One of the biggest HR trends of the year is the rise of recruitment marketing. So what exactly is it, how does it help you attract qualified candidates, and how should you measure whether it’s working for you?

Ideal presents this handy how-to guide on recruitment marketing for innovative recruiters.

I. Recruitment marketing defined

Recruitment marketing is applying marketing best practices, such as analytics, multi-channel use, targeted messaging, and tech-enabled automation, to attract, engage, and nurture candidates who haven’t yet applied to a job and converting them into applicants by communicating your employer brand and value.

Source: SmashFly

For active candidates, recruitment marketing creates brand awareness of your company, interest in your open roles, and keeps candidates informed and engaged throughout the recruitment funnel.

For passive candidates, who make up 60% of the talent pool, recruitment marketing creates brand awareness of your company, interest in your open roles, and helps convert them into active candidates.

Source: LinkedIn

By highlighting your employer brand, recruitment marketing attracts candidates who self-select themselves into the application process, which helps recruiters and talent acquisition specialists reduce time and money spent on unqualified applicants.

II. Recruitment marketing fundamentals

Recruitment marketing’s key features borrow a lot from traditional marketing.

1. Employer brand

Your employer brand is a reflection of your culture, values, and mission. The content you present about your employer brand should be authentic, relevant, and compelling.

2. Employee value proposition

An employee value proposition is the reward or benefit that an employee can expect to receive in return for their performance. This may be unique to the department and role you’re recruiting for. Once you decide what your unique employee value proposition is (e.g., career progression, amazing perks), you want to focus your messaging on that aspect. The best way to figure out what it is? Survey and talk to your current employees, especially your top performers.

3. Candidate personas

Candidate personas are a profile of the desired skills, experiences, and cultural fit of the candidates you want to target and attract. They should include an analysis of the target candidates’ career pain points, motivations, and goals as well as which social channels and platforms they’re likely to be on. For example, if you want to attract more Millennials, they’re more likely to search for jobs on third-party websites and online job boards.

4. Competitor analysis

To attract the best candidates, you need to know what your competitors are doing to attract them. This type of intel helps you understand which strategies are merely table stakes and where you may be able to carve out a clear competitive advantage.

5. Candidate experience

A key method to strengthen your employer brand and create a competitive advantage is to provide a great candidate experience. A survey by CareerBuilder found that candidates had a positive impression of a company recruitment process if they received consistent updates and respectful treatment throughout the process. Don’t forget the importance of being mobile-friendly: 45% of candidates want to be able to search and apply for jobs on their phones.

III. Recruitment marketing strategies

There are a variety of traditional and newer candidate sourcing strategies involved in recruitment marketing. Whichever methods you use, you should always be authentically conveying your company’s culture and mission and the job’s benefits and perks.

1. Content marketing

including company photos, recruiting videos, blogs, infographics, ebooks, webinars

2. Job postings and job boards

including SEO for the right keywords for the job title you’re hiring for

posting jobs where your target candidates are going to be found

including photos and videos to attract candidates


3. Career site


including photos and videos to attract candidates

4. Email nurturing

automated and personalized messages

measuring open rates, click-through rates, response rates

5. Social media feed

79% of job seekers use social media during their job search

attracting candidates on Facebook with company photos and videos

attracting candidates on Twitter by creating a unique hashtag for your open jobs

tracking social media analytics

6. Employee referral program

training your employees on your employer brand and recruitment plan so they become brand ambassadors

7. Recruiting events

career fairs, meetups

8. Display advertising

targeting passive candidates to create awareness of your company and employer brand

8. Recruiting analytics

tracking and comparing the different candidate attraction channels

testing different campaigns and calls to action

9. Talent communities

candidates who are interested in your company but whose skill set and experience are currently not a fit

candidates who didn’t get the job they applied for originally and are interested in future opportunities

keeping a pipeline of qualified candidates engaged through subscribing to your blog or newsletter, following your social media accounts, and participating in special offers and contests

IV. Recruitment marketing metrics

The success of recruitment marketing can be measured using similar metrics as recruitment itself. A successful recruitment marketing campaign will lower your recruitment costs and time-to-hire because it will attract more qualified and engaged candidates to your open role.

1. Cost-per-applicant

your recruitment marketing spend divided by the number of applicants

2. Cost-per-hire

your recruitment marketing spend divided by the number of hires

Source: LinkedIn

3. Visitors-to-applicants ratio

the number of applicants divided by the number of visitors to your website

the industry average conversion rate from website visitors to applicants is 11%

4. Application-to-hire ratios

applicants-to-interviewees ratio: the number of applicants divided by the number of interviewees

the industry average conversion rate from applicants to interviewees is 12%

interviewees-to-offers ratio: the number of offers divided by the number of interviewees

the industry average conversion rate from interviewees to offers is 17%

offers-to-hires ratio: the number of hires divided by the number of offers

the industry average conversion rate from offers to hires is 89%

Source: Jobvite

5. Time-to-hire

the industry average time-to-hire is 41 days

the average time top performers are on the job market is 10 days

6. Quality-of-hire

retention rates

performance ratings

The takeaways for recruitment marketing

The current candidate-driven job market means employers have to work harder to find and attract qualified and high quality candidates. Recruitment marketing is HR’s latest tool to fill the candidate gap before recruitment and hiring. In all likelihood, you’re probably using at least a few of these candidate attraction methods already.

At the very least, make sure you’re practicing the fundamentals of recruitment marketing by communicating your employer brand through photos of your workplace on your social media accounts, explaining your company culture in job postings, and targeting your ideal candidates in the places where they’re most likely to be found such as specialized job boards or talent marketplaces.

Finally, determine the success of your recruitment marketing strategies by calculating pre- and post conversion rates, cost-to-hire, and time-to-hire and comparing them against industry averages.

Show more