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Recruitment Marketing for the
Digital Age: A Definitive Guide

Written by: Marissa Comeau

You might’ve noticed that those of us at Vital are more than a little obsessed with
inbound marketing — and what’s not to love? Inbound marketing is dynamic, engaging,
imaginative, fun as hell and — as if that wasn’t enough — it actually gets results. If you
don’t believe me, might I direct you to any one of our blog posts on what makes inbound
marketing so awesome?

What if I told you that you could apply some of the core concepts of inbound marketing
to your company’s recruitment strategy?

That’s the idea behind digital recruitment marketing.

What is Digital Recruitment Marketing?

I’ll get to that in just a minute; first, let’s do a quick refresh of what recruitment
marketing is and how it works. Even if you’re already familiar with the concept, it gives us
a helpful place to start.

Recruitment marketing is an essential part of the strategy recruiters use to identify and
attract talented individuals to join their company. Recruitment marketing encompasses
the first three stages of the talent acquisition funnel: Awareness, Consideration and

During these three stages a recruiter will:

1. Leverage branding and relevant messaging to bring their company to the attention of qualified
2. Engage with candidates and make a compelling case as to what they’ll gain from applying, such
as competitive benefits, a healthy work-life balance, paid time off and so on;
3. Help prospects envision how they’ll fit in the company.

Digital recruitment marketing is, for all intents and purposes, the same thing as
recruitment marketing, with one key distinction: Rather than use traditional methods of
recruitment, such as posting vacancies in newspapers or employment offices, temp
agencies and internal hiring, digital recruitment marketing uses social media and related
inbound marketing strategies to help top talent discover your company by drawing them
to your website. For this reason, digital recruitment is sometimes referred to as social

Let’s take another look at the first three stages of the acquisition funnel, this time from
the perspective of someone putting together a digital recruitment strategy:

1. Leverage branding and deliver relevant messaging in the form of thought leadership and client
success stories on their company website to bring their company to qualified candidates’
2. Engage with candidates on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and create exciting
content to make a compelling case as to what they’ll gain from applying, such as competitive
benefits, a healthy work-life balance, paid time off and so on;
3. Help prospects envision how they’ll fit in by posting fun photos and videos from around the
office and from company events on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and
Instagram to illustrate company culture.

This is just a basic example of how to apply digital recruiting trends to your company’s
recruiting process, but it’s a good demonstration of just how easily it can be done. By the
end of this blog, you’ll have the tools to create your own comprehensive digital
recruitment marketing strategy.


The first step to developing a truly effective recruitment marketing strategy is to
establish recruitment goals and metrics against which you can gauge your success.

The best — or should I say, the smartest — way to do that is to start SMART. First
introduced in an article written by George T. Doran for the November 1981 issue of
Management Review, SMART is an acronym intended to help business leaders set
meaningful objectives. Although SMART was created with corporate officers, managers
and supervisors in mind, it’s flexible enough to apply to any department at any level of

  • Specific: Target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable: Quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable: Specify who will do it.
  • Realistic: State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related: Specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Now that you have a general idea of what SMART is, let’s talk about how to apply it in a recruitment setting.

First, think about what goals you hope to achieve. Do you want to recruit a specific number of new employees by a certain point in time? Are you trying to attract a certain caliber of prospect and, if so, what qualifications are you looking for? Do you want to create a system to ensure that new hires are properly placed to reduce the turnover rate?

Each of these are a strong example of the type of recruitment goal setting you need to do because they combine the Specificity, Measurability and Time-related pieces of SMART. Back in grade school, did you ever have to diagram sentences (If you’re as much of a grammar and writing nerd as I am, you probably think back on those days fondly!) If so, you can think of your goal as a rudimentary sentence diagram — you can more easily understand the structure of the goal by breaking it into pieces, similar to how you would separate the subject, verb and object in a simple diagram.

Let’s apply this logic to the first example provided, but let’s make it a little more targeted by saying you want to hire 10 new employees by the end of the quarter. In this example, the Specific area you’re targeting for improvement is hiring (which is, admittedly, the entire point of recruitment, but bear with me). The number of employees you want to hire (10) is a specific, Measurable quantity and the objective of meeting that goal by the end of the quarter provides a definitive Timeline.

We’ll talk about the next piece of SMART — Assignable — in the next section of this blog, so we’ll skip over that for now. All that’s left is Realistic — whether your goal is realistic is entirely context-dependent. If you’re a small business owner with 10 employees and a one-man recruiting team, doubling the size of your staff by the end of the quarter probably isn’t realistically achievable, but for an enterprise, 10 new hires might be an exceedingly low number. Long story short, when it comes to the Realistic piece of SMART, your mileage may vary.

OK, But Who’s in Charge?

