Mastering Recruitment Marketing: What You Need To Know in 2024

Written by Gail Bailey
11 minutes read

Recruitment marketing is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ talent acquisition strategy; it’s become an absolute necessity to compete for the best job candidates. Companies that invest in recruitment marketing strategies receive a 3x increase in candidate quality, which explains why 86% of organizations are prioritizing talent marketing. 

This article takes a deep dive into the key elements of a successful recruitment marketing strategy. Discover the diverse ways recruitment teams can attract top talent and raise employer brand awareness.

What is recruitment marketing?
Why is recruitment marketing important?
The recruitment marketing funnel
10 key steps to creating a recruitment marketing strategy
Recruitment marketing tools
Inspiring recruitment marketing examples

What is recruitment marketing?

Recruitment marketing involves using a wide range of marketing tactics to attract, engage, and ultimately hire top talent. It’s all about finding effective (and enticing) ways to promote job opportunities while positioning your company as the ultimate employer of choice.

What does it look like in practice? A recruitment marketing strategy can take many forms, such as:

  • Using programmatic job advertising to attract candidates to apply to your open roles
  • Showcasing your company culture, mission, and values on social media platforms
  • Sharing stories about the overall employee experience in company blogs and videos
  • Attending and organizing career events at universities to attract early career talent
  • Actively monitoring and responding to online company reviews.

Why is recruitment marketing important?

In today’s competitive job market, where 77% of organizations find it difficult to fill roles, recruitment marketing strategies enable organizations to stand out as employers and compete for talent.

Here’s why you should invest in developing a recruitment marketing strategy:

  • Over 90% of candidates consider a company’s reputation before accepting a job offer. Recruitment marketing helps you build a positive reputation as an employer.
  • When done well, recruitment marketing speeds up your recruitment process, which results in a shorter time to hire and reduced cost per hire.
  • By building targeted recruitment marketing campaigns, you can attract candidates who fit your ideal candidate persona, leading to more qualified candidates for your open positions.
  • A recruitment marketing strategy highlighting your company’s unique selling points sets it apart from the competition and ensures that your business stays top-of-mind for prospective candidates.
  • Through focused recruitment marketing campaigns, companies can reach passive candidates, expanding the pool of potential applicants.
  • Implementing recruitment marketing strategies provides valuable insights and data on candidate behavior, allowing for continuous optimization of hiring processes.
The recruitment marketing funnel: awareness, attraction, interest, application, evaluation, interviewing, and hiring.

The recruitment marketing funnel

Every successful recruitment marketing strategy takes candidates on a journey through your organization’s recruiting process. A recruitment funnel captures the different stages of that journey.

Here’s an overview of the main stages of the recruitment funnel:

  1. Awareness
  2. Attraction
  3. Interest
  4. Application
  5. Evaluation 
  6. Interviewing
  7. Hiring

During the recruitment marketing phase, the focus is on the top of the funnel (Awareness, Attraction, Interest). However, the actual recruitment process continues to the second half and the bottom of the funnel (Application, Evaluation, Interviewing, and Hiring).

Let’s take a closer look at each stage of the recruitment marketing funnel, from Awareness to Interest. A solid understanding of each stage is crucial for attracting and maintaining candidate interest all the way to the application.

1. Awareness

This stage is all about increasing the visibility of your company’s job opportunities to attract high-quality candidates. High-performing talent acquisition teams go big, using all the marketing channels and tools they know their target audience – potential candidates – would respond to. They spread the word through engaging content on social media, job boards, internal channels (and more).

Moreover, they craft a savvy content marketing strategy – blogs, videos, and live (online) events that showcase your company culture and overall employee experience. Some companies are even partnering with social media influencers on TikTok to generate interest from wider audiences, like Gen Z.

2. Attraction

How do you know the first stage is a success? Many potential candidates are attracted to your organization and your job openings. But to maintain that interest, you need to ensure consistent messaging about the company, employer brand, and the roles.

Recruitment marketing tactics in this stage include engaging job postings that go beyond the standard list of skills and qualifications and advertising them in the right places to get potential candidates to consider applying.

3. Interest

Now comes the make-or-break stage. Interested candidates actively research and evaluate your company to decide whether they will apply. And this is where all the hard work of talent teams pays off. Optimized career pages, having a strong (and positive) presence on social media and job sites like Glassdoor, and answering questions from potential candidates in your online content all help convince candidates to apply.

While the stages from application to hiring are generally considered recruiting rather than recruitment marketing, that doesn’t mean that there’s no space for recruitment marketing in these parts of the funnel. For example, many companies are now optimizing the application experience with the help of AI, like using friendly chatbots or virtual assistants to guide candidates and answer any questions 24/7.

