As a recruitment marketer, we’re always looking for new ways to attract top talent. It’s easy to get stuck in the same old methods year over year if what we’re doing is gaining results. But it’s important to shake it up now and then.
Take a step back and consider your target audience(s). Who are they? How do they spend their time? If it’s online, on what websites? Once you’ve created a detailed talent profile, you can use it to inform your recruitment advertising strategy.
To get your creativity flowing, we compiled some of the best recruitment advertising tactics and tips from every letter of the alphabet:
- Display Ads
- Job Boards
- Out of Home
- Quality Candidates
- Radio & Podcasts
- Search Engine Marketing
- Word of Mouth
- Zero Cost
Job aggregators act like search engines for jobs. They crawl thousands of websites to find open job listings and then display them in query results, using an algorithm to determine which appear first. Some examples of the top aggregators include Indeed and LinkedIn Jobs.
Aggregators work well in getting lots of visibility on all of your job openings. Job seekers across all industries gravitate toward these sites because they have so many options to apply to.
Pro tip: While you can reach a massive audience with aggregators, you should be smart about ROI and think about distributing your jobs programmatically (read more about it below). Also, don’t forget the niche job boards – in certain situations, it may be preferable to reach a small targeted audience instead of a large one.
While broadcast advertising isn’t exactly a typical recruitment advertising tactic, it has been done! This is when companies place a commercial on local or national television, advertising their jobs. Usually, broadcast requires a pretty large budget, but you’ll be reaching a different demographic than you’d see online.
Broadcast ads are mainly for awareness. It will be challenging to measure success, so use this method accompanied by other forms of advertising that convert.
Pro tip: Some companies have used broadcast quite effectively for recruitment marketing. For example, during the pandemic, Publix Super Markets aired a commercial with a simple “We’re Hiring” message for those who were laid off in 2020. McDonald’s ran a commercial about a specific hiring event they hosted with a call-to-action to sign up for an interview.
Industry conferences provide several unique opportunities for marketing to your target audience. Most offer packages for companies who sponsor their event, including a booth in the career fair, ad placements in the program, posts on their social media, speaking opportunities, and more. Packages vary depending on the conference.
Conferences are great for identifying both passive and active job seekers. Passive talent might attend conferences primarily to listen to keynote speakers and network, so you can reach them by participating in a panel. Active talent will come right to you at your career fair booth.
Pro tip: Target talent in advance of a conference by sending a branded email to all registered attendees. You can tell them where to find you during the conference and even invite them to interview with you on-site!
Display ads are often made up of text-based, image, or video advertisements that call on the target audience to click-through to a landing page and take action. In recruitment marketing, this might be to apply for a job, register for a career fair, or learn more about your company. Place these ads anywhere on the internet where your audience might spend time, on news websites, blogs, and more.
These ads are usually more expensive than other marketing tactics and aim to increase brand awareness and consideration. Given these goals, you should use them primarily as an additional layer to a marketing campaign with other tactics that are more likely to convert applications.
Pro tip: You can also use display ads to retarget job seekers who previously visited your website. For example, if they started an application and left without completing it, you can retarget them with a display ad that says, “Come back and finish your application!”
There are dozens of ways recruitment marketers can leverage email marketing to meet their hiring goals. Use emails to connect with event attendees, nurture talent networks, and invite past or current applicants to take additional action.
Email marketing works well for both immediate calls-to-action and long-term engagement. It’s one of the best tactics for personalization and segmentation. You can send highly targeted emails to build relationships with talent you know has the right experience.
Read more about email marketing and talent networks:
- Talent Networks and Ways (Why) They Can Benefit Your Company
- Best Practices for Creating a Talent Network
Pro tip: If you’re aiming to keep a specific talent pipeline warm, you can invite them to sign up for your email community. Then, you can send them messages with business updates, sneak peeks, recruitment tips, and more. When you have jobs that open up in that function again, your pipeline will feel valued and be eager to apply.
