It’s an exciting time for the Recruitment Marketing field with the current labor shortage and the growing candidates’ market — Recruitment Marketing work is in high demand. We’re seeing job openings for Recruitment Marketing and employer branding professionals more than ever and that means people are growing their teams.
As the hiring landscape becomes more complicated, so do the requirements of a successful Recruitment Marketing team. How do you organize your Recruitment Marketing team to add to the growth of your organization and help establish yourself as an employer of choice?
To find out, we asked three leaders in the field: Tricia Day from Appian, Jennifer O’Brien from Booz Allen Hamilton and Chloé Rada from Syneos Health. They offered their advice on such pressing topics as:
- How and when to grow your team
- How to get buy-in from leadership for your plans
- Necessary skills for Recruitment Marketing teams in the new world of work
Meet the experts
Tricia leads Appian’s Global Employer Brand team of talented Recruitment Marketing and content production professionals. Tricia’s work in the past year building a global employer brand team and strategy led to her being named one of the Recruitment Marketing Rising Stars at the 2021 Rally Awards.
Jennifer O’Brien is the Global Talent Acquisition Leader of Candidate Attraction & Experience at Booz Allen Hamilton. Jennifer provides strategic and operational leadership for Booz Allen’s Talent Acquisition team which includes the three pillars of candidate attraction (employer branding, social engagement and channel management) and candidate experience.
Chloé Rada is the Director of Global Recruitment Marketing and Branding at Syneos Health. Chloé has served as a Recruitment Marketing practitioner, innovator, leader and mentor for nearly 20 years, earning such accolades as the 2020 Rally Awards Recruitment Marketer of the Year.
At what point did you realize you needed to grow your team?
Tricia: Appian was and has been in hyper-growth for several years, and as our hiring goals grew, along with talent acquisition, so did our need for Recruitment Marketing support. I started the role in 2018 as a team of one, and several months into 2019, I spoke to my boss about growing the team; to which she fully agreed! The 2 major challenges I faced were lack of bandwidth and expertise in areas of marketing that I knew we needed in order to really scale the function.
Jennifer: I was hired to build a team with talent attraction capability at the firm. I was transparent during my interview about the budget, labor and leadership sponsorship required to develop a world-class employer brand. It was a requirement of the offer to ensure our strategic partners understood what it would take to realize and mature a startup function.
Chloé: When I came into my role at the beginning of the year, I had 1 full-time employee and 2 in rotational roles. We were able to convert 1 in rotation to a full-time hybrid branding and operations role and the other person decided to go back to their recruiting responsibilities. This opened up the opportunity for me to hire an experienced Recruitment Marketing specialist from the external market.
Bringing in someone with a fresh perspective on creative content creation and both Recruitment Marketing and career site content management experience was crucial to the growth of my team.
How did you get buy-in from senior leadership on expanding your team?
Tricia: My direct leader has always been passionate about employer branding, and has truly been the best champion I could ask for. Through her guidance, I made it my mission to get in front of as many stakeholders internally as possible to showcase the overall impact of the work going on (often behind the scenes). Whether it was departmental all-hands talking about the power of employee advocacy, or weekly postings on our internal intranet to showcase the power of the brand ambassador program we were building, I wanted to ensure the work being done within our team was highlighted as an integral part of not only driving brand awareness, but nurturing internal employee experience programs. This resulted in buy-in and sign-off from leadership on the expansion of the team, in addition to being very thoughtful on what roles we needed now — and why.
Jennifer: It is always important to educate your senior leadership on a comprehensive approach to building a brand that will supply robust pipelines – the “what’s in it for them.” This includes not only Human Resources and corporate marketing, but more importantly your business clients. Convey the story of your journey to becoming an employer of choice and influence with data-driven recommendations and industry best practices.
How did you approach growing your Recruitment Marketing team?
Tricia: When expanding the team, I took it 1 role at a time. The first hire I knew I needed was someone who could take the Recruitment Marketing function to the next level. I remember telling my leader, “I want someone to come in and completely school me. I want them to try new things that we’ve never considered before.” When hiring for this role, I was seeking someone who had a marketing background with a strong interest in the employer brand space. I found just that!
The next position I wanted to hire for was a hybrid graphic design and social media role. The work we did was essential in supporting our talent acquisition team and internal employee experience programs. After that hire, the work grew, and I knew it was time to add another recruitment marketer about 6 months later to help support not only our growing talent acquisition team, but to support our increasing hiring goals.
