why 65% of HR professionals believe hiring a recruitment marketing professional would make their company’s recruitment efforts more successful, and 86% of recruiters think recruiting is becoming more like marketing. 

Recruitment marketing is developing and communicating value to job candidates the same way marketers communicate value to current and prospective customers. You don’t need to hire a recruitment marketing professional to start marketing your open roles in a meaningful way.

A Marketing Director's Tips for Strong Recruitment Marketing

Establish Your Employer Brand

Before doing anything, marketers put a lot of thought and strategy into establishing a company’s brand. Similarly, recruiters, recruitment marketers, and other hiring stakeholders should put thought and strategy into developing a strong employer brand.

Employer brand is the perception of the company people have as a place to work, including work environment, company culture, management style, opportunities for growth and development, compensation and benefits, and the overall employee and candidate experience. 

Employer brand is important because it affects a company’s ability to attract and retain top talent. A strong employer brand makes a company more attractive to job seekers. In contrast, a weak or negative employer brand can make attracting and retaining top talent challenging. Companies must invest in building and promoting their employer brand to attract and retain the best employees. 

This infographic reads "75% of active job seekers are more likely to apply to an open job if the employer is actively managing their employer brand.

My top tips for establishing a strong employer brand include the following: 

  • Determine what makes your company unique and build an employer brand around that. Here at HiringThing, we're a fully remote company with a flexible schedule that values transparency and prioritizes a work/life balance. 
  • Identify your ideal candidates and what resonates with them. Highlight those appealing aspects or take initiative and change what doesn't. 
  • Be authentic. You could market yourself as the best employer out there, but if the reality doesn't match the messaging, today's job seekers will walk away before onboarding finishes. 
  • Treat your careers pages as portals into the employee experience. It should include an accurate overview of your recruiting process, engaging looks into a day in the life of your organization, and the shared mission and values that drive your employee engagement.
  • Promote your employer brand through all channels: blog, newsletter, and social media so candidates can glimpse what your employer brand entails regardless or where they come across you. 

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Focus on the "Customer" Experience

First, Map Your Candidate Journey

As a marketer, I’m constantly thinking about the customer journey—where a potential customer moves from awareness to consideration to decision, ultimately becoming a customer. A strong marketing journey nurtures users through the various stages in a way that excites them about their new purchase.  

This is a HubSpot infographic that shows that the buyer journey goes from awareness to consideration to decision.

Source: HubSpot 

Likewise, today’s recruiters should be extra cognizant of the candidate journey—the journey from job seeker to candidate to employee that happens in a way that excites a new employee about their decision and has them wanting to stay and thrive at a company. 


This is a TalentLyfe infographic that shows the candidate journey from awareness to consideration to interest to application to selection to hire.

Similar to when a lead doesn’t convert during the buyer journey (maybe they’ll come back around later…or still recommend you to others), the candidate journey includes those who drop out or don’t make the final cut. You may want them to apply in the future or even if it wasn’t a good fit, still have good things to say about their experience with your company.

This infographic shows that 71% of candidates are more likely to buy from a company that treated them with respect during the hiring process.

Next, Use the Candidate Journey to Inform the Candidate Experience 

The candidate experience is the series of interactions a job seeker has through the recruiting process, including employer branding, any direct communication, the interview process, and onboarding. It encompasses all aspects of the candidate journey and informs how they feel about their overall experience with you as a potential employer.

An excellent way to create a solid candidate experience is to go through your entire hiring process as an applicant to see what works and what doesn’t. 

Appcast found that companies whose applications took five minutes or less boosted application conversion by 365%. That’s an example of candidate experience insights at work.

This marketer’s tips for creating a great customer experience include: 

Create Candidate Personas

We create customer personas to market to our various customer segments. Do the same with your top candidates. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are they looking for in a role? 
  • Where do they look for jobs?
  • What do they value? 
  • What are their career goals? 

Flesh this out and then market it to those candidates.

