5 Questions Recruiters Should Ask the Marketing Department

February 18, 2015

If you’re a recruiter, then I guarantee you’re tired of people saying,

“You need to think and act like a marketer.”

That’s been the mantra for the last year, and I know it’s driving more than a few recruiters crazy. The focus on creating a talent brand, employment brand, or whatever else you want to call it, is enough to make any recruiter say things like:

  • I didn’t go to school for marketing.
  • That’s the marketing department’s job.
  • I don’t know the first thing about creating an employment brand.

I get it. I’ve been there. I used to think it wasn’t my job either. Until one day, when I lost control of the employment brand. That’s when I learned how badly I wanted to be in charge of it.

I needed a shower when the meeting was over

I was working for a large staffing company at the time. One of our major clients brought us in to announce they were headed in a new business direction – and with it came a new employment brand to help attract and retain the right talent.

I was excited to see the tools they had developed to help us recruit. We had been staffing their temporary positions for some time, and had been told we’d be able to also help them find some permanent staff for a fee. The business opportunity and possible revenues was significant. Not to mention, the chance to help a lot of people get new jobs. My excitement soon evaporated as the employment brand was shared. In fact, when it was over, I felt part of something dirty – almost as if I needed a shower to feel better.

The ad agency had created an employment brand based on lies

In full color, and great detail, the client showed us an employment brand designed by the Marketing Department’s favorite advertising agency (i.e. recruiting event handouts, web pages, job descriptions, etc.), that in no way represented the company’s current culture. All I could think of was showing this to candidates and them saying, “Is this a joke?” Why? The company was well known by the talent pool available to them. Their employment brand was already established. In fact, in a future post I’ll explain why all companies’ employment brands already exist – they just need to be revealed. I understood their desire to change their employment brand to attract a new type of talent, but that doesn’t start with marketing – it starts with recruiting!

As you can imagine, the new employment brand failed. Recruiters couldn’t sell it. It was too embarrassing. That’s when I learned that employment branding should be led by recruiting, but supported by marketing.

5 questions recruiters should ask the marketing department

Revealing and utilizing your company’s employment brand for recruiting isn’t as tough as you might think. It starts by leveraging your marketing resources. So, I encourage you to walk down the hall and ask your Marketing Department the following five questions:

  1. What makes our executive team great at running our company?
  2. How are our employees valuable to the success of the company?
  3. What core beliefs does the company need all employees to embrace and why?
  4. What is the one thing that is most impressive to our customers about our company and why?
  5. What shows the world that the people that work here are fun and talented?

These exploratory questions will help you derive stories you can use to reveal the company’s employment brand to candidates. In fact, you could even ask the Marketing Department to draft the stories for you and share them on your company blog so that you can use them when recruiting talent. After all, creating well-written communications is their specialty. The key is to make sure you get final approval on all stories. You need to validate what they’re saying is accurate and compelling to the audience you serve.

Like it or not, recruiters are salespeople…so demand & give input on your sales tools

As a recruiter, I’m a salesperson who must woo top talent to work for my company. To do my job well, and to feel good about it, I need the right sales tools. That means it’s my job to own the employment Brand. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t leverage the marketing department to help me create the best sales tools possible. As long as I have final input to make sure I am 100% confident the tools are something I can use, then I can partner with marketing to ensure they represent the company well.

You can do the same!

Next time you hear, “Recruiters need to think and act like marketers,” you should say, “No. They need to partner with marketers – and I’m on it!”

One last thought about recruiting…

The better the talent, the more sophisticated they are in their job search. This LinkedIn article on how to recruit the ambitious and accomplished outlines the new lengths we need to go to as marketers to attract the best candidates. Don’t be afraid to seek help beyond your Marketing Department either. Nobody is expecting you to have all the employment branding answers. But, they are expecting you to deliver results. Seek tools and information (i.e. this type of webinar for your recruiting team could help), to reveal and leverage your employment brand sooner than later – you’ll be glad you did!

*Image by Jared Cherup

content marketing for talent acquisition