Recruitment Marketing

The #1 Priority for Recruitment Marketing in 2021

Recruitment Marketing Priority for 2021
Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

Rally Founder Lori Sylvia recommends that the #1 priority for Recruitment Marketing in 2021 is to become a more confident technologist and explains how it will empower you to create your future with the skills, know-how and influence to move talent acquisition forward.

The #1 Priority for Recruitment Marketing in 2021
5 (100%) 9 votes

2021 is here with so much to be hopeful for, and yet there are still many unknowns ahead. As you prepare your talent acquisition and Recruitment Marketing strategy to remain agile for the future, it’s also an important time to ask where you should focus your own professional development to make an impact on your company now and on your career long term.

In the past, I’ve started the new year with a blog post recommending the top Recruitment Marketing priorities to help you shape your Recruitment Marketing plan for the coming year. Last week, I had a little fun looking back on my previous recommendations: humanize the candidate experience, email lead nurture, chatbot candidate communications, employer brand video storytelling and team value propositions, to name a few. How did I do?

But this year, rather than a list of strategic priorities, I have just one recommendation: Invest in learning the latest Recruitment Marketing technology.

Let me explain why I think technology is the #1 priority for Recruitment Marketing in 2021, and how becoming a more confident technologist will empower you to create your future as a Recruitment Marketing and employer branding practitioner with the skills, know-how and influence to move talent acquisition forward.

Becoming a more confident technologist will empower you to create your future as a Recruitment Marketing and employer branding practitioner with the skills, know-how and influence to move talent acquisition forward.

A must-have Recruitment Marketing skill is knowing how to use technology to gain an advantage

The last 5 years have truly established Recruitment Marketing as a discipline. It’s been exciting to see Recruitment Marketing become widely adopted by employers of all sizes across all industries and to see the growing number of professionals who list Recruitment Marketing as a skill. Go ahead and do a people search on LinkedIn and you’ll see tens of thousands of practitioners! Our own Rally Recruitment Marketing community just passed 27,000 members! (thank you)

But what does listing “Recruitment Marketing” as a skill actually mean? That you know how to develop an employee value proposition (EVP) and can define your company’s employer brand? That you can optimize job advertising spending across recruiting channels? That you can create engaging content to attract talent through social media?

Being a recruitment marketer — whether Recruitment Marketing is your full-time job or just one of your many responsibilities in TA and HR — should mean that you can answer ‘yes’ to possessing all of those skills. But what about your mastery of Recruitment Marketing technology?

While on the one hand Recruitment Marketing is becoming more adopted as a modern talent acquisition strategy, on the other hand our practice of Recruitment Marketing isn’t maturing fast enough to meet the needs of our employers. We were already way behind our B2B and B2C marketing peers in embracing digital marketing, and that gap became particularly visible in 2020 because of our weakness in technology.

What do I mean by this?

When COVID hit and we were under tremendous pressure to shift our approach overnight and bring forward new solutions to virtual recruiting, some teams were stuck. It took time to create remote experiences for candidates and employees. It took time to embrace digital channels to reach candidates in a virtual world.

I noticed that the teams that were able to move quickly and therefore able to help their companies weather the shift faster and more smoothly where those that either had the technology and processes already implemented or that knew what solutions could be leveraged immediately.

Technology isn’t the answer to every business challenge or recruiting problem, but if you worked for a technology-led, digital-first talent acquisition team in 2020, you were already one huge step ahead.

Let’s face it, those orgs were and still are the exception. So what can you do?

The TA tech landscape is growing, and you need to be “in the know”

Can you guess how many marketing technology (martech) products exist? The last count was 8,000!

I’ve been following Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic for years. In 2011, he counted about 150 martech products. Within two years, that number reached 1,000, and today his list of martech is 50x the size it started at.

By comparison, TTL’s Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem graphic published two months ago featured 500 companies.

Of course, both lists are not exhaustive, but it’s clear that B2B and B2C marketers have a magnitude more tools available than recruitment marketers do. Why?

There are lots of reasons that we could debate over a glass of wine one day! But an undeniable reason is market size: There are many, many more B2B and B2C marketers, and as a result, much more investment has gone into martech than TA tech, never mind Recruitment Marketing tech.

Another reason is that TA tech has grown out of HR tech, and HR tech has been notoriously slow in undergoing digital transformation and regrettably underfunded compared to other business functions. We’ll have to leave that discussion for a glass of wine too.

But the good news is that this is changing and the TA tech landscape is growing. George LaRocque reported that HR tech investment surged to $5 billion in 2020, the second-highest amount of growth capital to flood into the market in the last decade, based his research and analysis.