Communicate Promptly

As a marketer, not communicating (or communicating too much) to customers can lead to disinterest. Likewise, communication is important when it comes to candidates. 72% of candidates who don’t hear back from employers say they would not be likely to recommend that employer’s product or services. Communicate quickly and efficiently with all job candidates, even those not moving forward with the process.

Remove Barriers

Identify what is causing candidates agitation and making them leave the application process. It may be that your application is too long or doesn’t work on mobile phones. Make sure scheduling an interview is painless. You want to make it as easy as possible for top candidates to apply for your roles.

Be Inclusive

Inclusive language and accessibility are always at the forefront of my mind as a marketer. I think about how we can establish that we’re a company for everyone and then live it. You should think about inclusion as well when conducting recruitment marketing.

Survey Your Candidates

We consistently survey our customers to see what’s working and what’s not. Survey your candidates to gather the same insights and use what you’ve learned to improve the candidate experience.  

Remember that you don’t just need the right person for the right role. You must convince that person that this role and company are a great match. That’s the ethos of a strong, candidate-centric hiring experience.

The candidate experience is of the utmost importance. That’s why we created The HiringThing Guide to Increasing Your Applicant Traffic. This guide goes much more in-depth on easily implementable tactics and strategies for improving your candidate experience and increasing the number of quality applicants. 


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Have a Content Strategy

Marketers have content strategies to attract their target audience and demonstrate their value to potential customers. Use key content marketing principles to do the same for your prospective employees.

Align Your Marketing Goals

A cohesive strategy ensures your content aligns with company goals and objectives. It helps create a cohesive message that resonates with the target audience, drives desired actions, and ensures you prioritize the right initiatives.

Create Valuable Content

Thinking through what each piece of content will do helps you create relevant, valuable content that increases engagement, builds brand awareness, drives loyalty, and ultimately leads to a win.

Ensure Consistency

Content strategies ensure consistency in messaging, tone, and voice across all your channels and initiatives.

Measure and Improve Results

Don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of your content and make data-driven decisions to improve future content creation. It can also help optimize content for maximum impact and ROI. 

This infographic reads that 91% of marketing professionals report having a content strategy made them successful.

Ensure all your content has a call-to-action (CTA) based on where it sits on the candidate journey. You want to ensure all your content has a purpose and is nurturing customers further down the customer journey. For marketing, a CTA could include signing up for a free trial, demo, or downloading additional educational content. In recruitment marketing, a CTA could be a call to look at open positions, apply for an open position, review your company, or read a blog about your company culture. We created this blog post showcasing HiringThing’s company culture. This is an awareness stage piece of content with a CTA to browse our open positions.

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Forumlate a Budget

My marketing budget helps me:

  • Allocate resources effectively: By allocating dollars to specific marketing tasks, I can better plan and execute our strategy, measure its effectiveness, and adjust the strategy accordingly. 
  • Stay competitive: We invest in the channels where our prospective customers spend their time to ensure we're top of mind and ahead of our competitors. 
  • Measure ROI: Budgeting and attribution tracking allow us to measure the return on investment for our initiatives. This helps my team and I evolve or iterate on our marketing programs. 

Having a recruitment marketing budget can help you: 

  • Attract top talent: Allotting funds fo marketing recruitment sends the message to top talent that you're invested in finding the right person for the job. An example would be sponsoring a job post on a popular job board. 
  • Create quality content: Choose your messaging and platform carefully. Video and rich-media content is resonating particularly well with today's job seekers. 
  • Extend your reach: Growing your audience organically takes some extra creativity, but has high rewards. To speed up the process, try targeted ads or editorial advertising to help you reach candidates. 
  • Measure ROI: Recruitment marketing ROI KPIs include calculating and tracking the CPA (cost per applicant) and CPH (cost per hire) over time. Calculating the cost per qualified applicant is also helpful as not all sources yield quality candidates. 

This infographic talks about sponsored job posts get more hits.

You don’t need to blow your budget on recruitment marketing, but delineating how much you’re willing to invest and strategizing how to use it will give you a leg up on other potential employers.

