Recruitment marketing

Understanding Recruitment Marketing for Universities

3 min read · Advice & Insights / Recruitment marketing · Published 3 years ago

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Recruitment marketing is essential for any university looking to attract the best academics to their institution. It is the practice of using marketing strategies to promote the value of working for a certain employer in order to attract, engage, and recruit employees. However, because many universities do not currently take a recruitment marketing approach to their hiring, it can be difficult for institutions that want to start using recruitment marketing to understand exactly what it looks like. 

In order to do recruitment marketing effectively, your institution needs to have certain skills and competencies as well as a “long game” mindset. Generally, universities only think about attracting talent when they have an open position, however recruitment marketing is an ongoing process that doesn’t just aim to fill a single vacancy. It aims to create a candidate pipeline. 

Recruitment marketing requires more than simply writing a job advert and posting it on a few job boards. It is a comprehensive, and thoughtful way to build awareness of all that your university has to offer so that more candidates seek out your positions.

The first steps

Because of the increasing internationalization of higher education, candidates are now casting a wider net in their job searches. They also have more access to information about universities from a variety of sources including university websites, job wikis, and social media. As a result, academic candidates now behave more like customers searching for the perfect product. 

The process of “selling” your “product” (in this case, your vacancy) has become similar to a corporate marketing strategy. Job seekers aren’t satisfied by finding one vacancy that matches their area of expertise. They “shop around” and look for the best offer. Recruitment marketing has evolved  reaction to this new way of looking for and applying for jobs. In order to attract top talent to your vacancies, you have to employ some of the same practices that businesses use to convince consumers to buy their products.

Whether you’re looking to buy new shoes or find a postdoc position in anthropology, your search starts in the same place: Google. Recruitment marketing requires that universities be mindful of this and use SEO best practices across all their content channels. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of increasing the amount of quality traffic a website gets from search engines. Websites with better SEO rank higher in the search engine results. There are many variables that impact a webpage’s SEO, including keywords, backlinks, loading speeds, mobile compatibility, and labeled images.

Since the first step of recruitment marketing involves growing awareness of your university, it is imperative that you rank well in searches. It’s not just your job adverts that should be optimized for search engines, all your digital content should be SEO optimized. This includes landing pages, blog posts and articles.

Create relevant content

Your university should actively create as many opportunities as possible to draw in potential candidates. One way to actively spark awareness and deepen consideration is by publishing frequent and relevant content. Content such as news articles or employee blogs allows you to speak much more broadly about your institution and topics of interest to potential job applicants. This content should be published and broadcast across all your social media channels in order to provide as many touch points as possible. 

Additionally, you should spend some time actively evaluating all the employee information that is currently on your website. Is it up to date and accurate? Does it truly showcase the benefits you offer as an employer? Does it provide compelling reasons to want to invest time in a job application? 

Creating content for recruitment marketing purposes does take time, but it is crucial to each step of recruitment. It helps build awareness, consideration, and ultimately interest in applying among both active and passive job seekers. This kind of proactive content marketing will not only help you cast a wider net to find talented researchers, it may also help you retain them.

Even if someone is not looking for a job but reads an article about the kinds of work your university is doing, they will be more inclined to want to learn more. The more job seekers know about your university, the more they can evaluate if they will be a good fit. 

Create a social media presence

Social media is an invaluable tool for building brand awareness and engaging potential employees. In a recent study, researchers found that “the number of social media users has increased by an average of more than 1.4 million each day over the past 12 months—that’s equal to 16.5 new users every single second.” 

To effectively recruit top talent, universities need to actively engage them on social media. These channels provide an excellent opportunity to grab the attention of job seekers, but they are often underutilized. Universities typically build their social media strategies around student recruitment, missing out on a powerful recruitment marketing channel for potential employees. Social media is where you can have a little fun promoting your university and work environment to give potential applicants a taste of your workplace culture. For example, you can post interesting or little known facts about your location, do faculty profiles, or discuss some of the extracurricular benefits of joining your community. The more places you are visible, the more chances you have to attract the interest of candidates from all over the world. 

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