The best job listing in the world isn’t worth a thing if you can’t get it in front of the right candidates. That’s why Recruitment Marketing has become so crucial in recruiting, and why Recruitment Marketing Platforms (RMPs) have become an important tool in the TA tech stack. Once an organization’s practice of Recruitment Marketing matures, many teams turn to an RMP. The tools and analytics provided by a Recruitment Marketing Platform can not only help you better attract and recruit talent, it can better measure the effectiveness of your sources and channels so that you can make data-informed decisions about your Recruitment Marketing strategies and budget.
And that’s not all an RMP can do for you—not by a long shot. We’ll get into more detail about what is a Recruitment Marketing Platform and the benefits an RMP can offer, but let’s start with the basics of Recruitment Marketing Platforms 101.
Recruitment Marketing software has matured rapidly since the first multi-function platform emerged around 15 years ago. The growth is thanks in part to the addition of new Recruitment Marketing technology companies on the scene, who have infused innovation into the vendor category and in some ways have pushed the evolution of Recruitment Marketing as a practice. As the needs and demands of Recruitment Marketing have matured, RMPs have responded with new capabilities and features. The result is a diverse marketplace where recruitment marketers can easily suffer from paralysis by analysis. Put simply, there are so many Recruitment Marketing tools that offer similar but different capabilities that it can be a daunting task to figure out where to start.
In this article, I hope to provide you with a solid understanding of the Recruitment Marketing Platform category, the benefits of using an RMP and what to look for when deciding on an RMP for your team. Let’s go!
What is a Recruitment Marketing Platform?
A Recruitment Marketing Platform or RMP is software that’s used to market your jobs and your company so that you can attract candidates and convert them into applicants and new hires. RMPs mirror the functionality of marketing automation systems like Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo and ActiveCampaigns, but are designed to market to candidates rather than customers. An RMP can be a stand-alone software tool, but increasingly they are built into an applicant tracking system (ATS) and have integrations with the broader HR tech ecosystem. We consider a tool an RMP if it has these 3 core offerings:
- marketing and distribution of your job listings
- a content management system (CMS) to host and manage your careers site
- a candidate relationship management (CRM) system to serve as a talent database and engagement tool
As the world of Recruitment Marketing expands, so too have the offerings of Recruitment Marketing companies. And as new players emerge in the space, the descriptors they use for their products have also evolved. While most use the terms Recruitment Marketing Platform or Recruitment Marketing software, many vendors self-identify as a talent experience platform, talent acquisition suite, candidate management tool, or simply as an online recruiting service. With so many different monikers for roughly the same set of features, it’s more important than ever for talent acquisition professionals to be educated about the options available.
Why do you need software for Recruitment Marketing?
Once you start marketing your jobs beyond job boards, especially through digital and social channels, when you are upgrading your careers site to improve the candidate experience and content or when you want to improve talent engagement and candidate communications, then you need Recruitment Marketing software to make it happen, help you work smarter and measure your results. Don’t try to go it alone or piece together disparate systems! Your candidate experience will suffer and you’ll have a hard time knowing what’s really driving applications and new hires.
Practitioners add a Recruitment Marketing Platform to their TA tech stack because it’s an all-in-one solution that centrally manages the front-end of the recruiting process, enabling you to market jobs and your employer branding content to attract, engage and recruit talent and turn them into applicants and ultimately employees. RMPs add new marketing-based strategies to your recruiting toolkit: social media, digital marketing, content marketing and more.
Most RMPs integrate with a wide variety of ATSs in order to pull in jobs and then display them on the careers site (often in a mobile-friendly and easy-to-search manner) and automatically distribute job listings through job boards (both free and paid). The ATS integration can go a step further to track which candidates become applicants, monitor their progress in your hiring stages and determine if they become applicants and hires. Based on knowing if a candidate applied for a job and where they are in your hiring process, you can use the CRM functionality to personalize your candidate communications, re-engage candidates who may have dropped off and keep your talent pipeline warm over time.
Let me paint a picture of what’s possible with a Recruitment Marketing Platform:
You use your RMP to promote a job on social media. If a candidate clicks and then becomes a new hire, you can track it back to your social campaign (no more candidates being asked to self select their source from a drop-down list!). What happens in between the social post and new hire is really powerful. When the candidate clicks on that social post, they land on a landing page focused on nursing careers at your organization. When they click to learn about a pediatric nursing job, they are shown an enhanced job description with employer branding content targeted to nurses, including videos, blog posts and other recommended jobs. If they leave your careers site and then come back, the homepage dynamically changes to present them with nursing careers content. A week later, they automatically receive an email newsletter especially for nurses with featured pediatric nursing jobs. If they start applying for a job but don’t finish, they’re sent a reminder email or text to reduce the application abandonment rate. If they make it to the interview stage, they no longer receive Recruitment Marketing emails or job alerts, so the candidate doesn’t get confused. If they get rejected for that specific position, they enter an email nurture track for silver medalists, and your recruiting team is notified to follow up with them for the next role. These are things you just can’t do with a traditional ATS alone!
Practitioners add a Recruitment Marketing Platform to their TA tech stack because it’s an all-in-one solution that centrally manages the front-end of the recruiting process, enabling you to market jobs and your employer branding content to attract, engage and recruit talent and turn them into applicants and ultimately employees.
