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Three Keys to Building a Recruitment Marketing Strategy

Conference session tells employers how to stand out from competition

ORLANDO, Fla.—Celinda Appleby, global head of digital recruitment and employer brand for Oracle, affirms what talent acquisition professionals know: “Every recruiter is a marketer."

2016 SHRM Talent Management Conference

Appleby's session at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Talent Management Conference & Exposition drew a crowd of attendees who wanted to learn from Oracle's success in attracting and hiring the best performers in the workforce. She outlined three key steps for employers to use to create a distinct recruiting strategy that will assess other employers that may be searching for similar talent; set a clear vision for the hiring team; and communicate the company's culture to specific audiences in a strategic way.

Measure the Competition

First, research the market in which you want to hire.

“I like to look at three competitors, but you can look at four or five in the market where you are trying to recruit,” she said. “Your competitors may change depending on who you are looking to attract.”

Present the information about your competitors to company leaders to get the resources you need to make the hires, she said. “But you don’t just talk about it: you show a PowerPoint with data that shows the tangible things that [the competitors] are doing better and what you can learn from them. When it comes to strategy, we’re all jumping off a bridge to follow a successful competitor.”

Create a Mission Statement

Appleby said that the talent acquisition team members will need to write, in one sentence, why they are doing what they’re doing. “This is not your company’s mission statement. This is not the feel-good stuff your company puts out to your customers. It’s the why. Why are you doing this?”

Appleby suggested streamlining the mission statement down from a vague aim like “attracting the best talent” or “creating more user-generated content.” Those lofty goals will not be able to be measured, she said.

Instead, write a niche mission statement for your hiring team. A niche mission, she said, is an easily understood goal for which you can quickly gauge the outcomes, such as “increasing brand awareness in the Midwest for campus recruiting.”

“When my goals are smaller-scale and aligned with the bigger mission, I see bigger wins. And leadership won’t quit on you when they see bigger wins.”

Set Up Your Communication Pillars

Many employers rely solely on their company’s “careers page” on their website to communicate their employment brand. But more channels—and more focused messaging—may be needed. And interestingly, Appleby coached attendees not to put job ads in these messages—keep this communication and brand-building separate from your hiring efforts.

Using #ExploreOracle on social media platforms, Appleby’s team breaks messaging into distinct “buckets” for employees, the business, company culture and career journeys.

The employee bucket focuses on the company’s diversity and engagement.

“In the business bucket, we post things about the business, like we’re building a new data site in Abu Dhabi,” she said. But rather than pass along facts, like in a press release, Appleby says, her team tries to “make it about the employees at the Abu Dhabi center. We make [the] item more human.”

Company culture is portrayed through fun celebrations, social events, volunteerism and the culture at a particular location. “When you work at a big company, each site is going to have its own culture,” Appleby said. “If you sit in Idaho and work for us, you really do want to see what we’re doing in Bucharest. That’s the cool part of working for a global company.”

To demonstrate career journeys at your company, Appleby said, try spotlighting employees who have moved up the ranks. “They are your unsung heroes; they are your brand,” Appleby said. They help, for example, a junior salesperson realize that “the sky’s the limit.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMRoy.


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