To date, the team sits at 4 people strong. It went from one recruitment marketer supporting the entire recruiting team, to now having them split their support across our recruiting pods (e.g., engineering, sales, customer success, university recruiting, etc.). We all have different backgrounds, unique perspectives and I believe that’s what makes us a strong team. I’m really looking forward to expanding again in 2022.
Jennifer: Like any start-up, it is critical to develop a 3-5-year plan based on your projected business growth and hiring plans. We started with 2 people and have grown to a team of 15, including the capabilities of employer branding, Recruitment Marketing, channel management, candidate experience and events. Early in the development phase, it is key to invest in true subject matter experts that have a passion for transformation to help build out each capability. But as you mature, it is also critical to have strong practitioners who work directly with recruitment leaders and business/clients to ensure both strategic and operational success.
Chloé: Our commercial division is made up of several business units and each Recruitment Marketing specialist has a unique alignment and supports stakeholders running that business line. In my first few months, I was able to determine what other departments we were dependent upon for success, as well as what could stop us from success, and devised a plan to mitigate those barriers. I also asked each team member to map out their responsibilities to understand their work loads, co-create development opportunities, identify any gaps in people and technology resources and improve our ways of working with each other and our stakeholders.
What skills do you think will be most important for Recruitment Marketing teams in this new world of work?
Tricia: I would say the following three skills:
- Communication. This is key regardless of function, but in this new world of work where many teams are hybrid, or full-time remote, it’s easy to become a lone wolf. Be sure to over-communicate the work you are doing to the appropriate stakeholders to avoid any duplicative efforts, or worse — putting in time for an initiative that is no longer top of mind due to the ever-changing hiring market.
- Project management. In the world of Recruitment Marketing and employer branding, you’ll have a million things in motion at once. It’s inevitable! From multiple email nurture campaigns to developing brand campaigns in new hiring markets, having good organization and project management will be key to keeping you and your team members sane and proactive.
- Inquisitive and big-picture thinking. As a Recruitment Marketer, always stay curious and think about long-term impact. Your TA counterparts, for example, may ask for paid ads to help support their hiring efforts because they see other positions getting paid ad love. Rather than just running the ad, ask them questions! Dig in to what their struggles are. The outcome may result in something completely different that creates a bigger long-term impact.
Jennifer: Over the last year and half, we have experienced a worldwide pandemic and “total recovery” is uncertain. What is certain is that candidates yearn for authentic and transparent communications and in the absence of personal interactions — our Recruitment Marketing teams must meet these needs. Building an agile team will equip you with the resources you need to pivot and evolve your brand and recruitment marketing efforts.
What tips would you pass on to other Recruitment Marketing leaders working on building out their teams?
- Connect with others in the space! I’m in the midst of thinking through the growth of my team from 2021 to 2022, and am grateful for others in the employer brand space who recently took time out of their busy days to share how they thought through the growth of their own teams. This community rocks, and know that you aren’t alone!
- Map it out. If you are a team of one, you are likely wearing 1,000 (or more!) hats. List out all of the things you currently do, and things you wish you could do but lack expertise or bandwidth. From there, start mapping out roles you feel would make the biggest impact first to help support internal business goals. This exercise was extremely helpful for me when looking at what roles made sense to hire for, and in what order.
- Don’t hire yourself. This sounds strange, I know. But, I mean it. Hire people who have expertise in areas that you don’t. If you have recruiting experience only, hire someone with marketing experience. If you have marketing experience, hire someone with a background in the recruiting/HR space. Creating an environment where people from all backgrounds can learn from one another will take your team to the next level.
Jennifer: Rome wasn’t built in a day! Build a comprehensive plan based on the necessary growth required to achieve your hiring goals. Develop patience as you’ll be challenged to show direct ROI when it’s not always possible due to the multiple touchpoints in the candidate journey. Lastly, always put your people first. They are your greatest asset and should be valued and treasured.
Chloe: Understand the direction of the company and its growth goals first. And then go through the above exercise I described to get that holistic view of needs vs resources.
Also, you don’t have to go at it alone. Many of us have been in this (exciting) spot, and have been helped along the way by friends, peers and colleagues in the space — like the folks here in the Rally Recruitment Marketing community.
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