Recruitment Marketing makes it easier to attract applicants

Recruitment Marketing – when you hear this for the first time, you may imagine nothing about it at first. What it hid behind this is something that most companies are currently facing major challenges. Recruitment marketing is about a strategy for the selection, approach and acquisition of specialists and executives, even before they actively apply for a job. The approaches and tools for this are not all new and mostly come from traditional marketing .

Marketing measures such as placing job advertisements have long been part of a successful recruiting process, but marketing strategies, tools and functions are deliberately used for recruiting and become a core element of the process is a fairly recent development. This change in recruitment is taking place right now for a reason and has even sped up significantly in recent months.

The recruiting market has been in upheaval since 2020

Placing a job advertisement and hoping that suitable candidates will get in touch: This “post and pray” procedure is a thing of the past. The applicant market, especially in the specialist and managerial environment, has changed radically in recent years. It is moving more and more away from the employer market, towards an applicant market, in which the potential employees set the rules. Well-known structures and strategies have to be questioned if companies want to keep attracting qualified candidates.

Recruitment marketing is not the panacea for all the challenges that HR managers face in recruiting new skilled workers. But it certainly creates new perspectives and approaches that employers can use for their recruitment. Tapping the potential of this approach is essential for sustainable recruiting success and better employee loyalty in hard times.

Recruitment Marketing – what exactly is that?

Recruitment marketing includes all individual measures that take place before the actual application process, for example:

  • Build your own employer brand, operate employer branding,
  • Increase reach, generate followers on online networks
  • optimize the company’s career website and keep it up to date
  • develop suitable content
  • define the relevant channels
  • Create a coherent, holistic candidate journey
  • Define candidate personas
  • generate qualified applications
  • Build and maintain candidate relationships
  • Show potential candidates career opportunities
  • Turn (ex) employees into brand ambassadors
  • Track campaign results, measure and analyze KPIs

Recruitment marketing is a long-term endeavor. It is not about filling a vacant position ad hoc, which would do the job. Recruitment Marketing tells the employer brand story on the channels in order to create a pool of candidates and keep it filled in order to meet the personnel needs of today and tomorrow well, quickly and easily.

Reasons recruitment marketing is developing right now

The changes in the recruitment market are not taking place without reason – and not without necessity. The general shortage of skilled workers, which affects almost all industries, demographic change, digitization and changed expectations, especially of young candidates, has made and change the mindset of HR managers necessary. The corona pandemic has exacerbated the situation, because now career and other applicant fairs with which employers could draw attention are also no longer available.

They now faced HR managers in companies with an applicant market. The demand for qualified personnel clearly exceeds the supply of suitable candidates. That is why the candidates no longer apply to the company, but more and more companies apply to candidates. The competition has shifted from candidates (for coveted positions) to companies (for coveted talents and specialists).

In addition, there is a change in applicant behavior. Candidates are simply used to realizing companies and potential employers exactly the same way they discover products, hotels and restaurants. These ways are, for example, online searches, using social media or reading reviews from others (with recruiting, e.g. on employer review sites). As the potential candidates take these paths, it formed an image of a company in their head. If it is positive, a candidate is much more likely to consider a job offer from this company than if he or she got a poor impression of the company. 

Pros: how your company can benefit from recruitment marketing

They base one of seven recruitments on actively approaching potential candidates. A vast pool of candidates slumbers here, which can hardly be reached via job advertisements and conventional application processes! Recruitment Marketing is the chance to gain access to the passive job market.

Skilled workers who are actively looking for a job usually not only apply to one company but also contact a handful or even more potential employers. This means: If a company places job advertisements and is in the fortunate position that a promising specialist applies for it, the company immediately competes with all the other companies to which the specialist has also applied. There is a risk that one of the other companies will make a better offer – the specialist will choose the other company. The situation is uncommon in recruitment marketing: Here the company has already built a positive employer brand in advance. Something then addressed directly if applicants via active sourcing, it is the only one (or at least one of the few) the candidate speaks to. This increases the chances of signing a contract enormously.

Of course, recruitment marketing also uses online and social media marketing on LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook and other platforms, as has been customary in classic marketing for many years – and thus opens up a huge reservoir: 32% of possible candidates have never met a job exchange. But that does not mean that they are not open to a job with a company with positive connotations. They will simply not reach you with a conventional job advertisement.

Strategy: how your company can reposition its recruiting

Recruitment Marketing ties in with potential candidates who are convinced of the attractiveness of a company as an employer with the help of positive candidate experiences. Successful recruitment marketing has a pipeline of potential candidates so that it can fill quickly vacant positions from the pool of applicants.

