In 2017, U.S. companies are expected to spend more than $200 billion on advertising and $72 billion on talent recruitment. And while the former is seen as critical to revenue growth, most businesses view the latter as an administrative task. Yet how can you effectively execute a marketing campaign (let alone have a worthwhile product to market) without a team of smart, dedicated employees? Plain and simple — you can’t.
Luckily, marketing can help not just to sell a product, but to find people as well. Here are eight ways to market a job opening so that you can get top candidates in the door and the right person in your open seat.
1. Get employee support
If you’ve already put in the work to build a strong company culture, the best brand ambassadors for your business are right under your nose — your employees. Ask them to talk about work on their social channels and with their networks — 85 percent of jobs today are filled via networking. Employees are such a powerful job promotion tool that you may even want to consider an incentivized referral program.
2. Try paid social media
Social media advertising budgets doubled from 2014 to 2016, with spending now at $35 billion per year. Most of us think of using social ads to promote our products, but since they’re such an effective form of advertising, they can be a great tool for recruitment as well. LinkedIn, in particular, is a good place to start since you can target by current job title and years of experience.
3. And organic social media too
Having a strong presence on social media overall is key to building candidate familiarity and general interest. Don’t let your marketing team co-op these channels completely. Ensure you’re also making space (particularly on visual channels like Instagram) to showcase your company culture so candidates can get a peek inside before applying. And again, call on your employees. Post an opening to Facebook, then ask everyone on your team to share.
4. Post to job sites
Job posting sites like Indeed.com and Glassdoor are free to use and a great starting place to market a job opening. Each offers paid programs to increase engagement and you may also want to consider industry- or role-specific job sites to post a particular opening. Glassdoor also allows you to build out a company profile and gathers reviews from current and former workers. Since 70 percent of job seekers now look for online reviews before taking a role, it’s a site you don’t want to ignore.
5. Participate in hiring fairs and local events
Hiring fairs have long been a staple of recruiting. And while more and more candidates are now looking for jobs online, in person events aren’t to be ignored. Whether it’s a true hiring fair or a community event like a street fair or tech week, events are a great tool to showcase your company culture and team members’ personalities.
If you plan to show up with a white tablecloth and a few “one-pagers,” don’t show up at all. Think of more engaging ways you can participate and bring hiring managers for on-the-spot interviews. For community-wide events, you can even steal a page from the real estate handbook and host an open house to entice interest.
6. Revisit rejections
If you’re putting your HR software to good use, you should have an accessible database of candidates who didn’t make the cut for previous job postings. Give them a second look for any new posting. They’ve already shown interested in your company and if you’ve properly handled their rejection, there should be no hard feelings. Even if they’re no longer available for a new role, they may know someone who is.
7. Direct your site traffic
Give your website a quick audit to see how easy or difficult it is to find your careers page. If you can’t click to it within the first five seconds of looking, a little rearranging might be in order. Hiring great people is just as (if not more) critical than selling your product — you can’t do the latter without the former — so your careers page should get a prominent link. While you’re at it, ensure your careers page isn’t just a list of openings, but a true look inside your organization's culture and values.
8. Have an influence
Just like your people can be your greatest brand ambassadors, your leaders can also be your greatest brand assets. Candidates want to know who’s steering the ship before they climb on board. Work with your marketing team to build a thought leadership plan for one or more of your executives via social media, blogging, and writing for various publications. While it’s not a direct way to market a job opening, it will get you more general interest for when those jobs become available.
No matter what your organization sells, your people are still your most important product. Put concentrated effort into marketing your open roles and you’ll see more and better candidates taking interest.
Taylor Burke is a contributor for TechnologyAdvice.com, covering company culture and communications. When she's not in front of her screen, you can find Taylor reading, cooking, running, or hanging with her dog—but rarely all four at once.