Up till this point, I’m afraid I’ve made it sound as though your recruiters are solely responsible for digital recruitment. Reader, it’s time that I admit I haven’t been entirely forthcoming with you: While your recruiting team will certainly play an essential role in developing your company’s digital recruitment marketing strategy, effective digital recruitment is a team effort. That means multiple departments — including marketing, recruiting, talent acquisition and branding — should all be involved in the digital recruitment process.

Pro Tip: Employee referral programs are a great way to get everyone (and I mean everyone) involved in the recruiting process — employee referrals account for 40 percent of all hires. Other benefits of employee referral programs include a shorter recruiting process, greater job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.

The Digital Recruitment Marketing Formula

Here at Vital, we’ve spent years developing something of a formula for digital recruitment marketing. It’s paid off for us in dividends, and for our clients, too. Let’s look at the key components of that formula.

Define Your Social Brand

It’s 2019 — if you haven’t already defined your business’ social brand persona, you’re living in the Mesozoic Era.

All teasing aside, social brands and brand personas are a fun and exciting way to tell the world — especially prospective job applicants — who you are and what you’re all about. Play your cards right, and your social brand could even become an online sensation, like Denny’s funny and irreverent Twitter page. Each social brand should be distinct in order to differentiate itself from the competition. For example, Vital’s social brand is colorful and vivacious, while still being informative; by comparison, Blue Water Mortgage Corporation, one of our clients, is familiar and friendly.

If you’re struggling to figure out your social branding, good news: We wrote an entire blog about it!

Recruit Through Social Channels

Once you’ve defined your business’ social brand, you’re ready to take your recruitment efforts to social media. Paid social advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are a powerful way to reach candidates on their favorites social media sites, as well as ensure that they actually see your ads. Another way to leverage social channels for digital recruitment is to have your recruiters actively participate in groups on sites like Reddit or send direct messages on LinkedIn to talk to candidates in your field and find out what they’re looking for in an ideal job.

Speaking of LinkedIn, you’ll want to make sure your company page is fully optimized. That means your profile image and banner should be aesthetically pleasing, your “About” section should be compelling and informative, and so on to make a strong first impression on would-be employees. Need some help bringing your LinkedIn profile up to date? Check out Vital’s optimization checklist.

Know Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is necessary to any aspect of content marketing, and for good reason: Your target audience is the group of people most likely to be interested in — and to invest in — the product or service you offer. By defining your target audience, you can ensure that your campaigns reach the right people in the right place at the right time, thereby increasing your chances of making a sale or closing a deal.

This practice is especially relevant to digital recruitment marketing. Putting out generic messaging about open job listings across all of your company’s social platforms is bound to attract applications that lack the necessary qualifications for the position. To separate the wheat from the chaff, you need to start by clearly defining your expectations. What are the requirements of the position? What skills should a truly qualified candidate possess? What kind of person would fit seamlessly into your company’s culture?

Once you have the ideal candidate in mind — this is your target audience — the next step is to figure out where that person spends their time online, and which sites they’d be most likely to go to when looking for a job. Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn and Google job boards are all popular destinations for job hunters; we recently helped one client optimize their job posting and add Schema markup to their HTML so that Google pulled it to the top of its job board listings. No one knows better than your employees what it’s like and what it takes to work for your company, so consider implementing a digitized employee referral system as well.

Create a Careers Page

If you’ve yet to create a company careers page, I’ve got some good and bad news for you. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, shall we?

The Bad: You’re seriously missing out.

Career pages are a fantastic resource for employers and candidates alike, with 58 percent of candidates citing career pages as the most valuable research channel. It’s also a powerful way to build your brand — 69 percent of talent acquisition leaders say it’s the best channel to extend their employer brand. Creating a career page for your website is an excellent opportunity to capture candidates’ attention and convince them that this job and your company are exactly what they’ve been searching for.

The Good: There’s nothing stopping you from creating one today!

We even have a few examples you can use as inspiration. Each of these pages is easy to navigate, informative and eye-catching, and accurately represents the company’s brand:

  • CHI Engineering
  • Vital
  • Consolidated Sterilizer Systems
  • LEGACY Supply Chain Services
  • Bean Group

You might even consider creating multiple pages across your website to educate curious candidates, kind of like these:

  • Hitachi Solutions – Our Company
  • Hitachi Solutions – Our Culture
  • Hitachi Solutions – Careers

You’ll want your career page (or pages) to cover the basics — which positions are open, the benefits of working for your company, how to apply, and so on — but a truly exceptional page takes things to another level. Don’t just tell candidates why they’ll love working for you — show them.

How can you do that? I’m glad you asked…

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you’ve built out the framework for your career website, it’s time to fill it with compelling content.

You know how I said to show rather than tell? Content is how you do that! Content marketing — perhaps the most essential element of any inbound marketing strategy, as well as any digital recruitment strategy — is all about educating your audience. Start by developing a few foundational pieces of content that clearly demonstrate the value your company brings to its employees.