There’s no question that recruiting and marketing go hand in hand. The similarities are plentiful: sharing your story, telling the world how wonderful and innovative your company is, and of course, the classic case of thinking about business progress through a funnel.
I recently attended HubSpot’s INBOUND 18 conference, a marketing-focused event which also included sessions about Diversity & Inclusion, hiring, and measurement, along with some incredible keynotes about well-being, hard work, and saying yes. Let’s just say I’ll never be the same after hearing Shonda Rhimes and Lena Waithe take the stage in their respective talks. Talk about uplifting, powerful, and candid conversations.
I also had the opportunity to listen to HubSpot’s Employer Brand Manager Hannah Fleishman speak about marketing strategies for recruiters. Fun fact about Hannah: She’s previously contributed to the Greenhouse Blog, sharing strategies about redesigning your jobs website with inbound recruiting best practices.
A quick reminder about the importance of recruiting
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but Hannah began her talk by providing some quick context on where recruiting stands at the moment. According to First Round Capital’s State of Startups 2017, hiring good people is the #1 concern of leadership today. Founders are not up at night worrying about sales or marketing or engineering. It’s recruiting.
Plus, over the past few years, the nature of recruiting has changed drastically. Company-centric formats like career fairs, brochures, and classified ads have given way to candidate-centric tools like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and social media.
The good news is that you don’t need a lot of time, money, or resources to put yourself out there as an employer. Here are Hannah’s 5 actionable (and free) marketing strategies for building a strong employer brand.
1. Define your employee value proposition
Your employee value proposition (EVP) is a simple statement about your culture and workplace. But don’t let its simplicity deceive you: an EVP can help differentiate your company and make you more appealing to applicants. A Collegefeed study published in Harvard Business Review found that “people and culture fit” is the top priority millennials consider when evaluating employers.
If you’re looking to define your own EVP, Hannah recommends speaking with several high performers and asking them to describe your company culture. You can provide the prompt: “People love to work at ABC COMPANY because XYZ AWESOME/UNIQUE ATTRIBUTE.” After speaking with a few people, you’ll likely begin to identify some common themes. You may also want to consider making your culture code available to the public to hold you accountable and expand your company’s reach—HubSpot did this and their culture code has garnered more than 4 million views on SlideShare!
2. Get visual on social media
When prospective candidates start considering your company, chances are they’ll start by checking out your presence on social media. So why not meet them there with some creative content that showcases your company culture behind the scenes? The possibilities are endless—you can let one employee take over your Instagram for a day to showcase a day in their life on the job, use Facebook Live videos to answer candidates’ questions, or highlight the interiors and views from different offices. If your company has team-building activities, volunteer days, or other company traditions, these are also ideal moments to capture and share through visual platforms on social.
3. Experiment with written content on LinkedIn
You can expand your company’s reach by encouraging employees to write LinkedIn posts and updates. These don’t take much time to produce, are highly discoverable, and come as second-nature for employees. For example, if your company celebrates work anniversaries or milestones, ask employees if they’d feel comfortable sharing a quick write-up and photo of their experience. Here at Greenhouse, most employees can’t wait to reach their third anniversary since they receive a customized bobblehead with their likeness and some fun personal touches like their favorite food or pet. Plus, the design and details for the coveted bobblehead are sourced from an employee’s colleagues and teammates. Check out how data scientist Andrew Zirm proudly displays his bobblehead alongside family photos on his fireplace mantel.
4. Engage on employee review sites
Employee review sites like Glassdoor and InHerSight have become an indispensable part of the company evaluation process for companies, and many candidates carefully consider how employers engage with employee reviews when evaluating companies. Encourage employees to write honest reviews, and have someone from your company (preferably your CEO) take the time to respond accordingly. HubSpot has seen great success from their Green Waffle Wednesday initiative, tying a regular company breakfast in with Glassdoor’s branding to encourage employees to leave reviews.
5. Give your job descriptions a makeover
Job descriptions are often serious and overly formal, but they don’t have to be. When you write a job description, ask yourself, “Am I excited to read this?” Try to put yourself in the candidate’s position—they want to know what the mission of the job is, which high-impact projects they’ll get to work on, which teams they’ll collaborate with, and what sorts of growth opportunities they’ll have. Also, keep in mind that a “fun” job description doesn’t mean it’s full of words like “rockstar” and “ninja.” In fact, research has shown that these types of words tend to scare certain groups of applicants away. You can use a tool like Textio to help you identify and eliminate gender-biased language from your job descriptions.
I left INBOUND 18 feeling excited and inspired to share my learnings with the Greenhouse community. After all, there are a number of marketing tactics that recruiters can steal and add to their own playbooks. Watch this space for a few more highlights from the event.
Members of HubSpot's recruiting team share how they handle a host of hiring challenges from collecting interviewer feedback to boosting referrals in this in-depth case study.