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Content Distribution 

You can create the best marketing content out there, but it does no good if people aren’t finding it. Marketers are releasing content into the world at a very fast pace, according to HubSpot

  • 60% of marketers create on piece of content each day. 
  • 925 posts are published on Instagram every second
  • 8,726 tweets are posted to Twitter every second. 
  • Google answers 3.8 million search queries every minute. 

That’s why marketers create content distribution strategies. We research where we can put our content for maximum impact.

In the marketing world, we split content into three main categories: 

Owned Content Distribution 

Owned channels are the content properties your company owns, naturally. You can control when and how content is published on your owned channels. These include your website and blog, social media profiles, email newsletter, or mobile publishing app.

Earned Content Distribution 

Earned channels are when third parties promote or share your content. These third parties could include customers, journalists, bloggers, and anyone who shares your content for free — hence the name “earned.”

These channels include public relations, social shares, and mentions, guest articles and roundups, and product reviews. They also include forums and communities like Reddit or Quora — where engaging on these sites is free.

Paid Content Distribution 

Paid content is any content you pay to distribute. In marketing, this could include Google or social media ads, paid editorial opportunities, or sponsoring a webinar. With recruitment marketing, this could include sponsored job ads, paid editorial opportunities, or sponsoring an employer brand-centric webinar or podcast. 

Determining where each type of recruitment marketing falls can help you best strategize where to distribute it (or how it should be distributed).

Content distribution is a big undertaking—an extremely important one, but not one I could adequately cover in one blog—here are my tips for quick but effective recruitment marketing content distribution. 

  • Understand SEO basics: 70% of job seekers begin searching on Google. 
  • Utilize social media: 79% of job seekers use social media in their job search and 64% research potential employers there. Don't just post a job opening on social media; use your channels to help push your employer brand. 
  • Make your content shareable: Include social sharing buttons in your content so consumers can easily share it with their networks. 

Pitching thought leadership pieces to major publications is another way you distribute your content, often with a larger organic reach than your owned channels. Our CEO wrote this piece for Forbes about why we rethought college degree requirements here at HiringThing. 

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Keep Customers and Employees Engaged 

Marketing doesn’t end when a lead becomes a customer. We want to keep them engaged, keep them a customer, and turn them into brand advocates.

At HiringThing, we’re the purveyors of an applicant tracking system (ATS)—recruitment software designed to strengthen, streamline, and optimize hiring. Research shows that in the ATS world, all isn’t well just because a customer becomes a customer. Only 63% of buyers say their ATS lived up to its sales and marketing promises (obviously, not HiringThing customers). There’s a discrepancy there. If we’re doing our job as marketers, our clients remain excited after transitioning from sales leads to customers. 

Similarly, recruitment marketing doesn’t end when a candidate accepts your offer. Instead, it evolves. If the first part of recruitment marketing is about marketing the job, the second part is about long-term, deeply engaged employment. Regularly survey employees, find ways to showcase the company’s values to them, and use their feedback to help strengthen the employee experience. 

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An Applicant Tracking System Will Strengthen Recruitment Marketing 

Aptitude Research found companies who invest in recruiting marketing are 3x more likely to improve the candidate experience, 2x more likely to improve job candidate conversion rates, and 2x more likely to improve overall recruiting decision-making. Investing in an applicant tracking system is investing in recruitment marketing. Applicant tracking systems can help you create career sights, improve the employee experience, and distribute your job content. 

We offer our applicant tracking system with a private label solution as an option. Private labeling is a type of white labeling—we create the applicant tracking system, which we sell to partners who customize and brand it as a proprietary solution to resell to their customers. As a private label partner, you also get the help of our marketing sales, partner success, and client services departments to ensure your applicant tracking system’s success. Do you work for any organization that could benefit from a proprietary, new recruiting solution backed by an expert marketing team? Set up a demo below!


About HiringThing 

HiringThing is a modern recruiting platform as a service that creates seamless hiring experiences. Their private label applicant tracking system and open API enable technology and service providers to add hiring capabilities to their solution. Approachable and adaptable, their platform empowers anyone to hire their dream team.

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