To sum up, a successful recruitment marketing funnel delivers value by attracting and engaging qualified candidates and turning them into applicants. It’s a continuous process of testing, refinement, and enhancement of the strategy across the initial stages of the recruitment process.

10 key steps to creating a recruitment marketing strategy

Now let’s get into the specifics of a recruitment marketing strategy by exploring the key steps and some recruitment ideas.

1. Define your employer brand

You may know it by heart, but can you clearly communicate it to interested candidates? Your employer brand captures your company values, mission, vision, culture – and anything else that makes you an irresistible choice to potential candidates. HR and talent acquisition teams are instrumental in helping their organizations define a strong employer brand and integrate it into a powerful recruitment marketing strategy.

2. Identify and define your recruitment marketing goals

To start off on the right foot, you need to know where you’re going (and why). Every successful recruitment marketing strategy needs clearly defined goals. Follow the golden rule of creating specific and measurable recruitment goals. Clear goals will guide you through each stage of the recruitment marketing process. If, for example, your goal is to “increase data scientist candidates by 10% in Q2”, you can create a more targeted recruitment campaign.

3. Perform a recruitment SWOT Analysis

An HR SWOT analysis will help set your company ahead when competing for top talent. It’s absolutely worth spending the time identifying the strengths and weaknesses (the internal factors within your organization) and the opportunities and threats (the external factors outside your organization) to evaluate the strength of your recruitment marketing strategy. 

Some key elements of a recruitment SWOT analysis include:

  • Having a solid understanding of your company’s unique strengths to attract top talent
  • Identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses within your organization that impact recruitment
  • Knowing your competitors, those who are after the same candidates 
  • Examining your recruitment process from candidates’ perspectives to find opportunities and threats.

4. Create a candidate persona

Here is where you get to dream big. Describe the ideal employee(s) for each position. Yes, it’s rare for a candidate to possess everything on your wish list, but creating a highly detailed candidate persona will keep the team focused on finding the right new hire.

A strong candidate profile includes the most essential skills, capabilities, and traits needed for the role. It should also be backed by research and input from key internal stakeholders versus personal preferences.

5. Craft compelling job postings

Ideally, your job postings should immediately grab potential candidates’ attention and go beyond the standard list of skills and qualifications. A good job ad is more than enticing language; it should be targeted to attract your ideal candidate. Some essential elements to include (and here is where HR expertise will be critical):

  • First, answer the question: Why would the candidate want to work here?
  • A concise list of skills and qualifications (e.g., think the top 5 absolute musts vs. a whole list of requirements)
  • A brief but engaging company description that highlights your unique company culture.

6. Enhance your career channels

When was the last time your careers page, company page, and LinkedIn were optimized with recruitment marketing in mind? Are they user- and SEO-friendly? Can potential candidates easily explore job opportunities? Again, your input is valuable here to ensure your company’s career channels truly capture your unique company culture, policies, benefits, and rewards.

A competitor analysis of other organizations’ career channels would be highly beneficial, particularly when you are both on the hunt for similar talent. Your company’s career channels should stand out from the rest.

7. Nurture talent communities

Just because a top candidate didn’t accept (or get) the job doesn’t mean you can’t keep in contact. TA teams can stay in touch and build a robust talent pipeline by using candidate contact information.

To keep them engaged and interested in your organization, share information via email campaigns, company newsletters, blog articles, or company events. That way, when another suitable role becomes available, previously vetted candidates can quickly express interest.

8. Build an employee referral program

A genuine employee endorsement of your company can maximize your recruitment marketing strategy. You can incorporate employee referrals as part of employee incentives and rewards, encouraging them to refer qualified candidates.

The benefits? A strong employee referral program can reduce time-to-hire, decrease recruiting costs, and improve the quality of new hires. In fact, referrals can generate as much as 70% more good hires than non-referrals.

9. Measure and analyze results

How do you know if your recruitment marketing strategy is working? Throughout key stages, you should regularly track and analyze key recruitment metrics.

Focus on application rates, conversion rates, applicant quality, and time-to-fill for your roles. By keeping on top of this data, you’ll gain insights into what’s working (and what’s not) – enabling you to make data-driven decisions. 

10. Continually adapt and optimize

Remember your recruitment marketing strategy is not set in stone, and you’ll need to continuously adapt it based on the data and insights you gain.

Experiment with different methods, content, and channels, and keep an eye on how your competitors attract talent. For example, explore recruitment ads that companies in your industry put out. How does your recruitment marketing strategy compare with others? If there are areas for improvement, make them immediately.

Recruitment marketing tools

Although recruiters and talent acquisition professionals do a lot of the heavy lifting in the recruitment marketing process, they can get some support. By using various tools and technologies, you can streamline parts of your recruitment marketing strategy.

