7 Classic Marketing Principles You Can Use to Attract Talent

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In most organizations, the recruiting and marketing departments are two separate entities that rarely work together. They might be in different parts of the office or work in different locations entirely, perhaps never coming into contact other than when a marketing employee is first hired. 

Creative recruiters, however, can learn a thing or two from their marketing colleagues, since many of the same principles used to attract customers also be applied to attract talent. 

Seven Marketing Strategies You Can Leverage to Attract the Right Candidates

1. Think of Candidates Like Customers

It’s common knowledge in the marketing world that companies must sell their customers not just a product, but a solution to a problem. To do this, marketers create what’s known as a value proposition—a brief statement that describes how their product serves customers’ needs. 

For example, the value proposition of a meal delivery service might be that it saves you the time and energy that goes into meal planning. The value proposition of an app like Uber is that it offers the convenience of a car service at an accessible price. 

To bring clarity to your recruiting efforts, create a value proposition for how your company fits into a candidate’s career and life. What are candidates looking for that your company can deliver on? Perhaps your value proposition is that you offer an award-winning training program that gives new employees a fast track to advancement. Maybe you offer the opportunity for candidates to gain experience working with Fortune 500 clients. Perhaps you offer unlimited vacation time. 

While using these things as “selling points” may seem like a no-brainer, crafting them into a direct and compelling value proposition will give you a clear anchor point for your recruitment messaging. 

2. Use a Funnel Approach

Most modern marketing strategies are built around the concept of a funnel. Customers start out at the top of the funnel, where they’re just beginning to become aware of a problem they need to solve. As they move down the funnel, they’re researching options to help them solve their problem and learning more about your company through a series of touchpoints. Finally, when they reach the bottom of the funnel, they (hopefully) become a customer. 

Thinking of the customer journey in this way helps marketers create the right content and use the right language to make a compelling argument that fits where the customer is in the funnel. You can increase the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts by thinking of the candidate journey in the same way. 

Sure, some candidates may be chomping at the bit to work for you right out of the gate—but that’s not typically the case with the most competitive talent or if you’re hiring for a niche role. Instead, they go on a journey down a recruiting funnel, learning more about different companies and weighing their options for the best place to work. In the end, they make the decision that feels best by accepting an offer. 

By approaching the candidate’s experience as a journey rather than just a one-time decision in the form of a recruiting funnel, you’ll be better able to speak to their needs, address their concerns and nurture the relationship in a way that makes their final decision an easy one.  

3. Speak Their Language

Part of building a strong company culture is hiring employees who share your core values and believe in your mission. When employees feel aligned with their company’s values, it breeds greater engagement, which drives both productivity and retention. 

Still, it’s not always so straightforward to attract talent that shares your values. One strategy for achieving it is to speak their language. 

Marketers who are trying to reach suburban moms use different language than those trying to reach 20-something urban professionals. Especially since the two groups have different needs, wants, challenges and lifestyles. Your approach to your candidates should follow suit.

If you’re looking to attract seasoned professionals who value stability, reputation and conservative values, you’ll need to use different language than if you’re looking to attract progressive change-makers who value independence and risk-taking. Always craft your recruitment messaging—both written and verbal—with the ideal candidate and their values in mind.

4. Eliminate Friction

Digital marketers are always working to eliminate what’s known as friction—anything that gets in the way of a customer making a purchase—from the checkout experience. This means having a site that works just as well on a smartphone as on a desktop, doesn’t require the user to jump through a ton of hoops like creating an account in order to check out, and so on.  

Your recruiting process has friction, too. Maybe it’s a clunky application system all candidates are required to go through or an antiquated personality test they’re required to pass. We’ll bet you can think of a few things that not only slow you down when hiring, but that can be a turnoff to candidates. 

Identifying and removing these friction points will help you cut down your average time-to-hire, which will ultimately help you save on costs and provide a better candidate experience.

5. Everyone Is Not Your Target Market

In order to market a product or service successfully, your target customer can’t be ‘everyone.’ When you try to speak to everyone, your messaging ends up being so generic that you’re not saying anything meaningful to anyone. Instead, marketers know that the greatest business success lies in finding your niche and blowing the competition out of the water in that specific market. 

In recruiting, you’ve probably seen this concept in practice when you cast your net too wide for a job opening. When your listing appears on every major job board, for example, you’re likely to be so inundated with applications that it’s hard to cut through the noise to the ones that are actually a good fit for the role. Your post would be much more effective—and cut down on a whole lot of screening time—if you posted it to one or two job boards specific to the industry or role for which you’re hiring. It boils down to quality over quantity. 

When deciding where you’ll publicize a job opening, do it with the classic marketing maxim in mind: everyone is not your target market. 

6. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Marketing, like many business segments, is often subject to the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that in any given endeavor, 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. This also frequently applies in sales, where a small number of bestsellers drive the majority of revenue, and in staffing, where a handful of top performers are responsible for the majority of a department’s results. 

The danger in this principle, though, is that it means you’re overly reliant on one factor to make or break your success, whether that’s a single product category, a handful of all-star employees, or when it comes to hiring, one recruiting channel. If that channel suddenly goes kaput, you’re in a bad situation. 

That’s why marketers diversify their efforts. While they might prioritize a top channel that performs best, like PPC ads or Instagram posts, they don’t simply flip the switch off everywhere else. Instead, they allocate a smaller segment of budget and resources to maintaining a variety of marketing efforts for the sake of diversifying. 

Your recruiting efforts should be similarly diversified to avoid having all your eggs in one basket. 

7. Measure, Analyze and Optimize

As the old saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Marketers can’t make reliable strategy decisions without a strong data set that includes key information like sales numbers, website traffic, ad spend and return on investment. Solid recruiting decisions require a parallel data set. 

The metrics that are most meaningful to you will vary based on factors like your industry, annual revenue, and company size, but some of the most common ones to watch include the source of hire, cost per hire, time to hire, and pass-through rate. These numbers can help you get a clear handle on which recruiting channels and strategies perform best for your organization so you can allocate future resources accordingly. Measure, analyze, and work to optimize them on a consistent basis. 

Related: How To Leverage Data To Improve Your Recruitment Process

Build a More Effective Recruiting Strategy with 4 Corner Resources

Even the most seasoned hiring managers can get stuck in a recruiting rut. Breathe new life into your staffing strategy with creative solutions from 4 Corner Resources. We’re a staffing firm with more than 15 years’ experience helping companies hire for skill and culture fit. We can help you implement a talent acquisition plan that reduces costs and saves you time. 

Whether you’re looking for a little extra help to support your internal hiring team or you want to outsource your staffing needs completely, we have a solution that suits your business. Schedule a call with our team today to get started. 

If you have a staffing question you’d like us to answer in a future post, submit it by clicking here.

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn