Categories: 6S marketing cultureinbound

Applying Inbound Marketing Principles to Boost Your Employer Brand

Whether you’re an emerging startup or an established brand, hiring is critical to business growth. But finding the right employees for your business is not easy; the best people are not always actively seeking a new role — and if they are, they might not be evaluating your company to further their career. The top talent is now bombarded by recruiters asking for 15 minutes to sell them on a job they aren’t looking for.

Companies used to have control of the recruiting process. Today, over three-quarters of job seekers start their preliminary search on Google (source: CareerBuilder). For candidates, it’s easier than ever before to discover what a workplace is like, which positions are available, and find salary information. Thus, maintaining a strong and positive employer brand is paramount. To cultivate an engaging and helpful candidate experience, recruiters need to start thinking more like marketers.

How can companies attract, hire, and develop world-class talent? HR needs to work in tandem with marketing to create targeted, branded content to effectively increase employer brand recognition and engagement. Inbound marketing methodology has changed the way companies approach hiring. Recently, there has been a strong shift from outbound to inbound principles in recruiting, using helpful content and interactions that build a relationship over time.

Outbound: companies reach out to potential hires

  • Job ads
  • Job boards
  • Staffing and recruitment agencies
  • Cold emails
  • LinkedIn InMail

Inbound: potential hires contact you

  • Glassdoor
  • Social media
  • Referrals
  • Word of mouth

The following inbound marketing principles apply to inbound recruitment:

Lifecycle Marketing
What are the chances a top candidate applies for a job on their first visit to your website or job board? Likely very low. It takes time to convert a visitor into an applicant. Applying for a job is a big personal investment. Instead, consider how a marketer would nurture relationships and stay in touch with the candidate pipeline over time. We often forget that career pages are still landing pages – and their purpose is to convert top talent.

Candidate Personas
Who do your teams need? Who are your applicants? Once you define your company culture, you can identify traits that help people succeed on your team. Translate those traits into a candidate persona. Develop engaging content that this persona will relate to, find the best forum to connect with that persona, and get sharing. As an example, Marketing Coordinator Mary has two years of experience, has content marketing and social media skills, and is interested in learning about new technologies and participating in relevant LinkedIn groups.

Content Creation
How are you telling your employer brand story? Help job seekers find answers to their questions and get an authentic look at your company with content that’s valuable for your candidate persona. Content can include whitepapers, blog post, ebooks, videos, infographics, surveys, landing pages, and even job descriptions.

Active job seekers and passive candidates both learn about your organization from a range of platforms. At 6S Marketing, our Instagram account showcases our company culture very well, while our Facebook inbox receives numerous job applications. Meet potential hires where they are online by taking your employer brand to them.

The Inbound Framework

Inbound marketing has completely changed the way companies think about customer acquisition. By building and nurturing a relationship with prospects before they’re ready to buy, companies can acquire new customers in a far more cost-effective way. However, the process takes time. According to Forrester, it can take as many as 8 touchpoints to influence a decision. With inbound, companies earn attention through great content. As a result, it’s easier for them to move leads through the customer lifecycle towards a purchase.

When you apply inbound principles beyond marketing, you can see how valuable it is to think about hiring in the same way. In recruiting, instead of attracting, engaging, and delighting customers, you’re attracting, engaging, and delighting candidates. Focus on moving new hiring leads through the candidate lifecycle (image below) with different types of content.

The Candidate’s Journey

Remember the buyer’s journey? Now consider the candidate’s journey. Borrowing from inbound methodology, below are the stages of a candidate’s journey and the interactions they can have with your employer brand along the way.

The common goal is moving people from passive to active interactions. Give passive candidates a way to keep in touch with your company through careers newsletters they can sign up for.

Inbound recruiting will lead to better quality applicants. The longer a candidate spends in the decision-making cycle, the more time they spend engaging with your content. As the candidate moves through the funnel, they have had time to self-qualify. They actually have a better understanding of your company, the role, and what you’re looking for!

Recruiting is about relationships. In modern talent acquisition, candidates care about where they’re applying. They’re interested in a relationship with your employer brand.

Driven by Culture

Like with inbound methodology, your evangelists are your happiest employees who talk about how great it is to work at your company. Ask your employees to share in-depth and authentic stories about working at your company. In turn, their friends and networks will hear these positive messages about your employer brand.

Every organization has its own set of values and motivations. At 6S Marketing, our core values are publicly posted on our website. We also include them in each sales proposal and tattoo them on our office walls. Your company culture is your competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting, and it should be the true north of your inbound efforts. Culture is why people come to work for you, and also why they stay. Happier employees spread to happier candidates and happier customers.

Vickie Hsieh :Vickie is 6S's Marketing Manager & Cultural Lead. She spearheads 6S's marketing initiatives and assists the sales team with business development. She also manages the agency's social media communities. Vickie is a graduate of Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Applied Sciences. She is an avid traveller, aspiring yogi, and breakfast food enthusiast. Vickie currently lives in Toronto.