Marketers are primarily concerned with building the customer funnel and winning your company new business. It’s hard to convince them that they should care about recruiting.
If this sounds like you, then this piece could be one to bookmark. We walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to build a relationship with your marketing department, as well as what to do if you can’t make it work.
Why does recruitment and marketing alignment matter?
The phrase “your candidates are your customers” has never been truer than in today’s recruitment market.
Candidates now research jobs in the same way as they would any other major purchasing decision – they leverage online resources to learn everything they can about your company before they even think about applying.
The candidate journey now starts long before someone decides to “click” apply. Companies need to be able to engage with candidates from the very first brand touchpoint.
Not only do companies need to have brands that are actively maintained, and content in place for candidates to educate themselves, but they need to have the capacity to nurture relationships and market their brand over time to people that aren’t ready to apply.
The average recruiting department doesn’t have the resources in place to do this without the help of marketing, so aligning your marketing and recruiting departments is a crucial part of effective recruitment marketing.
Whether you need to leverage marketing for content creation, advertising or website help, you need to think carefully about building an internal relationship with marketing stakeholders.
Here’s how to get this right:
1. Request things from marketing in the right way
The first major hurdle you face when engaging with marketing is getting them to understand why they should care about recruiting. This challenge can be pretty significant, and it’s the stage where the relationship often stalls.
The mistake that most recruiters make is in throwing around buzzwords like “employer brand” and “EVP”, and quoting statistics around cost and time to hire. Recruiting is not
To get buy-in from marketing, you need to speak their language.
You need to make them understand that the talent brand and the consumer brand of your company are inextricably linked. You might separate them internally, but when candidates are engaging with your company online or offline all they see is a single brand.
This means that if your recruiting team isn’t able to give candidates the experience they expect, (relevant content, email nurture, personalization), then you could be damaging your consumer brand and your ability to win and retain business.
You need to reframe your problem and put it into words that will resonate with marketers, otherwise, any help you get will be half-hearted.
If you want an example to take to marketing to show them the effect that a negative candidate experience can have on the bottom line, this one from Virgin Media could provide good ammunition.
2. Make sure each team understands what the other is held accountable for
“What gets measured gets managed” – Peter Drucker
If you want a successful working relationship with your marketing department, you need to have a clear idea of what success looks like. As Drucker says, you need to make it measurable.
Any working relationship with marketing should start with a discussion around expectations. Both sides need to be clear on what the goal of collaborating is, and what the time commitment is likely to be.
We suggest agreeing on the following:
i) A stakeholder within the marketing department that “owns” the relationship with recruiting
You need to have a primary contact within the marketing department that you channel all communication through.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only have access to a single marketer, it simply means that there is someone who is tasked with making sure that the trains run on time and that all project deadlines are met.
ii) An SLA to make expectations clear
It might seem like overkill to create formal documentation that outlines the scope of your working relationship with marketing, but it’s one of the best ways to build accountability.
The SLA should include clear language around expectations, responsiveness, and task completion timelines.
(An SLA is a contract between a service provider (either internal or external) and the end user that defines the level of service expected)
iii) A monthly meeting between key recruitment and marketing stakeholders
Make sure that you meet at least once a month with key marketing stakeholders. This meeting should have two primary functions.
The first is retrospective. Look back at the initiatives that you ran together over the past month. What was a success? Where could you have performed better?
The second is planning. What are the priorities for the next month? What are the resources that you need? Is marketing able to tackle these sufficiently, or do they need to bring in external help?
3. Communicate and share success
If you want consistent investment from your marketing team, then you need to provide clear visibility into the effect that marketing resources are having on your hiring process.
Indicators of success improve your bargaining position and make it easier for you to justify getting marketing involved.
Qualitative feedback is great, but ideally, you should be able to show marketing hard data. The numbers don’t lie.
Here are a few examples of metrics that could make sense:
i) Applications/talent network leads
If marketing has provided content or helped with an advertising campaign, can you prove that this has led to an increase in the number of candidates applying or joining your talent network?
ii) Time on site
You want candidates to spend as long as possible engaging with the content on your careers site and educating themselves about your company and opportunities.
If marketing has helped you create content, build out a new section on your careers site (or even totally relaunch it), can you show that candidates are spending longer evaluating your company? (This can be measured easily with free tools like Google Analytics).
iii) Email engagement
If you’ve worked with marketing on the copy, messaging or design for your email campaigns, can you show a marked increase in engagement?
Primarily we’re talking about open and click through rates here, although you should also track the number of candidates that convert into applicants or talent network leads from your campaigns.
If you’ve enlisted the support of marketing to help with either promoting, hosting or following up from hiring events, can you provide clear data on the results?
How many leads did you capture? What is the quality of candidates that attended? How many are interested in learning more about your company?
Pro tip: Make sure you establish a primary communication channel
To ensure a tight feedback loop between your team and the marketing department, it’s essential to agree on a primary communication channel. It doesn’t matter if it’s internal chat, email or carrier pigeon – choose something, and stick to it.
What if you can’t get buy-in from your marketing department?
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to get marketing to buy-in. Sometimes it’s hard to get key stakeholders to see the value of recruitment marketing and branding.
If this sounds like you, there are a couple of good options:
i) Should you hire marketers directly into your recruiting team?
If you’re left without marketing support, one option is to hire people with a marketing background directly into your recruiting team.
These new hires would then be tasked with generating candidate demand, running marketing campaigns, and building your employer brand.
It’s not necessary for the people you hire to have a recruiting background – their primary focus will be on building and maintaining your funnel, and you can teach them any hiring essentials they need to know.
The recruiting team of the future will likely have people dedicated to branding and marketing, why not start now?
ii) Should you use a recruitment marketing agency?
The other option is to employ an agency to assist with recruitment marketing campaigns and initiatives.
The main advantage of going this route is that most agencies have been started by ex-practitioners that can bring a wealth of experience to your team. They can help you get going, launch high priority campaigns or even work in-house with your team for prolonged periods of time.
Agencies can also help with tool selection and, if you’re ultimately looking to build a recruitment marketing competency in-house, they can help you hire the right people.
Here are some of the agencies that we’ve either worked with before or heard good things about (this is by no means an exhaustive list).
- PH Creative
- Proactive Talent
- Thirty Three
- Link Humans
- CKR Interactive
- Create & Adapt
- Pink Squid
- Aspen Advisors
Recruitment marketing: the free course
For anyone looking to take the next step as a recruitment marketer, we’ve created a free 10-day email course. It’s stuffed full of tactics, tools and advice to turn you and your team into marketing experts.
You can get your hands on our new email course here. Space is limited, but you can save your spot (and find out more) by clicking the shiny green button below: