4 Marketing Tactics HR Leaders Should Adopt Now

May 4, 2015

You’ve probably heard it before – “HR should think like marketing.” Maybe you even cringe just reading it.

But, phrases like this came about for a reason: the traditional recruitment process just doesn’t work anymore. Yes, technology has benefited HR leaders by bringing them closer to candidates. However, it has also made it harder than ever for companies to stand out, influence perceptions, and speak to the right talent.

Now, we're not saying you should be a "marketer." However, there are a few marketing tactics that HR leaders can benefit from adopting in order to attract, connect and engage candidates. Why? For starters…


Targeting and attracting the right talent means less work sourcing and decreased turnover in the long run. That said, here are four simple marketing tips HR leaders can start implementing today:

1. Take the time to understand your target audience.

To engage consumers, marketers do their research - mapping out personas and observing how their target audience acts.

For recruiting, this means investing time in understanding who your best potential hires are, what motivates them, and how best to approach them. A good way to start is by tapping into your current employees and getting their feedback. If they were the right fit for your company, their connections have a higher likelihood of being the right fit too.

As an example, after realizing their message wasn't being heard by their target student audience, Standard Chartered shifted its approach. They began providing students more information and actually guiding them through the decision making process. They also made sure that they were speaking the students language and communicating in a relatable and engaging way. After making these changes, they are filling roles faster and application numbers are up by 50%. You can read more details in our HR Leaders Guide to Marketing.

2. Use data to inform your decision-making.

For decades, marketers have relied on customer buying patterns, shopping habits and brand research to inform and refine their campaign strategies. Using HR data effectively can help you not only make better hires, it can also be used to identify shortfalls or gaps in existing employee policies, and even identify potential causes of a high turnover.

Take Google for example, which relies heavily on data for talent acquisition and retention. This is illustrated through its hiring process, which sees candidates only participate in four rounds of interviews. After analyzing the recruitment process, Google determined that they don't achieve greater confidence as to whether an interviewee is a good fit beyond four interviews, and as such they have managed to streamline the recruitment process and only take an average of 45 days to hire.

To start applying data to your decision-making process, consider beginning at the end. Make your own hypothesis of a current HR issue you are facing, then look to data to either confirm or debunk your theory.

3. Don’t expect attention. EARN it.

Marketers are single-minded in their objective to gain the attention of their target audience. When it comes to HR, the industry has been traditionally reliant on expecting attention from the target audience. But, in our rapidly evolving landscape, you need to work hard to get noticed.

When it comes to recruiting, the reality is that more often than not, the best talent for your company already has a job and isn’t looking. To earn the attention of the passive job seeker, you need to get creative. Consider a personalized recruitment approach or a creatively targeted outdoor campaign.

Luxury retailer DFS was able to improve its brand recognition and attract candidates by implementing Work With Us campaigns on its LinkedIn Career Page, which advertised DFS jobs to LinkedIn users who viewed that page. This increased its company followers on LinkedIn by 3x and applications grew by 20%.

4. Provoke a reaction.

Marketers strive to create experiences that are exciting and relevant to their audience – whether it’s in the form of a timely tweet or an interactive outdoor activation.

Similarly, HR needs to be relatable and memorable to get candidates to emotionally invest. Think about what you can do or say that will captivate candidates - what will make your company stand out from the rest?

German advertising agency Jung Von Matt used a personal and creative recruitment campaign to stand out and get the attention of the candidates they wanted. They were looking for an Art Director and decided to target them on lipsum.com, a website that generates dummy text for creative lay outs. By getting their job offer in front of this audience, they were able to drive thousands of potential candidates to their career page.

To read more about Jung Von Matt's creative HR campaign and get more insights and case studies, download the LinkedIn – E3 HR Leader’s Guide to Marketing.

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