Applying proven marketing techniques to solve HR challenges. Challenge No. 1: Recruiting | HR Dive

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The talent shortage is hitting a lot of organizations hard. And while most companies may know that solving for that shortage requires a holistic approach, some HR leaders are stymied at how to attract, keep and grow their workforce. Besides the traditional and newer approaches of recruiting, onboarding and engagement, companies can also use proven marketing techniques to reach and recruit candidates, build the company brand during onboarding and create touch points to engage employees throughout their life cycle.

In the first of this three-part series, we’ll explore marketing tactics that may enhance a company’s ability to recruit candidates. Future articles will explore using marketing approaches to more effectively onboard and engage employees. Together, these strategies may help create a stronger and more competitive workforce. 

Recruiting conundrum

We don’t need to see news reports to know a staggering labor shortage exists. If we’re not experiencing it in our businesses, we see it in our personal lives. Stores and restaurants have reduced hours. Wait times for everything from customer service to purchase deliveries have been extended by weeks because companies don’t have enough staff to meet customer demand.

Those are the easily quantifiable results of the lack of employees. But it may take longer to see other, more significant effects from the labor and talent shortage, such as decreased innovation and creativity or increased burnout and turnover — which ultimately can result in a loss of customers and revenue.

HR departments and recruiting teams are working hard, using a variety of tactics to attract applicants. They’re reviewing job descriptions to determine what skills and requirements are necessary, hosting job fairs and national hiring days, recruiting at trade schools and community colleges in addition to traditional colleges, offering signing bonuses and higher hourly wages and making it easy to apply online.

According to a September 2021 FedEx Office and HR Dive survey, HR executives reported that most recruiting was done on online job sites. That makes sense, particularly because many companies are not yet back on-site full time and applying digitally means candidates can quickly apply from their phones.

However, getting candidates to apply is the second step. Getting them interested in applying is the first, and this is where marketing strategies can come in.

Marketing to your candidates — even before they’re looking

When marketers advertise, they extend their reach beyond those who are already loyal customers. They cast the net wide, with their target demographics, placing signs on streets near the business for passersby to see and posting flyers in stores.

Marketers also recognize that it takes a multi-pronged approach to get their audience’s attention. More than that, the message should be repeated. The marketing Rule of 7 suggests that an audience needs to hear a message seven times before they act.1 Not every business can afford a billboard or radio spot, but they may be able to work print messages in the budget. Signs in parking lots and on store doors, table tents and bag stuffers can be spun up and changed out quickly and customized to fit a location’s needs.

While people looking for specific jobs may come to job boards, with companies having an immediate need for talent, they must also attract people who aren’t actively looking. These potential candidates won’t be on the job sites. Instead, it is critical to market to them where they are. Just as when brands showcase a product, signage in expected and unexpected locations can stir interest.

Nationwide quick service restaurants are always hiring, pandemic or not. They can place “Now Hiring” signage outside their restaurants and every customer coming in or going through the drive-thru sees it.

When customers walk into a department store, they’re likely to see a now-hiring sign. And who better to market to than the people in your store? They’re already familiar with your brand, and presumably like it, so they are ideally already ambassadors for your brand.

Just as marketers go beyond their current customers to promote opportunities, companies can widen their recruiting message by hanging “Now Hiring” signs on distribution warehouses or other company buildings in high traffic areas, such as expressways.

Physical signage also gives companies an opportunity to stand apart from competitors by highlighting aspects such as immediate interviews, higher hourly rates, hiring bonuses, or tuition benefits. Personalizing the recruiting sign from the first glance can make the difference between a candidate applying at one franchise location and another. The sign can also be used long term for times when businesses need to staff up, such as summers or the holidays.

Once the candidate sees the physical signage, it needs to be easy for them to take the next step of going to the company website. Be sure the signs include a QR code and a URL that takes the candidate seamlessly to the application page of the website.

As companies look to attract more candidates, adding marketing approaches to current recruiting tactics, they can extend their recruiting reach and have better success hiring employees.

FedEx Office is experienced in working with businesses to develop their marketing and recruiting material. Our strength is helping develop tailored solutions that help solve our customers’ business needs. Learn more about FedEx Office solutions today.

1. Kruse, Kathi. “Rule of 7: How Social Media Crushes Old School Marketing.” Kruse Control Inc, 5 Oct. 2021,

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