Listen First Recruitment Marketing Tactics

For a brief period of my career, I stepped away from recruitment marketing into the world of remote IT. My role was to not only figure out the ins and outs of this business and their customers but to build their marketing function from 0 to profitable. I went into the job naively. I thought, “if I can do basic marketing, I can definitely do this.”

In some ways that was absolutely true. The basics were essentially the same. First, taking a look at their operating systems and getting the right tools in place before moving on to persona identification and content creation. I went hacking away, checking off my to-do list, replacing their legacy infrastructure and rebuilding Salesforce only to realize I forgot something really important. Listening.

I didn’t consider that I should know the audience first. That their problems and ideas are the ultimate fodder for great content marketing. That they mattered more than my opinions of what mattered. That knowing them was actually the best strategy of all.

This exact approach plays out in recruiting departments across the country every day. Hot-shot recruiters think they know it all for every role. They pick up a new req and immediately post on a job board and LinkedIn then dive into sourcing and calls instead of listening to the team that’s already hiring and researching candidates to create recruitment marketing profiles. They lean on the BS best-practices and “bullet-proof” ideology created by tech-industry marketers. In reality, most of this advice is simply bull-headed and this lack of listening multiplies. It bleeds into the team culture, the candidate experience and especially recruitment marketing.

See, recruitment marketing that’s created “because we have to” and not specifically for the candidates you’re trying to target will always fall flat. It won’t “speak to them” in a way that makes them want to act or work for your company. Most importantly, it won’t deliver on the bottom line: the candidates you need to fill the jobs.

I’m sure there’s some group of people going “but I don’t have time for that!” I know, that’s why I started a recruitment marketing company. Regardless, I won’t leave you high and dry for how you can do this yourself.

Listen-First Recruitment Marketing Tactics

Before executing your next recruitment marketing campaign, try this path to new ideas.

  1. Talk to other recruiters who have hired for this role before. They know the landscape, the candidates and even better – they may have a lead for you.
  2. Go talk to the hiring manager for 5 minutes and ask what their best employees in the role had in common. Write about or find sources that share that value/interest and spend some time getting to know their interests and online behaviors.
  3. Include people who have the job now and could refer candidates. Work with them to create a “day in the life” video with a DIY video kit (like this one from SkillScout. Full disclosure, I advise them.)
  4. Do a survey and turn that data in toattraction adds. Feature benefits and perks that your employees love to attract people who would also be motivated by those things.
  5. If you decide to invest in a talent community, make it all about benefiting your candidates, not yourself. Include content from hiring managers about how to be more successful.

Candidate Generation and Nurturing Online Strategy and Job Boards recruiting Recruiting Voice

Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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