Here’s the big secret: Recruitment is marketing.

This is a much discussed 'trend' in the recruitment industry in recent years.

"Recruitment is becoming more like marketing". "Recruiters need to act more like marketers".

The Undercover Recruiter reports that 86% of recruiters believe recruiting is becoming more like marketing.

While this is a relatively new 'trend' - it’s not news. Perhaps because I came to recruitment via a career in marketing and communications - and my clients and candidates are marketing and communication people.

While recruitment marketing has been a ‘thing’ for a long time - it’s often something that only large corporates have in their organisation structure. And it’s often part of marketing ie separate to the recruitment or HR function. In some sectors, recruitment marketing is traditionally part of graduate recruitment ie marketing campaigns to attract the best and brightest to a firm. 

When you think about it, recruitment being like marketing make perfect sense. It’s not hard to make the connection between attracting customers - and attracting ‘candidates’. After all, they’re both people, right?

We don’t expect customers to walk through the shop door, jump online and buy, or chose a brand, product or service without some effort to attract them, engage them and tell them the story about why they should chose you.

Why should job seekers be any different?

Recruitment is a people business. If we put people at the centre of the process (just like marketers and businesses are putting customers at the centre), the rest will follow.

So, if recruitment is marketing...

Here are the 5 things you should expect to see as part of an effective recruitment process.

#1 - Research

Get to know your market. Who’s looking? What are they looking for? What other similar opportunities are out there for them right now? Understanding supply - and demand - is super important. If you’re going to attract the best people, you need to know what they are looking for (including market salaries) and how to best engage with them.

#2 A candidate persona

Developing the candidate persona is a key step at the beginning of any recruitment process. And guess what? It’s about MUCH more than the job description. It’s thinking carefully about your ‘ideal’ employee and what they could bring to the role. Where might they currently be working? What have they achieved in previous roles? How would you describe their personal style, approach and attributes?

#3 Engagement - LOTS of it

It’s important that you can articulate the ‘why’ of the role. Always remember that the recruitment process is a two-way street. People want to have a sense of purpose, the bigger picture and what this opportunity will give them (as much as what they can give). This is essentially the difference between approaching recruitment as ‘talent acquisition’ and approaching it as a process in attracting and engaging the best people.

#4 A flexible plan

People are unpredictable. You can’t control everything in recruitment. Accept that you might need to be flexible and change your ‘plan’ in order to get to the best outcome.

#5 Excellent communication

This is an obvious one… but based on many, many anecdotes over the years, I know it’s also something that’s often NOT done well in recruitment.

An effective recruitment process MUST include clear, timely, honest communication.

Communication during recruitment is about interpersonal communication skills, written communication skills, transparency and how and when you communicate with everyone involved in the process. It’s about managing expectations - and having an open, authentic dialogue that cuts through the noise.

Communication in recruitment is also about engagement and storytelling. But that’s a story for another day.

As you can see, the connection between recruitment and marketing isn’t all that tenuous. In fact, it’s pretty obvious.

Customers are people.

Candidates are people.

Recruitment is a people business.

#recruitmentdoneright is about attracting and engaging people.

It's not a transaction.

It's not about 'acquiring' something (or someone).

Just like effective marketing, recruitment is a process to identify, attract and engage the best people... to chose your role, your team and your organisation.