There are dozens of ways to promote your jobs and employment brand on Facebook. From creating a company or careers page to paid ads to the Facebook Jobs marketplace, you can create an entire career ecosystem all within the Facebook platform.
In addition to its scope of offerings, Facebook helps you reach your target audience based on their behaviors and engagement. With such strong targeting, you can get your employer brand in front of the right talent.
Pro tip: Research how other companies in your industry are using Facebook for their recruitment marketing. To get you started, we compiled 10 examples of social recruiting on Facebook.
A geofence is a virtual perimeter around a real-life geographic area. For recruitment marketers, this means you can target that specific radius of online users with your advertisements.
If you are hoping to attract job seekers in a specific area, reach people attending a specific conference, or inviting people to an in-person job fair, geo-fencing your ads is a great way to get them in front of the right people.
This will be especially effective down the road when employees start returning to offices and attending events in person again.
Pro tip: You can use geo-fencing to target the event site for a conference you’re attending. Then, if attendees are scrolling on their phones while waiting for a keynote speaker to start, you can use geo-targeted display ads to remind them to find you at your career booth. Take it a step further by retargeting people a week later if they interacted with your ad during the conference. On the second pass, you can remind them to visit your website and apply.
Aside from a photo or graphic, a headline is the most critical part of your recruitment marketing for grabbing your target audience’s attention. The headline on your ad should solve a problem and convey a mood all at once. You must make your ideal talent want to learn more about your company’s opportunities.
Pro tip: With headlines and job titles, sometimes employers can get carried away trying to be “catchy.” While it’s good to stand out, you also need to ensure your headline sets clear expectations. “Seeking Gurus!” and “Hiring Wizards!” are cliche headlines that don’t actually mean anything.
The more visual sister site to Facebook, Instagram is a great tool for recruitment marketers to showcase company culture. The platform offers the same targeting opportunities as Facebook, but the approach to content is a bit different.
Instagram users are looking for engaging and organic content that helps them to picture themselves at your company.
Pro tip: Instagram has the most varied content types compared to other social platforms. You can use standard posts, stories, reels, and IGTV depending on the type of story you’re hoping to tell. Develop a strategy that uses a combination of these options to increase your engagement.
Serving as a repository of job openings, job boards are different from aggregators. They only post positions on behalf of the companies who come to them looking to advertise jobs online. There are niche job boards across all industries, such as entertainment, medical sales, zoos, and more. Additionally, you can also find job boards focused on diversity groups within industries like the National Association of Black Journalists or iHispano.
While it is more time consuming to post each of your positions to a handful of different job boards, they can be more effective in reaching your target audience, especially for those hard-to-fill positions. After all, the only job seekers who are searching on Engineering.com are likely engineers!
Pro tip: Add source tracking tags to your posting URL to measure the performance of each niche site you test. If your tags are capable of following an applicant all the way through your ATS, you can see if a particular niche site garnered quality applicants. If not, it may not be worth the effort of posting there.
Key Performance Indicators are how you will measure the success of your recruitment advertising. Before you proceed with any combination of ad tactics, it is critical to identify the KPIs you are going to track and the benchmarks you are hoping to achieve with your overall campaign as well as each tactic.
Your recruitment media mix should be made of a combination of media that create awareness, enable engagement, and encourage action from your target audience.
Pro tip: We compiled some KPIs you may want to consider in your recruitment advertising.
As the primary social media site for career-focused users in many industries, LinkedIn should be a high priority for all recruitment marketers. From your company profile, to self-service recruitment advertising opportunities, to its pipeline builder, LinkedIn uniquely allows you to target your audience based on their career history and skills.
In addition to helping increase your applications, running recruitment ads on LinkedIn can benefit your recruiter engagement as well. These ads have been shown to increase InMail response rates from candidates who recruiters reach out to, thanks to the increased brand awareness.
Pro tip: LinkedIn recruitment ads continue to increase their ROI the longer they’ve been in the market, if you’re going to commit to a campaign, try to be in it for the long-term. Your shorter-term needs can be solved by posting your jobs on LinkedIn’s job slots.
