Recruitment Marketing 101: The Complete Guide

By Social Hire Contributor

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Recruitment Marketing Guide

Over 78% of companies can’t find enough talent to bolster their workforce, and if you’re reading this right now, then chances are you painstakingly know this already (if not, then you’ll get there). 

Because for 7 out of 10 companies, this is their sad reality already.

They’re pulling their hair out, wondering why the ads aren’t working or why their job posts aren’t hauling in any applications, and for every second ticking by, they’re wasting time, money, and energy. 

What a tragedy. 

Luckily though, you won’t be one of them because we’ll show you…

  • The trick to expanding into a market size with higher qualifications.
  • The 4 actionable solutions with proven results.
  • The step-by-step guide to creating a recruitment marketing plan.
  • 8 bonus ideas to enhance your recruitment strategy. 
  • The top 10 recruitment marketing tools today.

We’ll spoon-feed these 5 priceless takeaways in just 16 minutes. Now before we jump into it, let’s take a quick dip at the basics to refresh our understanding of recruitment marketing.

What is Recruitment Marketing?

Recruitment Marketing is the art of attracting high-grade talent to your company.

We call it an art form because of the brilliance it takes to mix unconventional creativity and careful calculations in the marketing field. 

Just look at Ogilvy’s gripping recruitment campaign to find “The World’s Greatest Salesperson”.

Ogilvy Ad

Source: Ogilvy

With the promise of a pitching opportunity at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and a 3-month paid internship: this job opening was every salesperson’s dream.  

The only catch? Sell a brick. No, I’m not kidding, you have to literally sell a brick to pass. 

This unusual yet intriguing marketing plan spread across social media, and it’s no coincidence: contests are a brilliant way to invite skillful applicants to an initial screening test.

Another example is Google’s “The Puzzling Billboard” in 2004. 

Google Hiring Ad

Source: Google

The billboard consisted of a complex mathematical equation that only the brightest problem-solvers could answer. 

After solving this escape room puzzle, they were immediately taken to another challenge which reveals the following text message once solved:

“Nice work. Well done. Mazel tov. You’ve made it to Google Labs, and we’re glad you’re here. One thing we learned while building Google is that it’s easier to find what you’re looking for if it comes looking for you. What we’re looking for are the best engineers in the world. And here you are.”

Amazing, right?

If you wanna try this out yourself, here are 30 DIY puzzle ideas that may be helpful.

Now let’s break down how the process works. 

How Does It Work?

Talent Acquisition Process

This is the Talent Acquisition Funnel: a step-by-step process of the hiring system from beginning to end. 


This is the phase where your audience knows about your brand and job opening but has yet to respond. 

Since this is the birthplace of any form of interest, paid advertisements are usually used here.


This is the phase where your audience knows about your brand and job opening, then they’re considering the possibility of applying.

This is where repetitive advertisements come into play which you extensively see on TV and social media platforms. 

Because according to a study by the Journal of Marketing, repetition increases consideration. 

In fact, the chairman of Jekyll + Hyde Advertising states that you need 3.7 impressions before a viewer truly gets your message.

So in this stage, it’s all about getting out there and staying out there.


This is the phase where your audience actively wants to know more about your brand and job opening. 

At this point, you finally got their full attention and they’ll most likely apply. 

However, not everyone will fit your standards. 

According to the president of Job Market Experts, only 2% of applicants get an interview so you can’t celebrate yet. 


This is the phase where your audience is applying for the job offer and taking assessment tests for initial screening.

According to TestDome, over 90% fail their pre-employment test so yep, we’re still far away from filling in the gap. 

Selection + Hire

This is the phase where you select which applicants are most befitting for the position and hire them.

This is where you start to interview the applicants that pass the assessment forms. 

However, CareerPlug reports that only 2-14% get hired: another disheartening fact.

But if you got the talent you wanted, then congratulations, you just overcame a challenge that over 76% of hiring managers fail

As you can see, it’s a hectic and difficult process, right? 

You have to blow your wallet just to be seen, then pay a bit more to keep being seen, and when you finally get applicants, only 10% pass, only 2% get an interview, and only 14% get the job.


However, there’s a secret trick that will save your recruitment marketing campaign, and it is to target tiptoers and passive candidates

What Are Tiptoers & Passive Candidates?

According to LinkedIn, only 5-20% of the population is actively looking for jobs, so the remaining 80% of the job market are either tiptoers or passive candidates. 

Tiptoers and passive candidates are employees that are open to new opportunities, although they aren’t actively seeking a new job. 

This audience is the goldmine in recruitment marketing, because not only are there higher prospects due to the higher market size, but their previous work experiences also mean they have higher qualifications than the typical job seeker. 

Once you realize this, you’ll clearly understand what is the real goal, and it is to expand your target tiptoers and passive candidates, not just active job seekers. 

What Is The Challenge?

This is easier said than done. 

Unlike active candidates with full commitment and job-ready availability, these passive candidates are more challenging to engage, and here’s why: 

They might be satisfied with their current job

Since they’re already staying in a job, then it’s safe to assume that there’s a degree of satisfaction to compete with. Whether it’s salary, work culture, additional benefits, or career growth opportunities: you need to be more attractive than their company. 

They need an easier application process

Due to their limited availability, your application process needs to be easier because these candidates will neither have the time nor energy to write essays about who they are or make 2-minute video introductions about why they’re a good fit. 

Here’s what you can do to streamline the process better: 

  • Use checklists
  • Stick with yes-or-no questions
  • Utilize number scales
  • Add resume or portfolio insert links

This varies between industries so try to personalize it by simulating the shoes of a full-time employee. 

There will be delayed start dates

Even if you were successful, they can’t just abruptly quit their job.

They’ll likely need to give a 2-week notice to their current employers so if you’re looking for immediate hires, then active job seekers are your best bet on this. 

Now let’s get into the actual solutions for these problems.

What are the solutions? 

Below are the 4 actionable solutions you can implement to attract passive candidates. Since it’s also applicable to active candidates, you can consider them as the key to recruitment marketing as a whole. 

Glorious Employer Brand Positioning

What’s the difference between Harvard and a normal university? Branding. 

When you think of Harvard University, you immediately picture excellence: the birthing place of the best of the best like Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Conan O’Brien, and more. That’s why flocks of students from all over the world aspire to get into this prestigious university. 

This is the impact of glorious brand positioning and you can see it in any industry. Whether it’s technology like Microsoft, automotive like Tesla, or shoes like Nike: a brand is what separates you from the rest. 

With Recruitment Marketing, you should make everyone feel like an elite societal workforce for belonging to your company. 

The perfect example for this is VXI Global Solutions which positions its brand by promoting how they’re the number one customer care solutions provider. They back this up with legitimate various awards like…

  • The Best Employer of The Year 2022 
  • 3-Time Best Employer of The Year 
  • Contact Center Leader of The Year
  • Customer Service Management Team of the Year 
  • Contact Center Outsourcing Provider of the Year 

Another example is TaskUs which positions its brand by promoting a “people first” culture with an empathetic and creative nature. To display this, they boast the most aesthetically winsome workspaces which undoubtedly stand out in corporate workspaces. 

With these kinds of brand positioning, candidates from other companies will come flocking at your door. 

Know more: Employer Branding with Bryan Adams: Repel the Many, Compel the Few & Eye-Opening Branding Statistics – 2022 Edition

(If you’re a start-up, then check out this startup branding playbook).

Build A Career Page For Your Website

Now that we understand how invaluable brand positioning is, it’s time to move forward to one of the biggest contributors to a fantastic image: a career page for your website. 

A LinkedIn survey shows that 61% of industry leaders in talent acquisition believe that a career page is the best channel to build your employer brand. 

It also makes applications a lot easier which is perfect for tiptoers and passive candidates.

So if you want to start positioning your brand image then start with a career page.

Incentivize Employees To Market on Social Media 

Employee referrals are the most high-converting recruiting strategy ever. 

According to Social Media Today, content shared by employees is getting 8x more engagement than any content shared through official brand channels.

Another study from Edelman Trust Barometer shows that an employee advocate gets 2x more trust than their CEO. 

It doesn’t end there because company employees have 10x more social connections than your brand does according to Social Chorus

This especially grows more impactful when you realize that brand messages had a 561% higher reach when it comes from employees, instead of the official brand channels. 

Additionally, these brand messages are also shared 24x MORE often than the actual brand channel.

All of these are shockingly insane statistics but they make sense. 

It’s a given that any company would promote itself so there’s always this instinctive assumption that they’re biased in some way or another. 

However, when it comes to employees, they are speaking from their own experience in the company’s work environment so the level of trustworthiness is incomparable.

Hence the huge gap in effectiveness between employee promotions and official brand channel promotions. 

Use Videos

This is an absolute must-have and if you don’t believe me, just see the statistics below from FireFish

  • Video content has 1200% more shares than text and image content on social media
  • Recruitment agencies report getting 800% more engagement on job ads with videos
  • People stayed 2.6 times longer on pages with videos
  • Including the word “video” in your email subject lines can increase open rates by 20% and click-through rates by 65%

Here is a list of recruitment marketing videos you can watch:

All of these are digital marketing strategies and as you can see, it’s the most effective solution for recruitment marketing today. So make sure you know sufficiently about it, since it’s the core foundation of your marketing plan, know more about it here.

Steps to Create a Recruitment Marketing Plan 

Now that we clearly understand our recruiting challenges and solution, let’s move forward with our recruitment marketing plan. 

For a more in-depth explanation of how to write a marketing plan, click here.

Define Your Goals

This is the starting point of any plan. 

While it may seem like a no-brainer, a lot of company objectives are too vague or unrealistic. 

To help you out, here’s a list of objectives that you might target: 

  • Get more job applicants
  • Get more high-quality candidates
  • Increase candidate engagement
  • Increase employer brand awareness
  • Get more career site visitors
  • Get more applicants from social media
  • Increase employee referral rates
  • Increase offer-acceptance rate
  • Increase the number of diverse applicants
  • Increase the number of recruitment event attendees.

Define Your Target Audience 

Knowing your target audience allows you to craft ads that will cut close to the bone and make viewers feel like it’s the perfect opportunity for them.

Here’s a list of info you should collect: 

  • Sex and gender
  • Age
  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Hobbies
  • Geographical location
  • Motivations
  • Frustrations
  • Brands they may associate with
  • Current job
  • Family
  • Personality type
  • Passive/Active

Here’s a useful tip: dive deep into Reddit, Quora, or AnswerThePublic to understand some of these. 

They are usually a treasure chest of high-quality answers.

Define your value proposition

This is perhaps the most crucial part. 

It answers the question: what’s in it for me?

Remember that these employees will be devoting 8 hours every day to your company and they’re not doing it for you, but for themselves. 

So don’t be shy with your employer value proposition and lay it out there in complete detail.

Here’s a guide.


  • Salary Satisfaction
  • Compensation System Satisfaction
  • Raises & Promotions
  • Timeliness
  • Fairness
  • Evaluation System


  • Time Off
  • Holidays
  • Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Education
  • Flexibility
  • Family

Additional resource: The Ultimate Guide To Employee Benefits Management Platforms


  • Career Growth
  • Stability
  • Employee Training & Development
  • Consultation
  • Evaluation & Feedback

Know more: What is Employee Training & Development?

Work Environment

  • Recognition
  • Autonomy
  • Personal Achievements
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Challenges
  • Roles & Responsibilities

Know more: 7 Useful Tips to Create an Ideal Work Environment


  • Company Goals & Plans
  • Leaders & Managers
  • Support
  • Collaboration & Team Spirit
  • Social & Moral Responsibility

Time For Marketing 

Now it’s time to be visible to everyone. 

There are various ways to do this but here are a few examples of the mediums you can use:

  • Blogs
  • Email
  • Newsletter
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • White papers, case studies, and eBooks, Infographics, diagrams, flowcharts & graphs
  • Checklists
  • Mini-games and competitions.

Prepare your career site 

Here’s a list of elements that make up a great career page: 

  • An up-to-date job listing
  • A simple search engine
  • Easy application process
  • Concise brand position
  • Easy communication
  • Appealing visual direction
  • Thorough information
  • Ease of information editing
  • Access to analytics

Use social media

Social media is a potent platform to get traffic and conversions but it can be difficult to navigate.  You’ll need to manage multiple accounts at once like…

Social media management is a daunting task that can stain your company’s reputation with one mistake. 

So in this case, we highly suggest getting professional assistance from a social media agency, which is only 1/3  the cost of a full-time social media manager.

Develop employer brand ambassadors

Employee referrals are one of your best weapons so here are a few steps you can do to get started: 

  • Inform your employees of job openings
  • Encourage them to leave reviews and share their work experience
  • Organize employee events
  • Brand employee giveaways

Collaborating with your employees to build your brand is a mutually beneficial partnership. By creating a sense of belonging and encouraging your team to spread the word, you will appear as a company where people are happy to work for and enjoy their time there. Google, Apple, and Facebook are great examples of companies that have succeeded in creating an engaging working environment. 

Know more: What is Partner Marketing and How Can It Help Your Business Grow?

Build your talent pool

Building an accessible talent pool is crucial.

