Understanding web behavior as a compass to a total Recruitment Marketing Strategy

How people communicate and leverage the web today has significantly changed since 2007.  These changes will challenge the recruitment and staffing profession to understand web trends, become experts in programs and only execute activities that align to both the brand promise and the brand experience.

What is a Brand Promise?

The business dictionary defines “Brand Promise” as:  Benefits and experiences that marketing campaigns try to associate with a product in its current and prospective consumers‘ minds.

Definition 2:

The brand promise is what audiences are assured of receiving as a result of their relationship with the brand.

A Brand is our image in the marketplace.  Recruitment and Staffing is an extension of the brand and the brand experience.   Therefore our customers, who are candidates, get attracted by our brand, the messaging and the opportunity. The activities we engage in as Recruiting professionals should communicate the brand and serve as a beginning of the brand experience.


Stop and ask yourself, what is your corporate Brand and how does that translate to the experience a candidate should receive?  Would you segment your population? How?   Keep that question in mind as you put in action your robust marketing plan. NOTE: ACTION and EXPERIENCE can impact referrals and hires.  A poorly executed recruitment marketing program where the follow through is the missing link, can create a word of mouth viral marketing effort that counters all of the good efforts.

Web Behaviors

Now that we have walked through the definition of the Brand Experience, the next step is to understand how the web is used by every day people and how this can impact the success of our recruitment marketing efforts.

In 2007 – 52% of the population were inactive.   33% watched.   19% criticized.    In recruitment the activities translate to a focus on Job Boards, banner advertising,  and email communications.  The critique factor came from websites such as Vault.com and corporatememos.com.  Technologically  applicant tracking system companies improved the candidate interface, support two levels associated with source of hire, as well as enable communication triggers and tools to communicate to a  candidate. Candidate communications were very transactional and simple between the candidate and the employer. Finally the OFCCP began their journey around the definition of an internet applicant.

In 2010 – 24% of people used the internet to create, 33% converse, 37% are critics, 59% have joined and only 17% are inactive.   How this translates to recruiting are the increased tools to source candidates; The evolution of Social networking websites such as Linkedin, Spoke and others;   Real-time communications such as twitter and texting; Mobile media and interactive strategies to provide a candidate instant access to a live person or experience. An increasing number of corporate critic sites such as glassdoor.com and jobvent.com.  Technologically applicant tracking systems which have focused on compliance must now merge with CRM tools to show the love. Finally, the start of an evolution to actively market to retiree’s, alumni and contingent labor as we move into the FREELANCE ERA.


The impact of these changes results into a set of expectations, that due to economic trends and the stretched role demands of HR and Procurement are not being met:

Candidates Want:

1. Instant feedback

2. Company insights and education

3. What they read is what they should expect

4. A clear path on how to enter a company whether it is full-time, part-time or project based

Whereas Recruiters are expected to:

1. Outreach to more people

2. Obtain quicker results

3. Stay focused

4. Provide quality service

5. In some cases move from a high touch to a high transaction delivery model

The reality of these changes are:

1.  People can learn and experience within a very short amount of time.

2. Candidates do not get the instant feedback, if any.

3. Recruiters have many more people to sift through.

4. The candidate experience has suffered.

5. HR and Recruiting must execute programs and marketing with greater strategy and skill.

6. People are using and leveraging internet technology different and so must we.

7. Networks are alive.

We need to look at how we work differently and fine tune all of our strategies and practices to meet the changing world.  While today we grapple with measuring our lead to hire ratios, we will also need to look at the brand and its impact over time to attract and retain quality talent. All of which tie back to an ongoing recruitment marketing strategy which is dependent upon an overall talent strategy within the organization.


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