While advertising in magazines may seem like an outdated tactic, one in three people in the United States still read them, according to eMarketer. With so many magazines targeting specific industries, there is some potential for recruitment marketers.
If there are popular trade magazines specifically in your industry, you can create awareness for your employer brand by running a series of ads or advertorials promoting your hiring needs. This is especially effective if your brand is new or unknown to an industry. The more its readers see your name in association with that magazine, the more recognition they’ll have with your brand in other contexts (i.e. job ads online).
Pro tip: Create a series of advertorials based on the interviews you conduct for employee spotlights you used in other places. For example, if you have a series featuring engineers on your YouTube channel, you can turn those interviews into written articles that give a peek behind the scenes. Then, you can run the new articles as advertorials on a recurring basis. Advertorials are more engaging than typical print ads.
An advertising network contains many websites hoping to sell ad space, which allows you to easily reach massive audiences. Essentially, if you purchase ads through a network, they will distribute your ads to all of the sites in their network that make sense based on your target audience. They are more efficient than working with individual websites.
By reaching so many websites with one ad buy, you are able to increase your reach and impressions for a brand awareness campaign. Network ads are a useful complement to a job posting campaign with job aggregators.
Pro tip: While ad networks expand your reach, depending on what platform is used, it is harder to micromanage the sites on which your ads appear. If you decide to work with a network, partner together to make sure their website list aligns with your brand values (or more importantly, that they blacklist sites on which you do not wish to appear).
Quite literally any advertisement you come across while out and about the world is considered “out of home.” Examples include billboards, bus stops, street signs, benches, airports, train stations, drive-in movie theaters, event spaces, and even sports stadiums. They target you when your commuting via car, bike, or even walking.
Because they are location-based, out-of-home advertising is best for brand awareness in a very specific geographical market.
Pro tip: Out-of-home ads are great for recruiting front-line workers. Use them for local hiring fairs where you’re hoping for massive volume, rather than a specific set of skills.
Enable programmatic job advertisements to distribute your job postings in the most optimal way across job boards and aggregators. A programmatic partner will learn your campaign goals and create distribution rules to spread your jobs to a network of job boards and aggregators. Because of the way they are set up, a programmatic vendor can optimize your job distribution to only the sites that provide the best value.
Pro tip: The longer you run a programmatic job ad campaign, the better you can optimize your work. Where possible, develop campaigns with longevity to increase your ROI.
Before starting any recruitment advertising, you need to determine what a “quality candidate” means to your organization. Quality candidates are those who have met the basic qualifications for the job. This will impact the way you measure the success of all of your marketing efforts.
“Quality” is not the same for every company. You might determine it is measured by those who passed a recruiter phone screen or maybe is passed to a hiring manager. Once you decide what “quality” means for your company, you can measure the success of all of your campaigns.
Pro tip: Not all of your recruitment advertising will aim to convert quality candidates. Some will be primarily focused on creating employer brand awareness among a larger audience. The media that specifically aims for conversions will be those that have a call to action to apply to a specific job or set of jobs.
Radio ads are more than just advertisements on local radio stations. In fact, they span across audio streaming devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, audio streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as podcasts and podcast networks.
In addition to geographic targeting, you can use many of these options to target listeners based on their interests and more. For example, if you’re looking to hire technologists, you might work with a podcast network to advertise your employer brand on their tech industry podcasts.
Pro tip: Because audio ads do not have any way for listeners to click to learn more, you need to create a vanity URL that is easy to remember if you want to convert listeners. Alternatively, you can use a texting service to ask listeners to text a specific code word to learn more. Then, you can automate a response with a link for them to click on their mobile device.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) uses organic strategies to help your jobs and career site appear in search results. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is uses paid advertising to accomplish the same goal.
SEM is usually a pay-per-click model where you will work with a search engine such a Google to create campaigns that target the keywords you want your jobs and website to appear alongside. You can use job titles, industry keywords, and more to tailor your targeting. Then, when people search for those keywords, they’ll see your ads at the top of their search results.
