Your Essential Guide to Small Business Recruitment Marketing (Part Two): Plan Your Strategy

Essential Small Business Recruitment Marketing Guide Part TwoRecruiting talented employees for your small business is tough. Limited resources and smaller market penetration make it difficult to get noticed by top candidates. But you don’t have to go broke to hire quality people for your team.

Recruitment marketing helps you promote your recruitment messages just like you do your business: by communicating the right message to the right people at the right time in the right place.

In Part One of this series, we talked about the first step of knowing your audience. In this post, we’ll take the next step by planning your strategy.

Four Keys To a Killer Recruitment Marketing Strategy

The marketing mindset for recruiting represents a significant shift away from old-school recruitment methodologies where the company held all the cards and the candidates just hoped for a call-back. These days, candidates have a lot more options, especially those with highly desirable skill sets. You have to sell a job opportunity or career to the candidate, just like you might sell a customer on a new car.

That’s why planning plays a key role in your recruitment marketing efforts. You need a cohesive strategy so your message will be consistent and unified across all channels.

Let’s look at four foundational pillars of a successful recruitment marketing strategy:

1. Branding

Your employer brand, just like your customer brand, will affect the way people think about you. Things like:

  • Is your company a positive place to work?
  • What is your culture like?
  • Do you invest in your employees?
  • Are you involved in the community?
  • Do you follow good management practices?
  • Do your employees enjoy working for you?

And just like with your customer brand, you shape your employer brand by communicating your values and practices to your followers. Your candidate process should match the employer brand you project. For example, if your culture is fun and upbeat, your candidate messaging, onboarding program, and communications should reflect that vibe.

2. Inbound/Outbound Techniques

Outbound marketing techniques—also known as interruptive marketing—push your message out to a target audience using carefully placed advertisements, job postings, and PPC campaigns. 

These are essential, of course, but inbound techniques should also make up a healthy percentage of your recruitment marketing investment. Inbound marketing includes SEO, social media, blogging, email, and other strategies designed to pull candidates in to your website. Inbound techniques should comprise a significant portion of your total recruitment efforts with the goal of developing a reliable candidate pipeline using strong content, landing pages, and calls to action.

3. Candidate Nurturing

It’s not enough to get someone’s attention. You also have to hold that attention and persuade them to act. Candidate nurturing involves following up with candidates, keeping them in the loop, and making them feel valued. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Emails—Autoresponders send targeted messages to candidates at key points during the recruitment process and keep them informed about what’s happening next. Candidates should also hear from the recruiter or interviewer within a reasonable time frame after they’ve been contacted.
  • Job Alerts—Consider creating a sign-up form where candidates can be notified about new openings as you post them on your jobs page.
  • Secondary calls to action—Not every candidate will be ready to reply right away. In fact, most will research your company to find out things like what benefits you offer, whether your company is a good place to work, what your mission and values are, and basic details about your organization. By placing secondary calls to action on your job pages, you can give candidates much of the information they’re looking for while keeping them engaged with your content.
  • Social media engagement—Stay connected with candidates on social media by regularly posting job openings, employee spotlights, and cultural pieces designed to promote your brand message. Consider using a hashtag to form a campaign around your recruitment efforts.

4. Passive Candidate Recruiting

Inbound marketing is also a great way to capture the attention of passive candidates—those individuals who would be open to a new position but who aren’t actively job hunting. More than 80% of open positions are filled through networking, and a significant percentage of those candidates are passive. That means staying active on social media, asking current employees for referrals, reaching out to others in your industry, and promoting benefits to the candidate.

Strategy Planning Is Worth the Effort

A cohesive recruitment marketing strategy is admittedly labor intensive, but it can help you find some of the best candidates on the market without spending your last dollar.

In Part Three of our small business recruitment marketing series, we’ll talk about the tools you can use to reach the right candidates in the right place.

Need help with your recruitment efforts? Talk to your PEO! Check out our comprehensive PEO matching tool to find the right provider for your small business HR needs.


About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn't writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.