Common features of Recruitment Marketing Platforms
As we mentioned earlier, in our definition an RMP can perform at least 3 core Recruitment Marketing functions: job marketing, careers site management and CRM. But you’ll need to look deeper when evaluating Recruitment Marketing companies. Many RMPs differentiate themselves on the maturity of these core offerings. For example:
- Job Marketing – may be integrated with Google for Jobs so that your job listings appear in Google’s search engine and link back to the job description on your careers site; may allow you to manage budget and inventory for paid job boards and sponsored listings within the RMP; may enable you to use programmatic job advertising to optimize your media spend
- CMS – may allow careers site content and jobs to be dynamically personalized to the candidate based on information they provide to the employer; may provide easy drag-and-drop landing page and email campaign creation; may have sophisticated job search engine including a map view
- CRM – may offer multi-step workflows to automate talent communications based on a candidate’s profile information and job seeking behavior; may integrate with candidate sourcing services to pull in their records directly into the CRM for recruiter outreach
While all RMPs share the 3 key offerings we mentioned above, the list of possible features doesn’t end there. The following are examples of some of the other common features found in Recruitment Marketing software on the market right now.
- Talent network or talent community
- Job alerts by email and/or text
- Enhanced job descriptions
- Employee referral management
- Recruiting chatbots
- Text recruiting
- Social media sharing
- Internal mobility careers sites
- Recruitment event management
In some ways, an RMP is designed to do everything that a traditional ATS does not do during the talent attraction phase of your recruiting process!
An important feature to look for is whether the RMP offers the ability to create tracking links for content you share on social media channels and in digital ads, as well as via email or text messages. This link makes it possible to track analytics on a granular level, revealing not just how many clicks a link received, but who in your database clicked on the link. These valuable insights offer opportunities for you to trigger communication workflows and to have recruiters follow up with active candidates before they turn their attention elsewhere.
One other word about features: AI and machine learning are not features! They are technologies that enable various capabilities which can provide you and your candidates with benefits, such as automation and efficiency and personalization. Beware of the buzzwords without understanding the real capability you’re getting.
Selecting a Recruitment Marketing Platform vendor
As you can see, there are lots of nuances to watch for when you’re selecting a Recruitment Marketing Platform. When evaluating features, it comes down to which features are most important to you—be sure to prioritize the capabilities that you need now and not to get caught up with everything else that might be nice to have. Another consideration is the level of customization possible (if your organization has unique needs) and add-on features available, so that the platform can grow with you as your Recruitment Marketing practice matures.
Recruitment Marketing analytics is one of the most important buying criteria in our opinion. In Rally’s 2019 Recruitment Marketing Job & Salary Survey results, we asked practitioners to tell us how well they can measure their Recruitment Marketing effectiveness. On a scale of 1 to 10, they said 6. That’s not very good, to say the least, for a practice that’s been around for many, many years.
It’s a key reason why Recruitment Marketing Platforms are being adopted. Recruitment Marketing analytics help you make better decisions about where and when to advertise jobs, about the performance of your careers site, about the effectiveness of your campaigns and initiatives and about the quality of candidates you attract as they move through your hiring process. But not all RMP analytics are equal! When you evaluate Recruitment Marketing companies, be sure to ask how deep the RMP integrates with the ATS when it comes to tracking a candidate’s activity. For example, some RMPs can only track “apply clicks” and can’t tell you if a candidate that you attracted through a Recruitment Marketing campaign actually completed an application. Other RMPs have deeper ATS integration and can track all the way to a candidate being hired, including the source that first attracted the candidate and the sources that influenced them through the candidate journey. In our view, if you can’t track cost-per-hire from Recruitment Marketing, you’ll only have a partial view of the effectiveness of your Recruitment Marketing programs, and that makes it tough to demonstrate the value of Recruitment Marketing as a strategy and your value as a practitioner.
We also recommend placing an importance on ease of use—how much can you do yourself, versus what do you need to ask the vendor to do on your behalf? As more and more HR and TA practitioners develop Recruitment Marketing skills, they will want a platform that enables DIY, so they can easily create new landing pages themselves, set up and run email campaigns and pull reports and analyze the data. Other TA teams may need a solution where the vendor also provides Recruitment Marketing services, or a Recruitment Marketing agency that can operate the platform on their behalf. There’s no single “right” approach—it all comes down to what’s right for your organization today and into the near future.
Ultimately, you’re not just shopping for an RMP, you’re selecting a new vendor partner. Find out what level of account services they provide. Ask how they respond when something goes wrong (because it will!). Understand what input you will have into product direction. Your success in Recruitment Marketing will be tied directly to the technology that enables your vision and the partners you choose.
Meeting your Recruitment Marketing goals
Partnering with an RMP technology company can give you access to the tools and insights you need to meet (and exceed) your Recruitment Marketing and talent acquisition goals. In today’s tight talent market, effective recruiting requires smarter strategy than ever before. With the marketing capabilities and analytics offered by an RMP, you’ll be able to promote your company and your open jobs through social and digital channels to reach talent in new ways. You’ll be able to deliver a modern candidate experience that reflects well on your company and employer brand and that, importantly, converts more of the candidates you attract into qualified applicants and new hires. And, you’ll have the data you need to make informed decisions about every aspect of your Recruitment Marketing efforts and budget. Because with the right Recruitment Marketing tools and partners supporting your success, you can advance your company’s talent acquisition results and your own career!
Recruitment Marketing Platform Vendors
The following Recruitment Marketing companies, listed in alphabetical order, offer a full suite of Recruitment Marketing Platform features.
- GR8 People
- iCIMS Attract
- Phenom People
- Symphony Talent
- Talemetry (now merged with Jobvite)
- TMP TalentBrew
The following vendors, listed in alphabetical order, offer some RMP features but also have their own specialties.
- LinkedIn Talent Solutions
- NAS Recruitment ACTIVATE
- RolePoint (now merged with Jobvite and Talemetry)
The Recruitment Marketing Platform category is an evolving space! If you have questions or feedback about this post, I’d love to hear from you. Contact Us