5 Common Missteps in Recruitment Marketing

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

We discussed a great deal in the last couple of months, the best practices, pathways, and points of excellence in recruitment marketing and employer branding to rise to the necessary level of competitiveness in today's job market. And while these are suitable lessons to move forward with your recruitment marketing strategy, they can't be fully realized until we discuss how they came to be, why they are critical in driving success, and how these various principles and concepts help you avoid wasting resources, time, and effort.

With this in mind, let's examine five common missteps in recruitment and employer branding and how these potential slip ups can not only compromise your recruitment strategy but can also potentially damage your employer branding.

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1) Window for success

Perhaps one of the more damning (if not the most damning) missteps a recruitment team can make in terms of marketing and employer branding is establishing an unrealistic timeline for success in devising a recruitment marketing strategy. The same principle, of course, applies with 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) are tasks that may take many months actually 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 be rolling 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 the course of 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.

2) 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 favour of stock images, generic employee testimonials, or canned responses to social media posts and inquiries.

Ask today's job seeker 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 an employee can fit into their culture.

This is why engaging current employees in testimonial campaigns, utilizing actual employee photos and determining who your audience is and the messaging that will most resonate with them is so critical in creating an authentic brand identity. In short, if you're going to engage in recruitment marketing and employer branding, then actually do it. Today, job seekers are too shrewd, have too many resources at their disposal, and are being hit with so many different avenues for recruitment content and employer branding that spotting a half-hearted attempt is easier than ever before.

3) Misevaluating the job seeker

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

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

The same goes for job seekers at different stages of their careers. A registered nurse with 20 years' experience will care 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 properly 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 even gets off the ground.

4) 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 in terms of 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.

5) Inconsistency across platforms

In any effective recruitment marketing or employer branding strategy, you're more than likely leveraging yourself across multiple platforms.

  • A website and blog.
  • Social media like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Career and recruitment websites like Indeed and LinkedIn.
  • Video streaming platforms like YouTube.

While the user-bases on some of these platforms may align with each other, the fact of the matter is many may not – for example, a LinkedIn user in their 40's may not be as visible or engaged on YouTube as a recent college grad. What this means for your recruitment content strategy is consistency across all major platforms is king and ensuring 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 is reaching the most extensive and most varied candidate pools possible, and secondly, 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.

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

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