November 01, 2015

Applying Marketing to Talent Acquisition

A decade ago, access to the right talent at the right time was much easier. Job boards were widely used, and competition was steady but not intense. Through the channels available, employers were able to reach the candidates with the skills they desired. However, today, nearly every organization uses job boards in some form, but the results are less effective than they used to be.

The issue is not the job boards themselves, but that companies in today’s competitive market for talent need to use them and other channels to communicate their value and to differentiate their opportunities. Instead of selling job positions, companies today need to sell their employer brand, employee stories, and their value as an organization. Talent acquisition is not facing an HR problem, but rather facing a marketing problem.

Candidates as Consumers

Highly sought after candidates are first and foremost, consumers. They are used to being catered to by companies, consistently receiving personalized and useful content and messaging from brands. They are active in researching and comparing companies and products, and are increasingly more informed before making purchase decisions.

In their career search, candidates expect a similar experience. Often, candidates don’t differentiate between the marketing brand and the employment brand of a company. When looking for their next career opportunity, these candidates evaluate organizations by how they perceive the overall brand as both consumers and job candidates. Thus, in order to stay at the top of candidate’s preference list, organizations need to adjust to not only being recruiters, but also being recruitment marketers.

Learning from Marketing and Sales

Data aggregation due to the influx of readily available information helps consumers easily compare options and user-generated content to make informed purchasing decision. By doing so, the consumer is in control of the sales process.  In sales and marketing, this consumer revolution has caused companies to rethink how they interact with customers and prospects. In many cases, it has resulted in the need to develop new skills, tools, and processes to effectively reach the target audience.

In today’s mature marketing and sales organizations, marketing is focused on generating qualified leads for the organization. They do so by executing and evaluating a diverse strategy of campaigns, content, and channels with the aim to get consumers to convert into qualified leads for the sale team. Sales, meanwhile, is focused on converting these qualified leads into customers by convincing prospects of the value proposition of the product or service, and influencing the selection process.


Finding the right balance between sales and marketing has been a constant challenge for many organizations, as each determines its key responsibilities and the technology it needs to be successful. Sales CRM tools have become popular in providing order and efficiency in tracking sales contracts. They also help provide structure to the sales process, assist the sales team in staying in touch with prospects, and allow reporting on the process. Marketing started off using the same technology as sales, but realized that they needed a system that was less about process and more about engagement. The need for better emailing capabilities, targeted landing pages for content, and stronger metrics led to the growth of Marketing Automation Systems.

Today, marketing automation systems and sales CRMs work in union with each other to provide an integrated experience, and view the full marketing and sales process. Similarly, if talent acquisition is to take cues from marketing and sales, it needs more than just an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to handle candidates. The ATS is virtually equivalent to the sales CRM – it is a system of record for converting qualified applicants into hires. However, attracting and converting prospects into qualified leads requires a different system that incorporates recruiting marketing. It requires an engagement platform that supports a strategy to consistently convert high quality leads to applicants, and offers engagement, employer brand promotion, content outside of just job postings, handles multiple sources, and creates and nurtures lasting relationships with sought-after candidates.

A recruitment marketing platform has to offer a holistic solution to execute and measure the entire recruitment marketing strategy, and include various aspects.              

  • Job Marketing – It should execute all job marketing on job boards, niche sites, and other channels.
  • Social Media – The system should manage social media publishing, including marketing jobs and other content.
  • Recruitment CRM – It should be the system of record for candidate contacts in a full CRM database, and be able to attract, engage, and nurture them through multiple initiatives, including targeted emails, landing pages, and sourcing campaigns.
  • Career Site – The platform should be able to host, manage, and measure the candidate-facing career site through a Content Management Solution (CMS) that ensures SEO optimization and mobile-responsiveness.
  • Referrals – An employee referral program should be integrated to enable communication.
  • ATS Integration – It should integrate at multiple touch points with the ATS from both a data and candidate contact perspective, providing seamless interaction between the two systems, and a holistic picture of the candidate lifecycle.
  • Analytics – All of the initiatives and channels should be addressed when pulling data and analytics into a single view and dashboard.