Recruiting as a profession has existed for as long as employers have been hiring people, and for much of that time, it has operated in much of the same way: Jobs were posted in old and new media, resumes were screened, and candidates were interviewed then hired.
Now, with the advent of recruitment marketing, the capabilities and skills needed within the profession have shifted. To successfully test and implement recruitment marketing strategies, talent acquisition teams need to hire for both hard and soft skills they haven’t had to look for previously. In reality, it’s not even a “new” recruiter — it’s an entirely different role: the recruitment marketer.
WHY HIRE RECRUITMENT MARKETING HEADCOUNT? A FISERV CASE STUDY
Yes, Fiserv is an enterprise, financial services company with more than 24,000 associates. But the firm isn’t a newbie in the recruitment marketing scene. In fact, the small talent acquisition operations team, led by Julia Levy, has utilized a recruitment marketing manager for three years. In 2015, most Fortune 500 companies weren’t adopting many simple recruitment marketing strategies, let alone employing a recruitment marketing title within their recruiting team. (Honestly, the same could be said for in 2018.)
“We had an opening on our talent acquisition team, and after looking at some of the realities of today’s candidate market, a recruitment marketing professional was needed,” says Julia Levy, Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Fiserv.
Surveying both industry trends (tightening talent market) and team priorities (candidate behavior mapping) pointed to the need for a different type of skill set and way of thinking. While Fiserv has a great talent acquisition team, Levy saw an opportunity for the team to work smarter, not harder, by adding an entirely new specialized role.
Levy said the initial days of setting up the function were about building a foundation of content across recruiting channels.
The initial days of setting up the function were about building a foundation of content across recruiting channels.
For example, instead of using stock photos in job postings and branding campaigns, the recruiting team partnered with the Global Brand team at Fiserv to create photo and video assets featuring actual employees.
The company also started getting very targeted with its talent community engagement strategy. Instead of a single newsletter blasting to the entire database, the recruitment marketing lead began running mini marketing campaigns around job families to appeal to specific demographics. That has expanded into a consistent newsletter to educate and inform potential candidates in the database, and today the activity is highly personalized with niche newsletters for specific areas of the business.
The skills and interest to develop targeted campaigns, measure performance and tailor messaging to various audiences is clearly in the marketing wheelhouse. And for Levy, it wasn’t about trying to flex or retrain a recruiter to take on this role; instead, it was about having a dedicated resource that can take the lead on campaigns, coordinate the necessary subject matter experts, report the metrics, and support recruiters’ effort on open, and longer-term, hiring needs. As Levy explained, “We’ve had over 300 hires directly attributed to our recruitment marketing activities in the last year, and that doesn’t take into account the intangible value of influence and reach, which is larger.” This clearly highlights a return on the value of the recruitment marketing role for Fiserv.
3 KEY COMPETENCIES FOR RECRUITMENT MARKETING PROS
So what’s the difference between a recruiter and a recruitment marketer? It’s really about looking at talent acquisition through a marketing lens.
- How do we connect on a deeper level with our existing contacts?
- How do we reach new pools of contacts and engage with them?
- What channels create the most value and how do we leverage them?
While many skills matter in the context of recruitment marketing, three core components of a top performer include a storytelling mindset, an analytical perspective, and a proclivity for project management. “While a marketing professional looks for ways to sell a company’s product or service, a recruitment marketing professional looks for ways to educate people about a company and its career opportunities,” says Chris Deal, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition Operations at Staples.
Deal said that many companies are humble about how they operate and may not realize some of the things their existing workforce takes for granted, but stories are powerful methods for attracting and engaging potential candidates. That means a great storyteller can help bridge the gap between internal brand, culture and employees and external audiences. A great storyteller also knows where to look for content and value and can see how to utilize stories across different channels and in different ways.
Additionally, an analytical mindset is critical. Without data, there’s no way to know if a campaign was successful or not, which means companies may be throwing good money after bad if they fail to understand that reality. Historically, talent acquisition teams have seen measurement as an afterthought. Our research across various areas of talent and human capital management clearly shows that success in this area requires contemplation of measurement before activities are even begun, allowing employers to plan and fully realize the value of their initiatives.
And finally, the need to manage multiple projects at once is key to recruitment marketing: managing stakeholder relationships, measuring outcomes, overseeing budgets, communicating about milestones, and so on.
While a recruiter may be able to get away with the “lone ranger” approach if he or she brings in good candidates and gets results, being a recruitment marketer means you have to be comfortable with being in the middle of multiple projects with multiple stakeholders pretty much all the time. It’s not that recruiters can’t multitask or juggle multiple requisitions, it’s about stepping back and taking a more strategic look at all activities from a broader perspective. For example, Fiserv actually has a committee of recruiters that support the recruitment marketing manager by developing content and serving as subject matter experts.
Employers are really looking for a different perspective, not just a different set of skills.