Why should you send your HR staff to a marketing course?

Simply because there are so many things in common between a recruitment strategy and a marketing one:
  • They are both created to promote the organization: the marketing plan promotes products or services whereas the recruitment plan promotes organizational culture and working environment.
  • Both of them have targeted audience: potential customers for the marketing plan and potential employees for the recruitment plan.
  • Both are very critical to the organization: customers are the main source of revenue while employees are the most valuable assets of the organization.
  • And last but not least: Most of the strategies that can be applied in marketing can also be used in recruitment. This will also be the main focus of this post.

So let’s look at how each step in a marketing strategy can be applied in a recruitment strategy:

Market segmentation
In order to reach the potential employees effectively, the labor market should be categorized into different segmentation using different bases:
  • Demographic bases: age, gender, education background, ect…
  • Geographic bases: country, city, etc…
  • Behavioral bases: programming language, mindset, working attitude, interests, etc…

Market targeting
After categorizing the labor market into different segments, the company should identify its targeted segment basing on those demographic, geographic and behavioral bases. By identifying the targeted segment, organization can focus its resources in order to reach out to its potential candidates more effectively.

For example, a software company can identify its potential candidates for the .NET Developer position as the followings:
  • Demographic: 22-30 years old, college or university degree
  • Geographic: Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
  • Behavioral bases: .NET programming language, open mindset, proactive, critical thinking, interested in high tech

With such targeted segment in mind, we can know exactly which job ads websites or forums should be used to reach the candidates as well as how to communicate with them (such as how to write the job ads that is interesting to candidates who are proactive and have critical thinking)

Market positioning
This is how the organization is perceived (or how it wants to be perceived) by the labor market and potential employees. Determining the market positioning can help organization to decide what and how it should present itself to the potential employees. Market positioning can be identified by selecting important attributes of the organization in terms of culture, environment, benefits, policies, ect… and determine its position basing on those attributes.
For example, here is where a company is positioned basing on two attributes: culture and benefits. Other attributes can also be used and additional attributes can also be added to form n-dimensional map.

market_positioning

It will be much more helpful if organization can have preference map of the labor market associated with the selected attributes. This can help organization to predict the ease of recruitment: the bigger the overlap between its market position and the preference map of the labor market, the easier then recruitment will be. Organization may also adjust its market position to make recruitment easier. Here is an example:

preference_map

Promotion mix
Basing on the previous steps (market segmentation, market targeting and market positioning), it is now the time to decide the channels that can be used to promote the organization to the labor market. Interestingly, all of the channels in marketing can also be used in recruitment:

promotion_mix

  • Advertising: Job ads on job search website such as jobstreet (international) or Vietnamworks (Vietnam)
  • Public relations: Sponsor community events (such as Barcamp Saigon, Agile Vietnam, Agile Tour, Mobile Camp, etc…) or organize our own events (hackathon and other programming contests)
  • Personal selling: CV search and head hunting performed by internal HR
  • Sales promotion: referral bonus program or using external head hunting agencies
  • Direct marketing: blog, website, social networking pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), forums, etc…

Branding
Branding is also very important in recruitment. By promoting the company’s brand name, organization can attract new talents easily whenever it has a hiring demand. For recruitment purpose, company’s branding should be supported by public relation and other CSR programs. In the software industry where I am currently working in, organization’s brand can be built by sponsoring such community events as Barcamp Saigon, Mobile Camp, Agile Tour or organizing our own events such as hackathon and other programming contest.

So now we can see how marketing strategy can be applied to recruitment. Should we send our HR staff to a marketing course?

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