I was chatting with some Paradox clients recently when a really good question came up: where should recruitment marketing live? Huh — I’ve been a talent professional for years, and yet I realized I didn’t have a clear answer.
In some companies, recruitment marketing lives in talent acquisition. In others, it's rolled into marketing or communications teams. Sometimes it lives in the HR or internal communications team.
So, what is the best practice? Ever since that conversation, the question has been nagging at me. And I'm finally ready to answer it.
The ‘why’ vs. the ‘how’.
Recruitment marketing is all about sharing your organization's employment opportunities with potential job seekers. Sometimes recruitment marketing efforts are aimed at sourcing qualified candidates to a particular role. Sometimes it’s about elevating your company’s reputation as a fantastic place to work.
Whether job-specific or employer brand-focused, the goal of recruitment marketing is always to attract talent.
And no one knows talent better than Talent Acquisition; they know the company’s current hiring priorities, they know about the job responsibilities, the hiring team, and they know what qualified candidates look like. Being dialed into the organization’s talent acquisition function is critically important for effective recruitment marketing.
But having deep TA insight is only half the battle in recruitment marketing. Having the knowledge and capabilities to attract and engage audiences is just as critical.
And that’s where marketing shines. Marketers are professional storytellers and content creators; they have deep knowledge of branding, design, and digital advertising. Without these capabilities, recruitment marketing would simply be recruitment.
Recruitment is the what; marketing is the how. You need a clear strategy driving your efforts — a deep understanding of TA and your company’s recruiting priorities — and you need the marketing skills and creative chops to execute on that strategy.
Is it partly sunny or partly cloudy?
What’s the difference between a forecast of partly sunny vs. partly cloudy? You might hear one or the other depending on where you get your weather (and how optimistic your weather team is). They mean the same thing, it’s just a matter of perspective.
Our debate on recruitment marketing isn’t much different. Where the recruitment marketing function resides may result in more of a marketing lean or more of a recruiting lean. Which one is better?
This answer is, of course, it depends.
Living in talent acquisition, recruitment marketing is more likely to have a recruiting lean. And that’s okay. There is likely deep insight into the company’s hiring priorities, recruiters’ current challenges, candidate personas, and the competitive talent landscape.
Living in marketing, recruitment marketing is more likely to have…well, a marketing lean. And that’s great, too. Design, copywriting, storytelling, and branding are some of the many valuable skillsets you can find on the marketing team.
Recruiting and marketing are specialized fields, each with its respective domain. Distinctly different yet complementary, like brownies and ice cream.
And the key isn’t to choose one or the other. The key is to tap into the right resources, wherever they are.
If recruitment marketing lives in TA, you’ll likely need to lean on your marketing counterparts for support. Tap into their insights; ask for help with creative design, copywriting, and external content. You know what needs to be done, but you might need their help executing.
If recruitment marketing lives in marketing, you’ve probably mastered the “how” but you may be missing the “why.” Cranking out social posts and newsletters won’t help attract winning talent if you’re just guessing at hiring needs and candidate personas. Bring TA into your content planning to make sure you’re dialed into the priority jobs and employer value proposition (EVP) pillars.
So, where should recruitment marketing live?
The truth is, it doesn’t matter where recruitment marketing sits. What matters is the relationships. It’s right there in the name: recruitment marketing requires a mix of recruiting and marketing. When it comes to big impact recruitment marketing initiatives — like, say, launching the Paradox Experience product on your career site — you’re going to be drawing from both recruiting and marketing.
Recruitment marketing is inherently cross-functional. Let’s stop overthinking where to put the box on the org chart. The success of your recruitment marketing function has nothing to do with its placement in the organization and everything to do with attracting exceptional talent. The combination of people, resources, and capabilities you use to do it is completely up to you.