Pro tip: Did you know you can create SEM campaign so the ads appear in GMAIL? In some situations, this may be the right tactic to reach your target audience. .
What makes TikTok a unique social platform is that it’s primary goal is entertainment, rather than information sharing. To understand how you can use TikTok in your recruitment advertising, you need to do some research to learn how your employees are already using the app.
Based on what you learn, you can use TikTok for recruiter engagement, resharing employee content, and of course, recruitment ads. The platform’s ads manager offers self-service tools to create and manage your ad content.
Pro tip: Create a company profile on TikTok to reshare content that your employees are already posting. You can create your own hashtag and encourage employees to use it when they share workplace content to make it even easier for you to find and build a community.
User-generated content (UGC) is any content such as photos, videos, or graphics that are created by people, rather than brands. UGC is useful for marketers because it is a more authentic way to promote the brand.
In recruitment marketing, the primary source of UGC will be from your own employees. Since your employees are already posting about life working at your organization, you can reshare their content on your company social media accounts, website, and more. Employee-generated content (EGC) gives potential job seekers a more organic look at your employer brand.
Pro tip: Create a contest among your employees to post about life at your company, then you’ll be able to use all of the content they create over the course of time with minimal effort.
One of the most engaging methods of recruitment marketing is through video. You can create and collect video content that highlights your job opportunities, benefits, culture, and give job seekers a look at what it’s like to work at your company.
By creating an engaging video library, you can leverage this content across many of your recruitment platforms like YouTube, other social media, network ads, your career site, and more.
Pro tip: You can even embed videos in your job descriptions. Demystify a confusing job or team by having current team members explain it through video. Or draw attention to your company culture and benefits. Video can make a job posting more engaging and keep people on your site longer.
Referrals are an incredibly powerful tool that should be a critical part of your recruitment advertising strategy. Word of mouth referrals are unpaid and rely on employees and job seekers sharing their experiences with your company.
For employees, this means having a company culture that makes them feel valued and included. For job seekers, it’s about creating a candidate experience that reflects your brand values.
Pro tip: Though word of mouth may feel like it’s out of your control, there is a lot you can do to increase an employee’s willingness to promote your company and job openings. For example, you can create an employee referral program with incentives to help meet your hiring demands.
OK, so obviously experiential doesn’t start with an “X”, but it’s a worthwhile tactic to consider in your recruitment efforts. Experiential marketing is when you invite an audience to interact with your brand in a real-world situation using participatory, hands-on, and tangible branding material.
As recruitment marketers, you can create experiential marketing opportunities as part of larger events you attend like a conference booth, or you can even invite job seekers to visit you on-site. Bring your product or service to life to give potential candidates a sense of the work they’d be impacting if they joined your organization.
Pro tip: For example, if your company created an augmented reality platform, you can let conference attendees try it out when they visit you at a job fair.
Effective recruitment marketing also depends on your ability to be a strong partner within your organization. You need to fully immerse yourself in the business to understand their hiring challenges as well as what makes it a worthwhile place to work for each team you’re filling.
As a recruitment marketer, you should think like both a recruiter and a marketer.
Pro tip: Continue to stay on top of the latest recruitment marketing trends with these resources:
- The Ultimate Recruitment Marketing Resources Guide
- New Year, New Recruitment Marketing: 8 Tactics To Stay Competitive
- Tips and Trends for your Recruitment Advertising Plans
Despite all of these paid advertising tactics, organic marketing can be incredibly impactful when you have a limited budget. With organic social media, word of mouth, SEO, and more, you can make it so that when talent finds your open listings on job aggregators, they arrive to a website with plenty of the information they need to know to make a decision about applying.
Pro tip: If your focus is primarily on organic promotion, it is important that you find ways to tag and track your efforts. Then, you can learn what works best and focus more of your time on improving those methods.
What are some of your tried-and-true recruitment marketing tactics? Let us know in the comments below!