Recruitment marketing

Why Universities Should Use Recruitment Marketing

3 min read · By Academic Positions · Published 9 months ago

There are thousands of universities across the globe that thrive on passionate employees. 

But as the number of universities continues to grow, it’s more important than ever to approach hiring thoughtfully and strategically. Nowadays, candidates are oftentimes willing to live and work abroad, and many research institutions across the globe are committed to hiring internationally. The competition for top talent is fierce. 

Thanks to the popularity of social media and access to more and better digital tools, potential academic job applicants have begun to behave more like customers shopping for the best products. They have access to information about any institution—big or small—in any country. They can research practicalities like the facilities at each university as well as quality of life factors that were previously difficult to find. Consequently, it is now the candidates who pick the university as their employer.  

As such, universities need to adopt new ways of searching for top talent. In order to find and attract the best researchers and academics, universities need to use many of the same tactics as businesses. This purposeful approach to recruitment is known as recruitment marketing.

Recruitment marketing goes beyond crafting a well written advert and posting it on a job board. It requires planning and an understanding of the changing landscape of human resources. The growth of the internet, social media, and digital tools has shifted the amount of information available to job candidates. They expect more and better information in order to make informed decisions about potential employers. 

Recruitment marketing is the process of providing that information in the form of comprehensive landing pages, SEO optimized content, and frequent and relevant social media posts. Together, this content helps universities build greater brand awareness. 

Why do recruitment marketing? 

Competition for top talent is fierce among universities. As the number of institutions continues to grow, it gets harder to stand out and get on the radar of potential applicants. However, in order to fill open positions, it’s essential for job seekers to know that your institution exists and that you are hiring. This can be especially challenging for smaller schools that aren’t top ranked, as they lack the name-recognition to catch a candidate’s eye. This is one reason why recruitment marketing is imperative.

Recruitment marketing applies a funnel approach to hiring. At the top, there is the need to create awareness that your university exists. Beyond simple name recognition, universities need to move potential applicants further down the funnel by making information about your programs, facilities, and people widely available. This could be anything from looking up more about who you are and what you do, to setting up news alerts regarding your university. As they begin to become familiar with your institution and its value, potential candidates will then start to consider it as a potential employer. 

Once potential candidates understand who you are and what you can offer, your focus should be to drive interest in applying to an open position. Each step of recruitment marketing builds on the previous one to ultimately lead candidates through the application process. If a candidate is already somewhat invested in your school or believes it to be a great match for them, there is a good chance they’ll continue with the long and sometimes tedious application process.

It is a fallacy to believe that candidates will apply to your open position just because you’re hiring. They often need to be convinced to apply. Recruitment marketing helps you do this because it allows you to show candidates what makes your institution an attractive employer. Through regular, proactive content creation and social media posts, you’ll generate curiosity and interest as an employer. If people can see the kind of innovative research being conducted  at your school, or the benefits of working there, they’ll be more interested in applying. 

Importantly, recruitment marketing helps you create a candidate pipeline. This means not only striving to reach active job seekers but also passive ones. Strong recruitment marketing allows your university to get on the radar of candidates who might not yet be ready to apply or might not be a match for any of your current open positions. It keeps academics interested in your brand, not just your available jobs. These pipeline candidates will be some of your strongest applicants because they will already be excited by your university. By showcasing your groundbreaking research, facilities, or staff, you can catch their attention and prime them, so that when you do post a relevant vacancy they’re already convinced you’re the institution for them and are eager to apply. 

The goal of recruitment marketing shouldn’t just be about creating awareness of your institution. Ultimately, it needs to push candidates away from simply recognizing your school to being motivated to apply and join your community. If you’ve done some marketing work in advance, this leap from knowing who you are to actively trying to land a job, is not far. 

Taking this long and thoughtful approach to marketing makes sense for a variety of reasons. First, it helps you create awareness of your university and employer brand. Second, it allows you to recruit more and better applicants for open positions, as well as create a pipeline of interest among passive job seekers. Third, it increases your chances of getting the right candidates to choose you. 

Recruitment marketing is not some kind of magic formula but it is a start to finding the best candidates to fill your open positions. It cannot suddenly change the reputation you’ve built or your location but can control how you promote your university. It allows you to control your narrative and how you interact with potential candidates. In short, it puts your university in the best position to attract top talent from around the world.

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Guide: 8 Key Factors Shaping Academic Recruitment in 2024

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Guide: 8 Key Factors Shaping Academic Recruitment in 2024

Download our free guide to learn how to incorporate storytelling and content marketing into your talent attraction strategy.


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