You can’t just look for employees only when you need them, you need to stock up on talent that you can immediately approach in case of emergency.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Build a talent community on your careers page
  • Build an effective referral program
  • Retain information on those who leave in case they want to come back
  • Re-engage unsuccessful candidates
  • Engage students and graduates-to-be
  • Keep candidates who are not ready to apply interested
  • Serve different content to different groups of candidates

Measure recruitment marketing results

Don’t forget that neglecting the data analytics of your social media campaigns is one of the gravest mistakes in recruitment marketing. So here is a list of metrics to watch out for: 

Social Media Metrics
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Impressions
  • Audience
  • CTR (Click-through rate)
PPC Metrics
  • Clicks
  • CPC (cost per click)
  • Submissions
  • Hires compared to spend
  • Time-To-Hire
  • Manual Time
  • Larger Candidate Pool

It’s a lot, I know but unfortunately, there’s no other way around this process. The best solution for this is to get the help of a social media agency. 

Doing everything on your own is risky while hiring a social media manager is too costly. If you want the perfect social media management and marketing solution then try out Social Hire which is one of the best in the industry right now. 

FINAL NOTES: this may not fully apply to each industry since every single one has varying needs so make sure to search recruitment guides for your specific industry to make sure, like this how-to guide for the back-end development industry or this salary guide for the home service industry and more. 

Recruitment Marketing Tips and Ideas

Now here are ideas you can try out to get the best results. 

Develop an employer brand

An employer brand is an image that potential employees have of your company as an employer. It encompasses everything from the way you treat your employees to the benefits and perks that you offer. Developing a strong employer brand will make your company more attractive to potential employees and give you a competitive advantage in the war for talent.

Tip from Md. Asloob Alam at Troop Messenger

Invest in SEO

Investing in SEO strategy will help ensure that your website appears high in search engine results when potential candidates are searching for jobs online. Use a tool like SEMrush to find relevant keywords you can use throughout your website and create compelling content that will attract links from high-quality websites (if you’re unfamiliar with SEMrush, then know more here). This SEO technique will help improve your website’s visibility and draw more traffic from potential candidates.

Tip from Rodrigo Lasanta at Digivate

For further reading check out expert seo marketing posts to build your customer base and these 7 SEO best practices.

Use employee referrals

Encouraging current employees to refer friends and acquaintances can be an effective way to find qualified candidates who may not be actively searching for jobs. Employee referrals tend to result in higher quality hires, as referrals are more likely than other applicants to be a good fit for the company culture and the open position. It’s especially related to the IT sphere as it’s one of the most reliable ways to hire a backend development team when you don’t trust hiring services.

Tip from Daniel Tannenbaum at Pheabs 

For further reading check out 10 Stats That Prove the Importance of Employee Advocacy

Pay-per-click advertising

In addition to social media advertising, another effective way to reach potential candidates is through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. With PPC ads, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it a cost-effective way to reach a large number of people. You can use PPC ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other major search engines.

From Yaroslava Boiarchuk at Phonexa

For further reading check out Social Media Advertising 101: How to Get the Most Out of Your Ad Budget 

Let Employees In On Content Creation 

Since we know that employees have far more trustworthiness than our official brand channels, we should utilize them in marketing more. 

Below are a few ideas on how you can do this:

To further improve your employee onboarding process, you can even try out an employee onboarding software. It will deliver quality experiences without drowning you in manual labor.

Recruitment Marketing tools

Below are also a list of helpful tools to streamline the entire process. 

  • Firefish Software: best marketing software for recruitment agencies
  • Adzuna: best job site aggregator for US based opportunities
  • Symphony Talent’s SmashFlyX: best for programmatic job advertising
  • PageUp: best for connecting candidates with existing employees
  • TalentReef: best for recruiting hourly-based employees
  • iCIMS Talent Cloud: best for personalized candidate experiences
  • Cliquify: best for showcasing your employer culture
  • Jobvite: best for AI-powered candidate matching
  • Teamtailor: best recruitment software for employer branding
  • Freshteam: best for intelligent job marketing
  • Manatal: best for easy-to-use recruitment software

Recruiting new talent is an essential component of any successful business.

With this blog, you now have a complete guide to help you find the best talent and create a unique recruitment process that works for your organization. 

From understanding key terms to developing creative recruiting strategies, this blog has provided you with the knowledge and skills needed to start recruiting the perfect people for your team. 

Now that you have a complete overview of recruitment marketing, it’s time to get out there and start filling those open positions! Don’t forget to share this blog with anyone who can benefit from it too — the more knowledge we share on recruitment, the better the outcome for everyone. 

Good luck! 

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