Why You Need to Take Your Employer Brand Beyond Recruitment Advertising

By Richard Mosley

Traditionally, recruitment advertising was the primary means by which organizations built their employer brands, but this approach is quickly becoming less effective as demand for a richer, more diverse range of marketing content grows. If you’re looking for reasons to ditch old-school recruitment advertising to free up resources for generating more engaging content, you’ll find plenty. Here are five good reasons to replace recruitment advertising with more engaging content marketing:

  • People are experiencing advertising overload. Over the last 15 years, most recruitment advertising has moved online. When first introduced, online advertising was a comparative novelty, and the proportion of people clicking on advertisements was reasonably high. In 2004, the average click-through rate for banner advertising was 4 percent. However, as the volume of advertising increased, click-through rates sharply declined. By 2008, the click-through rate dropped to 1 percent, and it now stands at around 0.1 percent.
  • Use of ad-blocking software is on the rise. The last few years have experienced a sharp rise in the use of ad-blocking software. Research conducted in 2016 and published in the PageFair Mobile Ad Blocking Report estimates that more than 400 million people use some form of ad-blocking software worldwide, and adoption is growing fast. This means that regardless of how enticing your recruitment advertising happens to be, fewer and fewer people will see it, especially the young, tech-savvy talent most employers want to recruit.
  • Audiences want the inside scoop, not marketing hype. Social media channels have given employees a stronger voice. Most people have always been somewhat skeptical of recruitment advertising. They understand that advertising is designed by communication professionals to catch people’s attention and interest. It’s always “sunny-side up.” Advertising seldom if ever provides a fully rounded picture of what the company is really like to work for. Advertising still has a place in drawing attention to your employer brand, but research suggests that people now have a much stronger preference to hear about your company from employees, not advertisers.
  • Showing trumps telling. The growing influence of social media also appears to have affected the type of content people are looking for. They’re much more interested in getting a feel for what the employer is like through authentic personal stories and realistic illustrations of life at work than highly polished and prepackaged advertising claims.
  • Audiences demand variety and relevance. People are also demanding greater variety and content that is more aligned with their specific needs and interests. Repeating the same headlines in the same advertising formats may be good for brand consistency, but it’s unlikely to deliver brand engagement. This trend is particularly strong in social channels where a rich and varied flow of fresh, up-to-date content is required to capture people’s attention and build a following. The same is true of career-site content. People are now more used to getting location, function, and job-specific content in addition to general company overviews.

Target audiences are no longer passive recipients of push marketing. You need to do more to earn their time, attention, and engagement.