How Marketing Influences Talent and Helps Meet Hiring Goals

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer April 10, 2018
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How Marketing Influences Talent and Helps Meet Hiring Goals

Kristin Kelley, chief marketing officer, Randstad North America.

​Recruiters and hiring managers are typically seen as the prime stakeholders in talent acquisition, but another important collaborator—the marketing department—also plays an integral role in hiring.

Marketing does more than drum up new business. The function influences talent every day by driving consumer awareness and sentiment. In recent years, recruiters have begun borrowing core marketing practices like communicating brand, nurturing leads and measuring recruitment marketing results.

The chief marketing officer of staffing firm Randstad North America, Kristin Kelley, talked with SHRM Online about the intersection of recruiting and marketing and how aligning these two functions can help companies attract talent.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

SHRM Online: What are some of the ways that the marketing department works to influence talent?

Kelley: Historically, marketing has always been part of the process, whether it's helping to create job templates, or working with various job boards and sources of talent. Marketing can control the mechanisms through which to bring talent in, whether that's through search engine optimization or search engine marketing, or over various social platforms.

Talent has more of an upper hand than we think. And their ability to sway other people to think in the same way is stronger than it's ever been. Marketers need to think about reputation management, review sites and customer brand. It's still important how people feel about the company, and that's a very different way of approaching talent acquisition. I don't know if employers are making the direct connection between consumer reviews and the company's ability to hire. When I leave a star rating of a 2 or a 5 about the dentist I visited or a meal I've eaten, I'm directly impacting the attractiveness of that company as an employer. Managing consumer sentiment is super important to securing top talent and plays directly into the overall candidate experience.

SHRM Online: What are some of the ways that the marketing department can best collaborate with the talent acquisition [TA] team to attract talent?

Kelley: Both parties bring different things to the table. Marketing is the expert in sentiment and plotting customer—in this case, talent—journeys. Getting a job is one of the most emotional experiences people go through. Marketing tends to take the lead on understanding those personal moments and managing the channels where people expect to see those sentiments—on social media, on Glassdoor, on the careers site.

TA is very good at sourcing candidates and closing them. We can share our expertise with TA, getting them to understand that every interaction counts while they sniff out the right person for the role. It's a marriage of the emotional and the technical to make a perfect union.

More specifically, marketing can help get people interested in the company through job ads. Collaboration teams could work on how to write an effective job description. What people want in a job has shifted. You don't have to lead with salary and benefits, or just list job requirements. People want to know about your diversity and inclusion efforts, volunteer days off, the company dress code.

Another area would be collaborating on how to handle the segmentation of people applying to these jobs. Not everyone is equipped for each job. We want to make sure recruiters find people the right jobs, and in any situation, providing candidates with a good experience is incredibly important. Managing talent is something we can do together, based on a segmented approach with automation technology. For example, marketing teams can use marketing automation and analytics to rank and sort candidates into segments—those most likely to be a good fit to fill a particular job and those who match better with other positions. This allows employers to take candidates in each qualification category down a unique experience. In other words, those most qualified should expect to get asked to interview for the position at hand, but those not qualified should still expect a good experience or perhaps a different interview opportunity. 

A harder one is creating a mindset around customer sentiment. I would argue that reputation management should be the No. 1 strategy of service-related companies today— not just going out to Glassdoor to see what people are saying about you, but collaboratively coming up with the touch points each area has with talent and defining the responsibilities of that candidate experience. Marketing can own some of them, and TA can own some of them.

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