Although the digital landscape of recruitment marketing tools is constantly changing, here are some to consider:

Tool categoryDescription
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)While recruiting teams use ATS software to manage the recruitment process, it can also help you build attractive career sites quickly and engage with your talent pool. Examples include Lever, Greenhouse, and Recruitee.
Job posting and distributionTools from ZipRecruiter, iCIMS Talent Cloud, and JazzHR facilitate posting job openings on various job boards, social media platforms, and company websites. They help increase job visibility and reach a wider candidate audience.
Social media managementTo help you stay on top of your company’s employer brand presence on social media, tools like Buffer and Hootsuite schedule and manage posts.
Employee referral softwareThere are a number of employee referral program software that make it easier for HR to streamline their employee referral process and reward employees for successful referrals. Some of the top are Boon,, and Jobote.
AI writing tools for recruitmentTo help improve the writing of job descriptions and other recruitment marketing materials, hiring managers and recruiters can use writing platforms like Textio. It crafts targeted job descriptions, email campaigns, social media posts (and more). Other AI writing tools for recruitment marketing include Crystal for personalized emails to candidates.

Inspiring recruitment marketing examples 

1. TikTok for recruitment and employer branding

The TikTok profile of Emily the Recruiter.

Senior recruiter for Intuit, Emily Durham, has quite the TikTok following—close to 500K (and counting).

She uses her Emily the Recruiter platform in an unofficial capacity to share career tips (and personal content). TikTok has not only increased her candidate reach but boosted Intuit’s profile among younger candidates.

Then there are companies like Lululemon, Target, and Chipotle that use the platform to quickly get the word out about open positions.

Lululemon TikTok video promoting their open positions.

HR tip

If you want to reach a wider candidate pool, including early career talent, then add TikTok into your recruitment marketing strategy. TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users, and close to 50% are Gen Z.

If your company policy allows it, develop a TikTok strategy to build employer branding and spread the word about open positions. And if you’re a talent professional who’s not camera shy, you can follow in Emily’s footsteps.

2. Netflix’s career page: A masterclass in storytelling  

A capture of Netflix career page, showcasing their company culture through videos.

The streaming giant Netflix prides itself on its “people over process” philosophy. Their careers page, WEARENETFLIX, is a masterclass in capturing company culture in a bold and straightforward way.

Interested candidates can take a deep dive into what it’s really like to work at the company from many diverse perspectives through authentic and conversational employee videos, blogs, and podcasts.

HR tip

Netflix’s open and inclusive approach to describing their company culture directly from employees is a strategy that you can adopt.

Of course, we don’t all have Netflix’s budget and resources. However, featuring authentic employee testimonials, sharing employee stories, and describing what makes your culture unique makes for a winning recruitment marketing strategy. 

3. Land O’Lakes digital recruitment marketing campaign filled jobs fast

Land O'Lakes career landing page for their ''Feed the Nation'' talent marketing campaign.

During the pandemic, Land O’Lakes used the power of AI for their “Feed the Nation” digital talent marketing campaign. They needed to act quickly to fill crucial manufacturing roles to meet the high demand for certain products.

Through the use of AI technologies, they created the campaign’s landing page in under an hour. Then followed up with a compelling email campaign to everyone in their talent database featuring the company’s CEO. This drove interested candidates to the landing page (16K site visitors in 11 days) to apply for urgent positions. 

The company also designed geo-targeted (by ZIP codes) social media ads to reach potential candidates in key locations, attracting 19,000 job seekers. Their talent teams were able to track leads and applications in real time and make changes quickly to optimize ad performance.

After four weeks of the campaign, not only were 75% of roles filled, but the company also built a strong talent pipeline.

HR tip

The Land O’Lakes example illustrates the powerful combination of paid social ads and using traditional marketing tactics like email campaigns and a custom career landing page. This can pay off, especially when you need to fill critical roles quickly.

Consider also following their example of using text messaging to guide candidates along the application process.

Key takeaways 

The beauty of a recruitment marketing strategy is that you can tailor and target it exactly as your company needs. With the help of the right tools and technologies, you can track, refine, optimize, and make data-driven decisions. Overall, it’s a more proactive approach to finding talent, creating a strong employer brand, and building a robust talent pipeline. 

As employers need to stand out to compete for talent, recruitment marketing enables them to do just that. Plus, when you connect with candidates on a deeper level, you get better results.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest HR news, trends, and resources.

Gail Bailey

Gail Bailey is a versatile freelance writer with prior experience as a copywriter and communication specialist. She specializes in all things HR, writing blogs about L&D, employee engagement, learning design, DEI, and more

Are you ready for the future of HR?

Learn modern and relevant HR skills, online

Browse courses Enroll now