Treating Candidates Like Consumers
A new report finds that a majority of companies plan to invest in recruitment marketing solutions. However, they should proceed carefully first.
By Andrew R. McIlvaine
Recruitment marketing is big -- and getting bigger. That's according to a new report from Aptitude Research Partners, which finds that 70 percent of companies are planning to invest in a talent-acquisition solution with some form of recruitment marketing capability over the next 12 months.
"We define recruitment marketing as the pre-application side of talent acquisition," says Madeline Laurano, co-founder of Aptitude Research Partners and author of the report, titled the Aptitude Index Report on Recruitment Marketing. "If you think about talent acquisition as having three buckets -- the attract phase, the recruit phase and the onboarding phase -- then recruitment marketing is the 'attract' phase."
The report finds that companies with some type of recruitment-marketing platform are two times more likely to offer candidates a positive experience than companies without one. It also finds that companies with such a platform are two times more likely to have improved their net-promoter scores and three times more likely to have quality of hire rates above competitive benchmarks (according to Aptitude Research Partners' 2017 Culture study).
Recruitment marketing encompasses career sites, content management, search engine optimization, talent networks, employer branding, event management (such as job fairs), advertising campaigns, job distribution, and candidate relationship management, says Laurano.
Big players in the space include iCIMS, SmashFly, Jobvite, Phenom People, TalentBrew, SmartRecruiters and Symphony Talent, which has just released two new recruitment marketing products: Experience Cloud, designed to be an omni-channel "experience platform" for candidates, employers and employees, and Media Cloud, an artificial-intelligence-based media-buying platform for employers.
The new products are designed to "unify the talent acquisition process for both the employer and the candidate," says Roopesh Nair, Symphony Talent's president and CEO.
However, in her research, Laurano found that many companies are "jumping in blind" when it comes to selecting RM solutions, failing to give enough thought to their own unique needs and maturity levels, she says.
"Companies are at different levels of maturity when it comes to recruitment marketing: Some are ready to transform their talent acquisition process, while others don't really understand what it is," says Laurano.
Talent acquisition leaders also need to closely examine vendors in the space to determine whether their recruitment-marketing products have the sufficient scalability and integration necessary to meet the organization's needs, she says.
"A common mistake in the past was that a company would invest in a solution that had customer-relationship marketing capability but didn't do anything with regard to job distribution or employer brand," says Laurano.
Another common mistake is failing to anticipate the amount of "transformation" that will be necessary in order to take full advantage of a recruitment-marketing solution, she says.
"You need to think about process optimization, whether you'll need to change the internal recruitment structure to be able to support recruitment marketing, and whether you have enough in-house capability for creative services or do you need to seek an outside provider for those," says Laurano.
Recruitment-marketing platforms can provide a level of personalization for candidates that applicant-tracking systems simply can't, she says.
"It can provide personal communication that's tailored to their interests, whether they're veterans or college students, says Laurano. "Your quality of hire will improve because your content will be tailored to helping candidates determine whether your organization is really the right fit for them."
Laurano admits she was skeptical about the concept of recruitment marketing when she was first introduced to it several years ago, but has since become a convert after seeing the "tremendous results" from companies that have adopted it.
"It makes recruiting more proactive rather than just a reactionary strategy," she says.