The role of the recruiter is evolving. It's become a practice of selling opportunities to candidates alongside selling yourself as a brand.
Almost everything that a modern recruiter is tasked with can be tied back to marketing in one way or another. Good marketing forms the foundation upon which a recruiter can build a successful career. Where once recruiters were simply cogs in a firm’s machinery, important but replaceable, the best are now transforming themselves into components that are far more critical and unique.
Today we’ll take the opportunity to drill down on the relationship between staffing and marketing. We’ll investigate how the dynamic is changing, and the role of a recruiter within this shift.
Staffing offers quite a unique marketing challenge. Your candidates see how you market to your clients, and your clients see how you market to your candidates. Both firm and recruiter need to brand themselves in ways that appeal to both the direct and the indirect audience. If you hint at candidates being disposable in your communications to clients, or if you set unrealistic expectations of clients in communications with candidates, it will inevitably come back to bite.
Recruiters need to understand the importance of building their own brand. People like to deal with people, so recruiters will be far more effective if they put themselves out there.
These branding efforts can be given a bit of direction if you help your recruiters find their niche. Make them the go-to person for Class A drivers, project managers, or web developers. This will define their personal brand, and make marketing so much easier.
Once they know their audience, empower recruiters by providing a quality website, content assets, and marketing training. They should know the importance of things like content, social media, and SEO in job postings. The new challenge for recruiters will be to create their own content, as this is the key to building a successful personal brand. They can’t simply share the firm’s social posts every now and again and expect to become renowned in the industry.
Rather than messengers for your firm’s brand, encourage them to develop their own voice and style. Doing so will make the process of sourcing candidates not just easier, but more fun.
There’s no silver bullet for effective candidate sourcing. The most effective way to attract interest will change from audience to audience, job to job. It’s about reaching the right people in a way that’s creative and meaningful.
Not everybody's going to be on LinkedIn, not everybody's going to read their email, not everybody's going to pick up the phone. “As long as I've been in this industry there's always been people that ask what's the one thing that works the best?” says Ashley Bowlin, Director of Marketing at TrackerRMS. “But there's not one thing. People operate differently, so there's no silver bullet.”
With no magic pill, no single key to the kingdom, no one-size-fits-all approach, it’s up to you to put in the work. And variety, they say, is the spice of life. Utilize a number of different channels across phone, email, content, social media, and traditional advertising, but make your branding and messaging consistent across the board.
Remember that you have less than 5 seconds to capture the attention of an audience that is drowning in content, and that it takes seven such engagements with your brand for somebody to feel like they trust you.
On the subject of trust, people like having warm conversations with familiar people, not cold ones with strangers. A multi-channel approach allows people to see you without feeling like you're being too salesy. Just seeing your content – whether they engage with it or not – is going to add to that warmth, which hopefully leads to a professional relationship.
No channel is far better than the rest. Depending on the audience, they all play a role in warming up the prospect.
High-quality content and job postings can help build the brands of both the firm and the recruiter while being far more effective at securing top talent. Low-quality or underdone content and job postings can ruin brands and are also ineffective at attracting candidates.
The internet is noisy enough. You don’t want to add to the static. You want to cut through it.
“Creativity is so important,” says Bowlin. “There's nothing more painful than going to a company's LinkedIn or Facebook page, and it just being one job posting after another, with no other context or personality in there. You have to have a good mix and talk about things that matter to your audience.”
Bowlin suggests that nowhere is this more critical than job postings, where you’re looking for the audience to feel compelled to take action. A good job post doesn’t just sell the opportunity, it also sells the recruiter and firm.
“A healthcare staffing firm shouldn’t just say ‘here's a job at X hospital’. They should say ‘when you work with us, you get these benefits. We support you in this way. We help you with scheduling. You always have somebody to call’.”
Beyond job posting, how might a recruiter go about creating content that cuts through? The key is to have clarity of purpose. Ask yourself: what problem are you solving for the end-user that you're looking to attract?
Listen to your audience and their pain points, then work to understand how you can help to solve their problems. Look at your audience’s situation, and consider insights that you might be able to offer up. Good content is about helping others. It grabs their attention and gets them curious to learn more.
You should never begin with a job opportunity. You should only introduce a job post once you’ve built up a suitable level of trust. As they say in the B2B world, the first ‘sale’ is convincing someone that you’re worth their time.
Ideally, a sourced applicant will have seen your FB post, then got an email from you, then visited your website, then seen a retargeted ad. Over time these touchpoints add up, to the point that the applicant thinks to themselves, ‘I’ve seen this company everywhere, and they really seem to get me – I might get in touch’.
Bowlin and her team take a structured approach to content creation. “We decide what our overarching topic is going to be for the quarter, then we send that message through a variety of content, whether video, infographic, whitepaper, or anything else.”
When you ask your recruiters to create content and build up their personal brands, you’ll likely feel pushback from those who don’t feel they have the time. But the best recruiters won’t see building their brand as extra work – they’ll see it as the opportunity it is.
Money talks in recruiting. If you can sell these branding efforts in terms of the extra cash that a recruiter will feel in their pocket, they’re far more likely to get on board.
And if you can get the necessary buy-in from your team, you’ll instantly find yourself at the head of the pack, because not many firms are currently thinking this way. This means that the staffing world could will be your – and their – oyster.