What Can Go Wrong in Recruitment Marketing? 5 Common Missteps

It's hard to truly understand and internalize best practices for anything if you're unaware of why certain things are best practices, to begin with – and you can't realize that until you recognize the pitfalls, potholes, and potential hurdles to overcome.

Let's examine five common missteps in recruitment and employer branding and how these potential slip-ups can compromise your recruitment strategy and potentially damage your employer branding.

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The window of success is too small.

Perhaps one of the more damning (if not the most damning) missteps a recruitment team can make in marketing, and employer branding is establishing an unrealistic timeline for success in devising a recruitment marketing strategy. The same principle applies to sales and marketing strategy in any B2B or B2C context. Content marketing takes time. Inbound strategies are about playing the long game. Recruitment marketing and employer branding are no different.

Defining your voice and tone, building a captive audience, and moving that captive audience (both the passive and active job seeker) may take many months to achieve or bear fruit.

From a pure recruitment standpoint, you wouldn't post a position to a job board or professional organization career center on a Friday and expect applications to roll in en masse by Monday morning, right? Sure, you may check your applicant flow tied directly to this position once or twice a week, but if you received 5 or 6 quality applications from such a post over 60 days, you'd call that a success.

Same for recruitment marketing content. You're building a pipeline with this kind of recruitment strategy, and such a build requires nurturing, time, and patience.

Lack of authenticity.

Perhaps the second more egregious misstep a recruitment team can make in crafting and deploying a recruitment marketing and employer branding strategy is ignoring authenticity in favor of stock images, generic employee testimonials, or canned responses to social media posts and inquiries.

Ask today's job seekers what they value from an employer or what grabs and holds their attention in terms of marketing and its authenticity – job seekers want to feel potential employers are speaking to them honestly and candidly about the organization's narrative, goals and how a team member can fit into their culture.

This is why engaging current employees in testimonial campaigns, utilizing actual team member photos, and determining your audience and the messaging most resonating with them is critical in creating an authentic brand identity. In short, if you will engage in recruitment marketing and employer branding, do it. Today, job seekers are too shrewd, have too many resources, and are hit with so many avenues for recruitment content and employer branding that spotting a half-hearted attempt is easier than ever.

Misevaluating the job seeker

We mentioned this a moment ago (and we've also discussed it in recent blog entries). Still, effective recruitment marketing content knows its audience – it knows who it is trying to speak to, why it is speaking, and the value proposition of any given statement or idea relative to the audience it is attempting to entice.

Imagine you're a regional healthcare provider. Would you speak to a registered nurse with 20 years of experience about your organizational culture like you'd address a healthcare mechanic? Does this nurse care about the same benefits as the healthcare mechanic? Probably not. Thus, these two audiences require different messaging and distribution platforms to be reached and successfully brought into your application pipeline.

The same goes for job seekers at different stages of their careers. A registered nurse with 20 years of experience will care more about different elements of your organization than a registered nurse fresh out of school and looking for their first gig.

It may sound elementary, but not correctly evaluating the job seeker you're trying to attract and how you need to engage with that job seeker (messaging, tone, distribution vessel) can derail your recruitment strategy before it gets off the ground.

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Ignoring internal partnerships

Don't forget: even though you're a recruiter, talent acquisition specialist, or HR generalist, you're not alone in talent sourcing – your entire organization thrives and depends on the right person filling the right role at the right time. This means recruitment teams must not ignore opportunities for cross-organizational partnerships and collaboration regarding content creation or curation.

Especially as an organization's size grows, the likelihood of communication and collaboration silos becomes more and more prevalent. Whether it's working with your sales and marketing team, compliance team, logistics, and supply chain team, or the C Suite, remember that part of a successful recruitment marketing and employer branding scheme is relying on the thought leaders within your organization to intelligently and effectively help you share your company's narrative and brand.

Inconsistency across platforms

You're likely leveraging yourself across multiple platforms in any effective recruitment marketing or employer branding strategy.

  • A website and blog.

  • Social media like Facebook and Instagram.

  • Career and recruitment websites like Indeed and LinkedIn.

  • Video streaming platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or Weibo.

While the user bases on some of these platforms may align with each other, many may not – for example, a LinkedIn user in their 40s may not be as visible or engaged on TikTok as a recent college grad. This means consistency across all major platforms is king for your recruitment content strategy, and you must ensure the content you're creating and the narrative you're forwarding is aligned and unified across each outlet.

This works on a two-pronged approach: first, it ensures your company's narrative and value proposition are reaching the most extensive and most varied candidate pools possible, and second, it demonstrates to job seekers who may encounter you on multiple platforms that you're fluent and capable of creating consistency and stability in a multi-platform world.

What's the best strategy for you? Learn more about Smart Marketing!

Nick hails from Northern Illinois where he writes, runs, home brews, and spends time with his wife, daughter, and pug.

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