I have been in sales and marketing all my working life. I even count the year on the delicatessen at Tesco in Broadbridge Heath (other supermarket chains and locations are available) as a sales role, trying to get people to buy that extra bit of cheese, ham or quiche!
Like many I fell into recruitment; for me in 1997, and I always considered job opportunities as the product we were marketing on behalf of our clients to a consumer group known as job seekers. Our job was to market, then sell, each opportunity to relevant audiences with the view to getting the very best to transact and apply. Then obviously match make with the customer.
The extra dimension of course, is the ability to then be selective as to which consumer can have the product, e.g. offer/give them the job.
I naively thought this was a mainstream understanding throughout my recruitment, online recruitment, recruitment trade association and technology vendor days, but realised when I finally turned from poacher into gamekeeper by going client side with G4S in 2009, that I was in a massive minority, in fact, I was pretty much on my own in terms of thinking this way inside a big corporate.
It represented a great opportunity for me because I started using a unique frame of reference internally. I set about building and implementing an equally unique job advertising and candidate experience platform, to market G4S’s jobs as products and give job seekers a range of benefits and valuable experiences on top of being able to transact with jobs.
The alternative frame of reference was, and still is, extremely powerful. Many talk about HR technology not being the favourite topic of HR. I get that and understand that detailed techy speak sometimes bamboozles some, so by being able to compare jobs to products, candidates to consumers and applying to transacting, you speak in a language that everyone understands.
Bit of a generalisation here, but I would hope that pretty much everyone in business knows what a brand is and that it sits predominantly with marketing. HR has developed the employer brand, so it’s obvious that HR needs to work closely with its colleagues in marketing and bring in traditional and digital marketing expertise to optimise and capitalise on the employer brand opportunity!
The EVP could be described as the key features of the product or service and the post-sales support provided. Job descriptions are the product descriptions, etc. etc. etc.
In essence the front end piece of the recruitment process is pure marketing (predominantly digital these days), which flows into the sales process, which I describe as the matchmaking role recruiters play to excite the best people to consider the role then close out the interest between all parties. Once the sale is complete, the whole deal moves into the onboarding and core HR process; you could compare these to the product/service delivery and ongoing account management phases!
So what I’m saying is the world has gone digital (no shock there) and consumers generally are doing things on smaller and more functional devices in their day to day lives. Digital marketeers are taking over the world and dictate what we see and purchase via a myriad of media and technologies.
So let’s turn back to HR technology! Career sites, job advertising sites, CRM’s, applicant tracking systems, onboarding platforms, core HR solutions etc. Over at marketing HQ they have similar technologies, although they might use them in different ways or places in the cycle. Corporate websites, commercial websites, product/service advertising sites, CRM’s etc. In reality how dissimilar are the processes and technologies used in both functions. Not really actually, yet the technologies are sold by very different vendors!
There is some great HR technology out there, but there is also some outstanding marketing technology out there as well. If there was a race between marketing and HR to promote a product/service or a job respectively, I’m afraid I would still back marketing because of their experience, expertise, processes and the technology and platforms at their disposal. Good news though, more and more digital marketers are entering the resourcing space, mainly in the employer brand and digital attraction (including social) space. But in my opinion there are not enough and we need to start expanding our thinking to alternative technologies.
So is HR and Resourcing keeping pace? Only you can answer that but if you need some help understanding where you are in the curve, or maximising the opportunity further, try weaving in the alternative frame of reference internally; jobs are products and candidates are consumers. See how you would compete against a digital marketing approach! Career site, SEO, traffic driving, user experience…………
For example, you would be hard pressed to find a competent marketing orientated business with a sub optimised corporate and commercial website promoting its products and services, and facilitating transactions between consumers and the products or services they provide. You will however, easily find career sites where the job content is completely invisible to major search engines such as Google and Bing, because of the poor connectivity between it and the ATS – Are Your Jobs Invisible to Google!
Feel free to call or email me as I would be happy to drop in and chat. As well as providing specialist digital resourcing and HR technology consultancy, I’m beavering away with a marketing technology partner, finessing our launch marketing campaign and launch event for an exciting ‘new entrant’ HR/experience solution, which some will see as a little disruptive but when the dust settles everyone will recognise it bridges a gap and integrates, rather than competes with the great stuff that is already out there.
All the best.
Colin – +44(0)7887 480142 – firstname.lastname@example.org