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Why It’s Important to Know the Difference Between Recruiting and Recruitment Marketing

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We need to play the long game.

I’m not talking about hitting home runs. I’m not talking about training for a marathon. I’m not talking about investing years of your life to find out who is the mother in “How I Met Your Mother.”

I’m talking about recruitment marketing, and how it’s different from recruiting.

It’s a shift in mindset in the talent acquisition industry that helps battle the challenging employment market (more jobs than job seekers for the fourth straight month) and positioning yourself as a top place to work.

The Basic Definition I Explained to My Mom

Earlier this summer when visiting my parents in Cleveland, my mom asked me a standard question that moms ask, “In 25 words or less, what is it that you do now.”

Thinking for a second, I didn’t have a really good answer and knowing that moms can see through lying pretty quickly, I had to come up with something good.

That’s when I came up with this, “Everything it takes to get someone to apply for a job.”

At the time, I wasn’t sure if it was a great answer, but in the weeks since that response, I’m becoming more impressed with that response because it’s simple, easy to understand and makes a lot of sense.

So, What Does That Mean

Let’s look at this whiteboard sitting in my office:



It’s not a complete list (it’s also an ugly picture), but it shows all of the touchpoints where candidates could come across your staffing agency’s messaging.

That’s what recruitment marketing is. It’s controlling all of those touchpoints with content you want to portray.

That’s why recruitment marketing requires playing the long game.

How Is It Different from Recruiting?

This is the title of my blog post, so I probably should answer the question at some point.

Recruiting focuses on the one-to-one relationship. Most of this nurturing takes place after receiving the application. Recruiting is what it takes to get someone who has already applied for the job to accept the job offer and join your organization.

It can be challenging to change the mindset because your recruiters aren’t focused on marketing. And they probably shouldn’t be. Marketers shouldn’t walk into your recruiters’ offices and tell them what to ask during the job interview.

Recruitment marketing is all of the activities it takes to get a candidate (active or passive) to send the application. That’s why recruitment marketing is developing into a separate career from recruiters.

They are different skill sets. They require different strategies and tactics.

In recruitment marketing, we are focusing on developing multiple relationships at once.

It could happen with the active jobseeker coming to your website to apply for a job.

It could happen with the baseball fan at your minor league stadium who sees your in-game promotion.

It could happen with the passive job seeker who comes across your awesome video highlighting the company culture and thinking, “Gee, we don’t have that. I want that.”

Then, they check out more of your social media pages to consume content and realize this video is just one part of your content. Your staffing agency is also pushing out blog posts and infographics positioning yourself as a thought leader. They give your page a “like” on Facebook.

Now they make their way to your career site that showcases all of the employee development programs. It showcases your testimonials. It showcases your company benefits. They add the career site to their bookmarks.

That relationship is being developed. When the passive job seeker comes home from work one day and is fed up enough to become an active job seeker, they go to your Facebook page, the bookmarked career site or a job board to find your job.

That Sounds Like a Lot. Why Can’t I Just Post Jobs?

Because that’s the short-term fix. Could it be the right answer? It could be, especially in certain situations. And when you have a lot of open job orders that need to be filled ASAP, it’s tempting to throw more money at job boards.

But in the long term, developing that footprint (both online and offline) will develop relationships that will pay off in the long term.

Active candidate numbers are down, so we have to reach passive candidates. With more than two-thirds of employees disengaged, the market is there with the right strategy and tactics.

Think about everything it takes to get someone to apply for the job. Think about all of the places they could come across your company. Think about that first impression you give.

Think about the long game.

Play the long game. All of that training and practice pay off in the games.


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