Recruitment marketing goes well beyond filling vacancies. One of the biggest differences to traditional recruiting lies in the targeted development of the employer brand. Potential applicants should realize the company and find a job there so attractive that they want to be included in the company’s talent pool. Once the candidate has landed in the pool of applicants, it is important to build a relationship with him and to cultivate it. He will regularly receive information from the company and suitable job offers. When the time comes, recruitment marketing ensures that the candidate has a coherent and positive candidate journey during the actual application and selection process and beyond.

Measures: in principle everything has already been there

How can all this be achieved now? Well, precisely because applicant and consumer behavior have become so similar to one another, recruitment marketing can fall back on the tried and tested strategies and tools from marketing activities that have been tried and tested for many years. That makes things a lot easier. A good job advertisement (yes, it still exists!), For example, uses SEO tools today to set the right number of keywords so that interested parties are sure to come across the advertisement when they search online. Recruitment marketers can also learn from conventional marketing how subject lines it should plan in career or job newsletters in order to achieve the highest possible opening rates.

The following elements from the marketing toolbox are important for recruiting marketing:


They address interested parties with content that matches their interests and present the company as an attractive employer. This content varies – depending on whether I want to address young talents or managers with years of professional experience. They also geared the content towards the point in the candidate journey at which the candidate is currently in order to optimally answer possible questions during his job search.


Qualified contacts are an important currency in every marketing sector – also in recruitment marketing. Recruiting marketers receive candidate leads, for example, via active sourcing, the company’s career page, newsletters, events and much more. It recommended a lead management system that contains clearly defined KPIs for managing and evaluating leads .


The question of where the best and most leads can be found determines the selection of suitable channels. Where is the target group traveling (online and offline)? It must bundle there the recruiting marketing activities.


Professional recruitment marketing is always looking for ways to improve: Where did applicants get lost? How can the conversion rate be increased? Suitable analysis tools show it.


I can represent recruiting marketing in five different phases on the timeline.


In the first phase, it is important to attract attention and establish initial contact. Previously unknown people become interested parties in the company. They can accomplish this e.g. B. Active sourcing, SEO measures, public relations, advertisements on job exchanges or in social media and also via a well-maintained and up-to-date career page.


They aroused if interest; it is important to convince those interested in the company and to create a positive image of the company in their minds. If this succeeds, the interested parties are probably ready to submit their contact details. This can be done by registering for a career newsletter, via a pop-up requesting entry in the talent pool, via a job subscription that regularly provides information about vacancies and much more.


The aim of the third step is to motivate suitable candidates to apply. The career side plays an elementary role here: According to a study by, almost 70% of job seekers find out about benefits, career paths, training opportunities, company values ​​and potential future colleagues on the company website.


In the fourth step, we selected those who will ultimately be hired from the applicants. Part of recruitment marketing is to manage an optimal application process and ensure a positive candidate experience. The company must communicate clearly at all times and provide information on the status quo – for all applicants, including those whose profiles do not match the position.


The most successful recruitment management doesn’t stop after the fourth step. Employees are valuable multipliers. We can assume that there is a significantly higher proportion of other interesting candidates in their environment than in the rest of society. It is therefore important to get employees excited about the company from day one so that they become advocates for the company. Ideally, this is also reflected publicly in the common employer review portals such as Kununu. In this respect, recruitment management is also reputation management. And: In recruitment marketing, contact with applicants who just barely made it is not broken off. Just because someone else was the famous nose length this time doesn’t mean.

And who does this in the company?

Since recruitment marketing is a relatively new discipline, there aren’t many recruitment marketers out there yet. Employees who implement recruitment marketing in the company usually come either from recruiting or from marketing and gain the other aspect. Further qualification toward recruitment marketing seems to me to be a sensible career step – the importance and need for recruitment marketing will increase significantly in the coming years. In the USA, recruitment marketers already earn 15–40% more than their colleagues in the talent acquisition or HR team.

External agencies are usually faster than HR departments in companies. Especially for the initial phase when switching to recruitment marketing, it can be extremely useful for companies to get help from outside.

7 tips for successful recruitment marketing:

  1. Work out the Employer Value Proposition (EVP) clearly: What distinguishes your company from others? What makes it particularly attractive as an employer?
  2. Create applicant personas: Young talents need a novel approach and different content than leaders with long professional experience.
  3. Find out exactly where your target group is. The best content is useless if you send it through an inappropriate channel.
  4. Don’t skimp on content. The content is the vehicle with which you arouse the attention, interest and desire of potential candidates according to the AIDA principle and encourage them to take action (subscribing to the newsletter, submitting an application, etc.).
  5. Play through the candidate journey from the applicant’s perspective: It should be coherent and convey a positive candidate experience at all touch points.
  6. Recruiting marketing does not end when the applicant is hired. Make the applicant a brand ambassador for your company and maintain contact with the silver medalist.
  7. Track, measure and analyze your recruiting marketing campaigns to learn from them and get better and better.

Categories: Digital Marketing, Marketing, Social Media

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