The Recruiting Process – It’s marketing’s prime time…

Recruitment marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, but what does it really say to candidates when an organisation goes the extra mile?

Examples of this can be seen in the following job advertisements. As you look through them consider what impression they would give you as a potential candidate…

The challenge

Why ask candidates to tell you that they can do something when they can show you?

McKinsey & Company tasked advertising agency Ruff Lanz to get I.T. graduates to do just that – in a way that not only engaged them but also worked as a pre-selection test.

Recruitment Marketing

A sneaky puzzle

Another example is the EA Canada billboard that was placed in front of a competitor’s building. The headline (in ASCII code) says “Now Hiring”.

Recruitment Marketing

For those with x-ray ‘vision’

Shield Security came up with a unique way to only target the talent they were interested in: the Jobcase. This custom-built briefcase contained a recruitment message, written in steel letters. When passed through a security scanner, working security officers could read the job offer clearly…

Recruitment Marketing

But why does this matter – is it really more than a gimmick?

Whilst creative advertising is by no means a new thing, these examples illustrate how every touch-point in a recruitment process impacts a person’s perception of an organisation – even those moments that aren’t intentionally set up for marketing purposes. It is therefore crucial that recruiters don’t just consider how to devise the most effective campaign from a company perspective but also from a prospective candidate’s interpretation of it – how will it serve to market the company as whole?

This is essential as, apart from finding the best talent for the position, the recruitment process is an opportunity to promote a company – its brand, its products and its culture – to an incredibly receptive audience. For a short period of time, applicants cannot learn enough about a company in the hopes that they will impress recruiters and get hired – whether or not they will be as bothered about a company once the process is over is very much determined by how they are treated during this time. A positive impression could mean a talented individual chooses to apply again or encourages others to; they may become a more loyal customer; or act as an unintentional brand ambassador over social media and to their family and friends. A positive, or negative, candidate experience doesn’t just reflect on the recruitment process, it markets the company in that manner as well and, consequently, this impression will go on to affect the organisation long after the process is over.

A recent post by Annette Gleneicki summarised the importance of appreciating that candidates are customers too in three simple points:

  1. Would you hire your customers? Even if you’re not specifically recruiting among a pool of known customers, know that any recruit is likely/potentially a customer of yours.

  2. Employees want to work for companies with which they are aligned (purpose, values, etc.). This means that they are likely also customers of those companies.

  3. Candidates are customers or potential customers.

Whilst a recruitment process is first and foremost about finding the best talent, it is, now more than ever, vital for companies to appreciate that each strategy must also be seen for its marketing potential – as each candidate is also a customer. And like any customer, if they are unimpressed with the service they received, they’ll take their talent, and their custom, elsewhere.