Lori's Blog

The Difference Between Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding

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If recruiting for your company has been tough and you’ve started to explore how you can change your approach, you’ve probably come across Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding. If this is you -- Congratulations! You’re onto something! But when it comes to deciphering exactly what these two disciplines are and how they work together, it can be a bit confusing.

Recruitment marketing (RM) and Employer Branding (EB) are not new but they’re young in the US and adoption with small and medium-sized businesses has been slow. While many enterprise businesses have jumped on the bandwagon, online communities of professionals voice their struggles to get the buy-in and resources that they need to make a bigger impact on the business.

There’s a lot that small businesses can learn from the huge national and global organizations that are taking the lead in recruitment marketing and employer branding, but that doesn’t mean that they need to emulate exactly what they’re doing. In fact, they shouldn’t.

So what should they do? The solution begins with changing the “We’re hiring” message and to do that you need to start thinking about your reputation as an employer. That’s where employer branding comes in.

Employer branding is your reputation as an employer.

Recruitment marketing is the use of marketing tactics to promote your employer brand.

It doesn’t need to be more complex than that.

And don’t let the use of the word brand throw you off.

When you think of the word brand you might think of logos, graphic design, and voice. These are all certainly applicable to recruitment marketing because how you present your company does matter very much. In fact, one of your goals is to be recognizable and a consistent look will support that goal.

But thinking about your brand as your reputation is more than its visual elements. Your brand (keep thinking reputation) includes everything that everyone is saying about you – from your current and past employees, to your job candidates, to the network of people that includes your customers, vendors, industry associations and community (both online and off). That is, pretty much everyone with whom you interact or hope to interact with.

Remember that I said you have to change your message? Employer branding helps you do that because instead of having a focus on transactions (advertising jobs and collecting applications or resumes), your focus is on being relational. And that’s where recruitment marketing comes in.

The job of marketing is to initiate and develop relationships.

Marketing does the job of relationship building in large part online because technology has changed human behavior. And human behavior is the reason why recruitment marketing is not a passing fad.

What do you do when you want to buy something? You go to the internet and educate yourself about the solutions to whatever problem or need you have. As you seek and find answers to your own questions, you engage with companies (brands) through their content. As you do this, you get to know them and that’s how the relationship is developed.

In tactical terms, the relationship-nurturing power of recruitment marketing is built on content that creates digital destinations where people can interact with your employer brand. The goal in developing relationships is that people trust that you are who you say you are, and ultimately they trust themselves to make the right decision about their next career move.

Job candidates are looking for this right now!

Not only that, but your referral network is eager to help you spread the word about your opportunities… if only you could give them something else to share besides “We’re hiring.”

What's the first step you need to take to change your message? Start interviewing your employees to find out what they really value. Learn about employee experience storytelling here.

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