Some Surprising (Preliminary) Findings on Recruitment Marketing

shutterstock_495762919Brandon Hall Group’s 2017 Recruitment Marketing survey research is almost complete, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the data.

One question of particular interest is the first five steps organizations usually take to recruit talent for hard-to-fill positions. The reason I asked that question was to see the extent to which organizations rely on consumer marketing-type practices, such as CRM email campaigns and broad social media campaigns. My hunch was that organizations are still primarily using job boards and the company website to find that talent.

Based on early data (data may change once analysis is complete), organizations are doing pretty much what I expected, posting positions to their organization’s website (82%), job boards (82%), social networking (75%), and looking at their own databases (72%).  To a certain extent I understand these practices. They are for the most part practical, economic – depending on job sites used — and probably automatic.

What I found surprising is that only 16% of respondents started their recruiting process by launching a CRM email campaign, and only 27% started by launching a broad social media campaign. I wondered why – does it have to do with technology, marketing competencies, the effectiveness of those campaigns, or just the automatic manner in which organizations tend to implement these practices? The question did focus on hard-to-find talent, so why not try a more targeted marketing approach?

In terms of technology, there are indications that the recruitment marketing technology market is growing:

  • More than half (52%) have a CRM, though 23% say they don’t need it.
  • 58% have a social recruiting solution, though 20% think they don’t need that solution.
  • About one-third do not have those solutions, but indicate they need them – CRM (33%) and social recruiting (32%).

As to recruitment marketing competencies in HR, nearly half (47%) indicate their HR team/recruiters have the skills to effectively perform recruitment marketing.  The rest are looking to others outside of HR/recruitment with marketing skills, outsourcing, or want to hire someone with those skills.

There is no one reason why CRM email and broad social media campaigns are not implemented earlier in the recruitment process. However, there does seems to be a transition going on where recruiters are transforming themselves into brand marketers, learning how to use the new technologies, and incorporating them in their recruitment marketing practices. Transitions take time.

Please remember that the research presented here is not the whole story. I will be looking at the data by segment (organizational size, industry group, performance, culture, etc.), thoroughly analyzing all the survey questions, and conducting some qualitative interviews with organizations on this topic. In addition, I want to hear from you. What has been your experience with recruitment marketing?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Daria Friedman, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group


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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.