HR Adopts Marketing Methods to Recruit Effectively

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

Jan. 29 — To find the highest quality candidates online at the lowest cost, it's increasingly essential for recruiters to adopt the method of “recruitment marketing,” copying and adapting techniques marketers have long used to reach customers, consultants say.

The vast majority of HR professionals (86 percent) “agree that recruitment is becoming more like marketing” and also “that recruitment marketing is an effective strategy to identify, attract, engage and nurture candidates,” Matawan, N.J.-based talent acquisition software provider iCIMS said in a survey released Jan. 29.

Search engine marketing and advertising is one popular technique with employers, 39 percent of which are using it, according to the survey, which Hanover Research conducted for iCIMS in December among 760 U.S.-based HR professionals. Moreover, 84 percent are using search engine optimization, 53 percent are using Google Analytics and 49 percent are using pay-per-click advertisements.

About three-quarters (76 percent) of HR professionals say they have seen strong return on investment from recruitment marketing automation or candidate relationship management tools, according to the iCIMS survey. Susan Vitale, iCIMS chief marketing officer, highlighted this result in a Jan. 29 interview with Bloomberg BNA.

Automated recruitment technologies can be used to create and maintain high-quality “talent pools” that can come in handy when a position opens up, Vitale said. Most candidates want to join such pools, she added. Automated techniques can also be used to create “drip campaigns,” sending customized messages to candidates who do certain things, she said—for example, requesting information but then not following up.

Basic keeping up with the times is also essential. The survey found that “recruiters need to do a better job using mobile technology—48 percent of organizations did not have a mobile app site,” Vitale said.

So many different recruitment marketing techniques are now available that employers may have a hard time choosing among them, Harpreet Singh, founder and co-CEO of the startup Experfy, based in Boston's Harvard Innovation Launch Lab, said in a Jan. 29 interview with Bloomberg BNA. “They're spending a lot of money on different marketing channels” trying to find candidates, without knowing which are most cost effective and produce the highest quality candidates.

“For example, if you are a company hiring data scientists, traditionally you have been posting jobs in LinkedIn, Monster and other job boards—but those don't have a very good return,” Singh said. “You have to find out where the data scientists ‘hang out' [online, such as] online competitions, hack-a-thons and GitHub.” Knowing that, an employer could use the Meetup site to sponsor an event for candidates to come to, he said.

But data analytics are essential to find out where the recruitment marketing dollars are being spent and what the return on investment has been, Singh said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at mbermangorvine@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bna.com