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You’ve likely heard of the term “recruitment marketing”—the strategies and tactics an organization uses to find, attract, engage and nurture talent before they apply for a job. But what if we break that down and look at marketing and recruiting separately? As you think about it more and more, you’ll realize just how similar the two fields are.

The similarities between recruiting and marketing are so interesting to us here at Stack Overflow, we even hosted a webinar on it, called “Think Like a Marketer, Act Like a Recruiter.”

Here are a few ways that marketing and recruiting are similar, and how you can use these similarities and concepts in your developer hiring strategy moving forward.

They’re both an ongoing process

The process of marketing and recruiting both begin and end by following a set of activities. And while the activities will differ depending on things like your goals and budget, the steps remain the same.

Both recruiting strategies and marketing campaigns follow some form of the process below:

  1. Understand your target audience and market
  2. Build out your messaging and content
  3. Promote your content through various channels
  4. Measure & optimize your performance

recruiting and marketing process.png

The differences between the two are the target audiences, the types of content and messaging, and the channels you’re using. Here’s an example for a recruiting campaign: your target audience may be Full-Stack Developers, your messaging and content would be the job listing for an open Full-Stack role, and your channels may be job boards and social media. The final step (to measure and optimize) could include looking at things like your applicant-to-interview rate, your cost per hire, or the number of views to your job website.

They both don’t work by using traditional, outdated tactics

Both marketing and recruiting have greatly evolved over the years. The tactics that once brought customers to your shop or candidates to your job ad rarely work anymore. In the age of technology and the world of digital media, it’s important to adjust your strategy to fit what’s working.

Old-school, traditional marketing consisted of brands going out and looking for customers. These marketing activities included newspaper ads, billboards, direct mail, and radio commercials. Modern marketing is all about customers finding brands through adding value. Some of these activities are social media, blog posts, webinars, and eBooks.

Old-school, traditional recruiting consisted of using headhunters, running classified ads in newspapers, and even using skywriter planes to advertise an open job. It was all about mass-posting your open jobs and hoping for the best. Modern recruiting is personal – no more cold calls or impersonal emails. Instead, recruiters are looking for candidates where they actually hang out, using the right tools, and talking to candidates in a personal way.  

They both rely heavily on understanding your audience

In marketing, brands create buyer personas, which are semi- fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data and educated speculation around buyer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. These buyer personas are the backbone of any marketing initiative or campaign.

Similarly, recruiters can create candidate personas, which are hiring profiles of your ideal candidate based on real data and educated speculation around candidate skill sets, qualifications, motivations, and goals. This is crucial when recruiting developers since you’ll then know what to look for in terms of skills, experience, and motivations.

tech persona template


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