When we talk about marketing, we’re usually thinking in terms of customers. But there’s a reason we call it the “job market”—job hunters are shoppers too. Like your customers, job candidates care about the experience they’re going to get from engaging with your company. They’re looking for a work environment that suits them, one that aligns with their values, where they’ll fit in and enjoy the job they do. So if you want to attract the best employees, approach recruitment as a marketing challenge.
Here’s the good news: If you know how to market your products and services, the foundation for your recruitment marketing strategy is already in place. It all comes down to asking four questions.
Where are your candidates located?
Customers will rarely drive more than 20 minutes to visit your place of business. And the same is generally true for on-site employees—studies across the last two decades have shown most people prefer a commute time of no more than 30 minutes.
Of course, the rise in remote work has added a new dimension to this—but “remote” isn’t always synonymous with “work from anywhere.” Will your employees meet with clients or commute to in-person events? Are there any state or federal regulations, certifications or tax laws that limit where your employees can live? Will collaboration be easiest for a team that’s located within a single time zone?
And if you’re looking for candidates with hard-to-find skills, you may need to expand your search area and adapt to the idea of having permanently remote employees. Will this work for your business?
What position are you promoting?
Part of developing your marketing strategy is defining your “product.” In the case of recruitment, the product you’re selling is more than just a position—it’s an experience.
- What do you offer that stands out?
- Why would someone want to work in the environment you’ve created?
- What values do you hold that will resonate with the right people?
- What’s special about the way you think about and treat your employees?
And this goes two ways. You’re selling your experience to job seekers, and you’re looking to buy into the experience they offer—which goes far beyond their work history. It’s about their character, the uniqueness that they bring as an individual.
Who's my ideal employee?
In marketing, casting your net too wide can waste valuable advertising resources on people who aren’t likely to do business with you. You can find the sweet spot by identifying your ideal customer.
The same is true for recruitment marketing. If you focus too heavily on recruiting the perfect “experienced” candidates, you may find yourself working with employees who are stuck in their ways, unwilling or unable to follow your way we do it here—and they jump ship the second a new opportunity comes along. That doesn’t mean you need to reject every experienced employee who submits an application. But the ideal employee should be someone who brings the minimum required skills and can be challenged to apply their skills and aptitude in new ways—your ways.
And remember, skills are only part of it. The human characteristics they bring—their personality, relatability, values—are just as important, and not trainable. Beyond their skills and education, what qualities are most likely to lead someone to be successful in their role and in your company?
How do I get the attention of the right job applicants?
Just like you need a marketing strategy for capturing the attention of your ideal customers, you need to decide which are the best channels for reaching the right candidates. Where should you promote your job opening and how do you write job postings that land?
You may naturally focus on job title, skills and industry. But the best strategy for finding the right candidate is to focus on that human side—the characteristics, attitude and qualities you want for this role—and balance that with experience.
Here’s an example. Imagine you have a medical practice and need to hire a new patient intake receptionist. You might normally put your opening in the "medical" section of the job postings. But think about it—is experience in a medical office one of the most important qualifications of the role? When you think more broadly about what you want in a receptionist, the attributes that really matter will be things like warmth, relatability and a thoughtful approach to customer service. So you may be better to craft a job post that asks:
- Do you have a voice that smiles and projects confidence?
- Can you multitask and prioritize in a fast-changing environment?
- Do you have impeccable spelling abilities, and can you write and speak clearly and concisely?
- Do you possess a level of comfort in basic keyboarding and office equipment operations?
If you have systems in place to support the tasks, applicants don’t need exact experience as a "receptionist" on their resumes. Be authentic about the characteristics that matter to you. If you’re crystal clear about what you’re looking for, the right candidate will recognize themselves.
Before you post your next open position, take our hiring quiz to see where your current recruitment strategy stands. And if you’d like the support of a mentor to help you build the right team for your business, we’re here to help.