As TA and Recruitment Marketing technology matures and becomes more specialized just like martech has done, it’s critical that we know what’s out there. No one could have been ready for the crises of 2020, but imagine how things could have been different for your company if you already knew what technology could do to help.

Because when you’re thrown a curveball and need to shift your strategy overnight, the right technology can enable your success, but the wrong technology or lack of technology can crush you. In those moments, you don’t have lots of time for research. You need the confidence to act, and that comes from already being “in the know”.

That’s why in 2021, I have one recommendation to the Rally Recruitment Marketing community, to benefit your company and your own career. And that is to become a technology-confident recruitment marketer.

Because when you’re thrown a curveball and need to shift your strategy overnight, the right technology can enable your success, but the wrong technology or lack of technology can crush you. In those moments, you don’t have lots of time for research. You need the confidence to act, and that comes from already being “in the know”.

8 actions you can take to learn Recruitment Marketing technology, even without a budget

When marketing leaders look at the resumes of marketing candidates, they go straight to what tools does the candidate have experience with. Yes, candidates are screened in or out based on martech. It is a key indicator of whether the candidate’s skills are up to date.

Take a look at your own resume or LinkedIn profile — what TA tech or Recruitment Marketing tools do you list?

Now, I know this is a sticky topic, because many of you have been demanding more budget to invest in new tech, and that funding has been slow to materialize, especially last year. You’re about to challenge me by asking, “How am I supposed to learn new tech without a proper budget to get the tools I need?”

I’d like to challenge you back with this advice: Just knowing what Recruitment Marketing technology is available, how it works and what it can do for you will get you 75% of the way there, even if you haven’t used the tech hands-on yourself.

I’ve been caught uninformed about the latest martech, and it sucks. The landscape changes quickly so it’s understandable, but it doesn’t lessen the embarrassment. There’s nothing worse than someone asking you in a meeting, “Why aren’t we using X?” or “Have you heard of Y?” When you don’t appear to be on top of the latest tech and trends, it doesn’t instill confidence in your leadership, your peers or your team. But when it’s time to act and you’re ready with a solution, then your influence and authority grows instantly.

So how can you learn Recruitment Marketing technology this year, so that you’re aware of the trends, so that you’re confident to make a buying decision when the strategy calls for it and the budget becomes available?

Set aside some dedicated time each month to take these 8 actions:

  1. Attend webinars — this is a good introduction to new vendors and product categories, as most webinars are free and are sponsored by a vendor and there’s usually some content that explains how their technology enables a particular strategy
  2. Visit trade show booths at virtual conferences — for example, our RallyFwd Virtual Conference provides an online technology showcase featuring demo videos of our sponsors along with downloadable educational resources (check out a vendors’ YouTube channel too, as you may find product videos there)
  3. Ask your agency what’s trending — if you use a Recruitment Marketing agency, ask them what new technology have they looked at lately and what strategies should you be considering for 2021
  4. Get product updates from your current vendors — stay in touch with your customer success representative or account manager at the vendors you currently use and ask them for regular product roadmap updates about what’s new and coming down the pike
  5. Read product reviews — vendors work with websites like G2 and Software Advice to solicit product reviews from their customers, and these public reviews can give you a glimpse into the reasons to buy as well as pros and cons
  6. Search for a vendor’s product documentation online — for some of the larger vendors, their product documentation is publicly accessible using the right Google search and is a great source for reading how features work
  7. Sign up to watch a product demo, either on demand or live — first, many vendors offer a recorded demo that you can access by registering, but second, there are benefits to speaking with a live solutions consultant because you can tailor the demo to your questions — just let them know up front that you’re trying to learn and not ready to buy
  8. Put aside budget for a paid pilot, if you can — most vendors don’t offer free trials because they don’t have the resources to work with customers who are in the exploratory phase, but maybe there is room to negotiate a limited trial or a paid pilot when you are closer to making a decision

The curveballs thrown at you in 2020 and how you managed through those challenges and crises are forever part of your career story. In fact, you may have had to slow down your Recruitment Marketing in 2020, which may have slowed down your career development. Don’t let that gap widen!

Now that 2021 is here, you have a real opportunity to chart your own digital-first future and to be an advocate for the digital transformation of talent acquisition and HR. As you become more confident with how technology can enable your strategy and give your company a competitive recruiting advantage, you’ll be ready to shift and pivot whatever the new year brings. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself leading the way forward!

The #1 Priority for Recruitment Marketing in 2021
5 (100%) 9 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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