Why Recruitment Marketing Must Steal From Content Marketing

By Rhen Wilson

As the job market tightens, recruitment marketing strategies must evolve to stay competitive. The opportunity? Content marketing.

This recruitment marketing strategy post originally appeared on Boston Interactive’s Blog.

As unemployment rate holds steady at 4.4% according to recent reports issued by the Labor Department, analysts predict the problem for recruiters going forward will be the shortage of labor. While I’m not here to argue with people who are clearly much smarter than I am, I do want to give recruiters like you a reason to stay hopeful.

Indeed’s Talent Attraction Study reveals that “71% of people are actively looking or open to a new job.” Moreover, within the first 91 days starting a new job, 65% of people browse new jobs again. So, while unemployment rates may be down, recruiters shouldn’t buy into the myth of a shrinking talent pool.

Instead, recruiters should be reevaluating their digital marketing strategy for attracting potential candidates—both employed and unemployed. Outbound methods for recruitment marketing are not only time consuming, but they’re expensive, too. When comparing to inbound tactics, 87% of recruiters believe it’s just too expensive to utilize outbound methods for recruiting.

Today’s buyers have changed in the age of always-on digital. The same is no less true for today’s job seekers.

To attract the top talent, recruiters must shift their thinking from the HR department to the marketing department—specifically, the content marketing department.

Putting on the content marketer cape, recruiters must consider four vital elements for creating a strong recruitment marketing strategy: job seeker insightsthe career decision journeyjourney-based content, and the digital experience.

Job Seeker Insights

The task of the talent recruiter is one who gets to know their recruitees. Before you sit down and think of content ideas to distribute to potential job seekers, you must understand who your seekers are at a deep level.

To do this, you must get to know your seekers. You may start by reviewing your data and looking for behavioral insights. This can give you a nice start, but to truly build out job seeker personas, you must speak to seekers directly. Interview current employees and discover their pain points and goals. You can begin to layer context into your understanding.

You want to uncover the day-to-day worries and hopes that keep job seekers up at night, so that you can reach a level of empathy that will make your content marketing efforts ring true.

The Career Decision Journey

During your research phase, you need to discover the decision process of your job seekers and find the common threads. For most job seekers, seven decisions must be made before they’ll commit to a career:

The Journey Framework for a Recruitment Marketing

You must do more than know the phases a job seeker takes, however. You must understand the decision process within each phase. Your decision journey should include the following information:

  • The seeker’s goals at each phase
  • The external influencers
  • The barriers that may prevent the seeker from moving forward
  • The emotional mindset of the seeker
  • The channels (on- and offline) the seeker uses to self-educate

Keep in mind that these journeys will look different for different types of job seekers. A young, entry-level job seeker will behave differently through this process; their influencers may include parents or teachers whereas a more experienced, older job seeker may look to their spouse for influence. Therefore, you must develop decision journeys for each unique job seeker persona you’re hoping to target.

Creating a detailed decision journey takes time, but when done correctly, you’ll have a unique perspective on your job seekers that will increase the performance and efficiency of your recruitment marketing strategy.

Journey-based Content

Indeed’s aforementioned report finds that 46% of job seekers visit the company career site before applying. Job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor are essential touchpoints for job seekers, but you can’t underestimate the power of your own website to engage and attract applicants.

As you plan content, refer to your journey. Based on what you know about your targeted job seekers, create content that intersects at each phase of that decision journey. By the time a seeker has reached the “Finds a Position” phase, they’ve already selected their preferred companies, and if you haven’t done your job right, you’ll miss out.

Search engine optimization (SEO) will be your friend during these early phases. Job seekers at the beginning of the decision journey are looking for reasons to switch companies or careers. They’re searching online for ideas on improving their situation or their prospects. Creating content that is optimized for search engines will capture potential seekers at the moment it counts the most: when the seekers are looking for answers.

A search query like “work-life balance as a new dad” isn’t just a phrase meant to return a top-ten list with animated GIFs on Buzzfeed—though it certainly might. A search query is in reality a question. Your job in return is answering that question based on your job seeker insights and the decision journey.

Let’s say your job seeker persona is a mid-level IT professional (generally male), and you’ve identified in your research that a common trigger for seeking new jobs is “new family; wants to work from home.” If your job seeker types into Google “work-life balance as a new dad,” you have an opportunity to answer that question with a personalized, insights-driven piece of content, such as “Why Working from Home Is Pivotal for New Dads.”

Today’s SEO is not simply a matter of finding the right keyword and stuffing your content with it like a pincushion. Today’s SEO is about responding to the intent of the user’s query. In this case, the searcher’s intent is “I’m about to be a new dad, and I need help to know how I can be the best dad possible while not compromising on my career goals.” Your content will resonate because it responds to that intent, and it helps deliver an important message: Your company allows employees to work from home.

In addition to optimizing your content for search, personalizing your content will enable you to create one-to-one relationships with prospective employees at scale.

Personalization tools use implicit behavioral data and explicit user data to serve unique content on your website to the end user. Using behavior data to personalize content can be difficult to get right, but getting users to give you explicit information about themselves can often be tougher. Finding the right incentives, however, can make all the difference.

Red Bull is a master class at content marketing. Head over to the company’s website, and you’ll be blown away by the sheer volume and diversity of content the energy drink company’s producing. From thrill-seeker blogs to cartoons to music festivals, the company is pushing the envelope to engage and retain buyers. And the company doesn’t skimp when it comes to recruitment marketing.

To capture and personalize its messaging, Red Bull encourages job applicants to take the Wingfinder survey, which aims to help job seekers find out what career is right for them. At face value, this tool is all about providing a service to the end user. But beneath the surface, Red Bull is learning about the participants, collecting that information, and using it to send personalized content and messaging back to the seeker. By doing so, the company can continue to engage potential employees even if no current jobs fit the candidate’s needs at that time.

The Digital Experience

Just as important as what you say and how you say it, your recruitment strategy must offer a positive digital experience to connect with your job seekers. Remember, you’re not just competing with other companies; you’re competing with job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor—not to mention the Internet as a whole. Amazon isn’t just disrupting businesses like Walmart; the ecommerce giant has set the standard for all websites across all industries, and your site is no exception.

Today’s job seekers expect an omnichannel digital experience—44% of users browse and apply for jobs on both mobile and desktop channels. Thus, your website must have a fluid and consistent experience no matter the device.

Beyond thinking mobile, your online application itself must conform to today’s best practices for user experience. Overly complicated applications with many questions and form fields can dissuade job seekers from even applying.

Recruitment Marketing  Form Field Chart

Social login tools can simplify form submissions by allowing users to connect with LinkedIn or other social networks. In return, the application can be auto-filled by pulling in the required data from the applicant’s social media profile. These tools create efficiency and make for a positive user experience.

Be a Content Recruiter

Competition is stiff these days. The best way for your company to stay ahead is by hiring the most qualified, most talented employees (on the market or not). But attracting said employees is its own challenge. To stay agile and competitive, recruiters must take a leaf from the content marketing playbook and create a recruitment strategy that leverages deep job seeker insights, the career decision journey, content that aligns to that journey, and a digital experience that allows for seamless engagement and applications.