How to “sell” the company to talents on the labor market?

Recruitment marketing as a sales tool.

What exactly is a recruiter’s job? To ensure an adequate number of quality candidates for the entrance interview of open positions in the company. It should be, right? Well, it could be but it doesn’t have to. It was the market situation in the IT community that made the philosophy of recruitment.

You could tell that today the position of a recruiter is almost as important as the position of a developer within an IT company. However, when you find yourself in a situation where you have a shortage of staff in the labor market, then things become especially challenging for a recruiter. Compete on the away field with teams that offer more or less the same things as you. And then how to get the advantage? With the development of the market comes the development of tools that serve to somehow differentiate ourselves from the competition. One of those tools is recruitment marketing. One would think that it is another modern buzzword, but actually the point is to help attract talent with a marketing approach to attract attention.

The attention span is at a very low level, so much information is being served to us from all sides that we practically started paying additional commissions just so that “advertising” content bypasses us.

When we look at things through the lens of marketing, we realize that the right approach to recruitment is actually an approach that must be emotional and personal. I recently had the opportunity to talk with a young developer who is (as he says) between junior and mid-level. On average, he receives 3 to 4 headhunter messages per week. Imagine that. Cold calling does not hold water because communication according to the principle of “everything to everyone” is not something that is applicable to a target group that is as sensitive as programmers. Gone are the days when companies could select a candidate from a pile of applications, often the vast majority of which were irrelevant to the position. Today, emphasis must be placed on a smaller number of relevant applications.

The big truth that isn’t talked about much is that today’s recruiters are actually salespeople. Somehow, we are used to being constantly offered some products or services, but actually the principle of talent acquisition is the same, only we “buy” an idea about a job that is right for us, and the currencies are our time and our knowledge.

Money and benefits are relative things that motivate us in the short term, but the vision of the goals we can achieve, and how we can develop and improve, these are the things that trigger emotion that will make a difference in the sea of ​​similar offers.

Quality recruitment marketing is something that results from the joint efforts of human resources and marketing itself. But it is very important that this effort is recognized by the management in order to direct these resources adequately. These two sectors are business support sectors and therefore understanding their work is necessary. If key stakeholders think that areas like recruitment marketing will bring instant results, they won’t. It won’t because a series of continuous activities is needed in order to reach a situation where, when contacting talents, we get a response from them – yes, I’ve heard of you. You seem cool. Scaling the business does not help this at all. Unfortunately, we live in a time of high dynamism, so we are often forced to carry out some activities purely in order to use up some budget.

Recruiters are the first impression a candidate gets about a company

The big danger lies in how we approach the frames and how we try to get our message across.

There are two types of recruiters, those who are employed directly by the company and those who are part of a service agency. Both forms carry great responsibility because both internal and external recruiters are ambassadors of the company. Talents get their first impression of the company by reading a message in their email inbox or Linkedin profile. Recruitment agencies often give the number of candidates they will deliver as a KPI, but what is a potential problem is how to communicate with those candidates. If the message is not written properly, the automatic consequence is a negative impression on the company on whose behalf the message is sent.

We have learned to recognize when an approach is generic and when it is authentic, and it is clear that we respond positively to authenticity.

Let’s go back to emotions. Therefore, people react when something concerns them and when they can identify or recognize themselves with the object of the offer. When we feel that something is made just for us, the negative barriers that sales bring with it are broken. We open and then the chance of buying is much higher.

Advice on how to approach talent the right way

The personalized address is the first and basic approach in communication with potential colleagues. A prerequisite for personalization is adequate research of the target group and its characteristics. We must first understand our target audience in order to know how to market the message.

The point of the story is that different groups need to be approached differently, and groups are made up of individuals who have certain characteristics by which we actually classify them into certain groups. It is through such a classification that we arrive at a candidate persona or an avatar that represents a group of specific characteristics. What does this actually mean?

It means that by identifying certain aspects of the group, we can actually personalize the message for all members of the group. In this way, it is not necessary to analyze each individual candidate, but through common characteristics, we can achieve the effect of personalized communication that will bring value. What’s more, the more groups or candidate personas we have, the more necessary it is to have messages that we will communicate to them. It is even desirable to have more messages. It is a big mistake if we send one message to all groups. This should not be done because shortening the path results in generic messages that do more harm than good to the reputation.

It is interesting how we as people can fall into different groups and thus the approach to personalization can be different. For example. we can fall into the group of people aged 30 to 35, and we can also fall into the group of parents. Whereas another person who falls into the age range of 30 to 35 does not have to be a parent, so they will be part of a different group. This is precisely why research is the key, because with good research we will understand through which prism we are looking. Depending on the obtained results and their processing, we will further create communication that is compatible with the values ​​of the group itself, and in this way, we will personalize the message that we put out. This is the first step after which we can expect the candidate to now conduct their research – Us as a company.

Here we come to the moment when the candidate researches further about the company and it is simply necessary that there is a place that he can visit and read something more, that there is some campaign that the candidate may have noticed, to see the projects, techniques and technologies that the company is working on. Continuity in communication about the company brings results here. That is why it is important that we are present on all relevant channels, because the moment when the identity of the company is not communicated to us in the right way, the acquisition of staff becomes more and more difficult. That’s why recruitment marketing is important because this field thinks about the mentioned things by creating a strategy, implementing communication and recording results. Only continuity brings results.

The conclusion of this story is understanding the needs of the target group, on the basis of which we “sell” our company to the target group. You understand a recruiter is a salesperson trained differently, but what makes the difference is the approach and quality offered. What is offered to the candidates must be realistic and real as it is presented, otherwise, we enter into the so-called “over promise” which can seriously harm the company’s reputation. Transparent communication is an extremely powerful tool that can make a huge difference if used in the right way, but if not handled carefully it can do more harm than good.

Communicate honestly, with attention to the target group because you need them.

If you are particularly interested in this topic, then join Joberty’s Webinar “Recruitment marketing as a reputation booster” on December 15th, 2023, which we are holding in cooperation with the author of the text, Nenad Sićević. Follow our social networks for more information.


Nenad Sićević

CEO of Storyline