Employer Branding Recruitment Marketing

The Evolution of Recruitment Marketing: What’s Changed and What’s Coming Next

The Evolution of Recruitment Marketing: What’s Changed and What’s Coming Next
Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing is driving the talent acquisition strategies at thousands of employers. Rally’s Lori Sylvia shares how the field has grown over the past decade and where it’s heading.

The Evolution of Recruitment Marketing: What’s Changed and What’s Coming Next
5 (100%) 4 votes

Recruitment Marketing has changed a lot over the past decade. Transforming from a very young and mostly unknown discipline into a recognized profession practiced by tens of thousands (if not more!) TA professionals around the world. 

In the past year, our work has changed even more drastically, as a result of the pandemic and in response to social injustice. The candidate mindset has shifted and we’ve had to adjust our strategies to reflect this.

Recently I was a guest on The Employer Brand Shop Talk Podcast and we had a discussion on these very topics and, maybe even more importantly, where our space is going next. Today I wanted to share just a few of those insights with all of you. 

Rally note: if you’re interested in hearing more, listen to the full episode here or on your favorite podcast player: 

How the Recruitment Marketing space has changed over the past decade

When I got into the field of Recruitment Marketing in 2014, the field was really only just starting out. A lot of TA leaders didn’t really understand Recruitment Marketing because it was so new, so a lot of my focus even then was around educating people on what Recruitment Marketing was and how it could benefit their organization. 

At that time, there were only a handful of pioneering practitioners in the space, those early thought leaders who said “we need to start applying marketing strategies to recruiting”. They were truly brave and forward-thinking! Other than the introduction of applicant tracking systems (ATS) and moving applications online, the recruiting world hadn’t changed or innovated too much in a long time. Recruitment Marketing was long overdue! 

Now here we are today in 2021, where there are literally thousands of people that have a full-time job practicing employer branding and Recruitment Marketing! We’ve gone from wondering what “this thing” was to it now becoming a strategy that’s practiced by virtually every employer and an amazing career for thousands of professionals. 

Just look at the Rally community — in just 3.5 years we’ve grown to nearly 30,000 practitioners learning and leading the future of talent acquisition together! And it’s not just solo practitioners either — more and more companies are building out entire teams dedicated to this. 

I guess in short, I’d say the biggest change over the last 10 years is how many professionals have come into this space who work for employers who “get it” and the really amazing growth and maturity of the marketing practices being used. 

How the Recruitment Marketing space has changed in the past year

A year ago, when this pandemic was in its early days, it was very frightening for recruitment marketers because everything was so murky — how do you market in a pandemic? Is it even appropriate? But the people in our community really stepped up. 

Before 2020, in some ways Recruitment Marketing roles were viewed as tactical, but when the pandemic hit, recruitment marketers became “Chief Empathizers”. They served as both documentarians and storytellers and helped their companies really humanize their internal and external communications during a difficult time. 

Recruitment Marketing roles today have become much more strategic because these practitioners have a unique set of skills and audience insights. If you look across the company, who else is regularly strategically thinking about both the external and internal perception (and reality) of the company? The influence of their voices have been influential in helping their companies do right by employees, candidates, customers and their communities.

I polled our community at RallyFwd last May, and 77% said that they had changed some or all of their Recruitment Marketing content due to the pandemic. They reacted really quickly because they realized we needed to change what we’re communicating and sharing. If there was ever a need before to bring transparency to an organization, it was elevated to a new level. People want to see what’s going on at companies and how leadership and employees are reacting and behaving during a crisis.

Then with BLM and the movement for racial justice, our community continued to step up! They helped their leadership teams think through ways they can take concrete action, not just make performative statements. 

Rally note: Looking for steps you can take to drive change, promote diversity and embrace inclusion at your organization? Check out our article with Shavonne Thomas, 7 Actions Employers Must Take Now For Racial Equality

How the candidate mindset has changed

Last year we saw unemployment skyrocket, unfortunately. When unemployment rates go up, you expect recruiting costs to go down because there’s a flood of candidates to fill your pipelines with. However, 2020 wasn’t normal (of course)! Recruiting costs actually went up, and that’s because even in a pandemic, in-demand talent was still hard to find and recruit. 

In fact, the practitioners in our community said it was even harder to recruit last year. Many qualified candidates were already employed and favored stability because of all the changes happening around them.

As a result, organizations needed to illustrate how they provided stable yet exciting job opportunities to candidates. And the best way to do this continues to be from the employee perspective. That is an absolute shift that’s required — candidates want to hear from people who work at the company as directly as possible. 

This is also because authenticity is becoming more and more important. Candidates can tell when something is “corporate speak”. We’re finding more and more reasons to push our organizations to reveal their unfiltered employee experience and company culture. So as recruitment marketers, we’re not only playing the role of storytellers but also the role of story facilitators. 

Where Recruitment Marketing is headed

I think the other change we’re going to see in the next year onwards is more and more sophistication from teams in terms of their content marketing, social media and digital marketing strategies and in their Recruitment Marketing tech stacks. More and more marketing technologies are coming into the process of recruiting and best-in-class TA teams will embrace these to gain a competitive edge. 

2021 needs to be the year that we get really smart about tech. To be a marketer today is to be a tech-savvy marketer and I believe the same thing is happening in Recruitment Marketing. We need to know the tools and platforms that will help us succeed and demonstrate our value.

So, recruitment marketers, get smart with tech! Watch demos, attend webinars — just make sure you’re in the know and you have a sense about what’s coming around the bend. 

Rally note: Get a head start here by registering for the RallyFwd Virtual Conference on May 5th! We’ll also be featuring a virtual tech expo so that you can get all the insights on the latest Recruitment Marketing and TA technologies.

The Evolution of Recruitment Marketing: What’s Changed and What’s Coming Next
5 (100%) 4 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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