The Confusion between Recruitment Marketing & Employer Branding

The Confusion between Recruitment Marketing & Employer Branding
The Confusion between Recruitment Marketing & Employer Branding

“Let’s get our hiring managers to share our jobs with their networks, it’ll be really good for our employer brand” or “We really need to make sure we have a presence on all the main job boards to promote our employer brand”.

I’ve heard phrases similar to these a million times over the years, the nonsensical and interchangeable use of the terms Recruitment Marketing and Employer Brand.

It's no surprise that such confusion exists. With the ever-evolving workplace lexicon, executives and employees alike are getting their employer branding mixed up with their recruitment marketing and, quite frankly, it's hard to blame them.

To help cut through the clutter, let's start by differentiating the two.

Recruitment marketing is a tactical game. Imagine you're a fisherman casting your net into the ocean, but instead of using ordinary bait, you're using the most enticing, irresistible lure that only the best fish can't resist. In the world of recruitment, your bait is your job ad, and the fish are your prospective employees.

This is where recruitment marketing comes into play. It's a targeted approach to convince candidates to apply for your jobs.

You're selling the sizzle – not the steak. Recruitment marketing is not about the long-term reputation of your company, it's about the short-term win.

Employer branding, on the other hand, is more strategic. It's about the entire reputation of your company as an employer.

You're not just trying to catch a fish; you're trying to convince all fish that your part of the ocean is the best. It's how your company is perceived by employees, prospective employees, and the general public.

Now, the reason these two concepts often get muddled is simple: they share a common goal – to attract and retain the best talent. However, they approach this objective from different angles and with different tactics.

The confusion also arises from the fact that both recruitment marketing and employer branding rely on similar channels – company websites, social media, and career sites. Add to this the fact that the recruitment and HR teams are often responsible for both tasks, and it's no wonder that people conflate the two.

But conflating them is dangerous. If you focus solely on recruitment marketing, you may attract many applicants, but if your employer brand is weak, you'll struggle to retain them. Conversely, if you focus only on employer branding, you might have a fantastic reputation, but without targeted recruitment marketing, you may not attract the specific talent you need.

In a world where employees can share their views about their employer with a global audience through platforms like Glassdoor, employer branding has never been more critical. And in an increasingly competitive job market, effective recruitment marketing is vital to attract the best talent.

In short, if recruitment marketing is the spark that ignites the flame, employer branding is what keeps the fire burning. The best companies understand the importance of both. So, the next time you hear someone mixing up recruitment marketing and employer branding, gently remind them of the fisherman and the ocean. Or better yet, direct them to this article. After all, in the ever-evolving world of TA, it's essential to know your bait from your ocean.


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