Ten years ago I stood in a board meeting and presented how a successful recruiter needed to adopt a consumer lead approach to recruitment marketing and business and become more customer centric with our candidates. At the time there were more than a few blank faces.

The question returned was why?
 
And the response I was given was ‘Recruitment is a process; we advertise jobs, we search our database for candidates and we process applications through to interview and offer.
 
At the time the business was forgetting that recruitment is about people and people make decisions based on feelings, emotions, experience, recommendation and influence, as well as informed research. The same factors which influence our buying decisions from cars, holidays and clothing through to our choice of supermarket. 
The average person spends half their waking life at work. The working environment, the job and how they feel at work is fundamental to that individual’s happiness. This makes their choice of future employer one of the most important decisions their life.
 
Marketeers for many years in all areas of business work with a simple acronym AIDAAwarenessInterestDesireAction to define the stages a potential customer goes through.
 
The experience and messages they receive will define whether they become a customer. Replace customer with ‘candidate’ and this relates to whether a potential applicant decides to become a candidate, decides that the company or role isn’t for them, or drop out of the process. The experience they have will also determine whether that individual becomes a brand advocate.
 
The use of Social Media in corporate recruitment marketing has been the focus of many a conference and event, but is broadened. At the recent 4MAT Business Breakfast ‘Recruiting the Best Talent’, with guest HR and Resourcing professionals from a wide range of companies, including RWEnpower, Virgin, Sainsburys and Apple, a common theme developed. In the modern era of recruitment the whole experience is important and this goes beyond recruitment social media to embrace a broader marketing approach to candidate attraction and engagement.
 
Taking AIDA as point of discussion, looking at each step over the next few blogs we can apply this to recruitment in the following manner:
 
Awareness
 
Creating awareness of an employer brand will vary in difficulty depending on the size, type and sector in which a business operates. A well known consumer brand such as Sainsburys, ASDA, Pepsi or Apple has a wealth of brand awareness generated through its mainstream marketing, whereas a niche business to business manufacturing company is unlikely to have the employer brand awareness outside their customers.
 
Creating awareness comes down to choosing the right media channel for your target candidate market and this is where a research based approach will save time and effort. Understand what your candidates are interested in, where they ‘hang out’ and what messages to use. This may be traditional advertising and there is no reason why print shouldn’t be used, especially if the business recruits primarily within the immediate vicinity. More likely this could include online, ranging from job boards for active job seekers to specific relevant websites and the use of Social Media and Networking to target the more passive individual.
 
Awareness can also be created through good use of recruitment search engine optimisation and ensuring that your career website is targeting the relevant keywords. For active candidates, it’s essential that your vacancies are indexed by Google with the relevant keywords. As job title and location account for over half of job related searches it is extremely important that vacancy SEO is focussed in this direction. Additional content, such as blogs, news and white papers can be effectively used to target the more passive candidate with careful keyword research and selection.
 
Once you have a presence in the relevant locations and start creating an employer brand awareness the next step is to get their interest, which will be discussed in the next instalment.
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