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Recruit like a marketer - 4 advertising principles to market your job postings

November 23, 2021
iCIMS Staff
8 min read
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Everyone wins when the right talent is matched to the right job. Companies can benefit from improved productivity and performance and employees experience greater satisfaction within their jobs.  

Unfortunately, the right candidate isn’t likely to fall into your lap. Recruiters may need to use recruitment marketing tactics to play matchmaker.  

I worked in the advertising industry for over five years. In that time, I learned that you can never guarantee results, but you can stack the cards. In this article, I’m going to pass some foundational knowledge on to you to help you (a recruiter) think like a marketer.  

Here are four advertising principles to help you effectively market your job postings.  

1. Target your most likely candidate  

In some advertising cases, casting a wide net can be beneficial. For example, Coca-Cola may run a national campaign to increase general brand awareness.  

However, if you’re trying to influence the behavior of a particular audience (or type of candidate) it can be a good idea to send your message only to the people you think are most likely to convert. This can help increase your odds of generating a positive return on your investment. 

What does this look like for recruiters?  

First, identify the characteristics of your ideal candidate. Does your candidate need to be certified or have a certain level of experience? Try to be as specific as possible. While a candidate’s skills and requirements may be common-sense to you, writing down these details can help you communicate your targeting strategy to executive leaders or a marketing department.  

Next, identify where your ideal candidate spends their time. In the iCIMS Class of 2021 report, we found that 18-24 year olds spend more time job hunting on LinkedIn and Google than in previous years. Insights like these can help you refine your targeting strategy and allocate budget to channels with the greatest potential impact. 

2. Craft an appealing job posting 

Appeal is the component of your ad that will catch a job seeker’s eye and make them want to act. A fitting example of a recruiting ad with appeal is Google’s mystery billboard. 

In 2004, Google launched a billboard with a cryptic puzzle. No name. No logo. Just a large ad with a complex math problem. While this wouldn’t appeal to me (a former theater nerd with a degree in marketing) it greatly appealed to engineers and similar brainiacs. Those who cracked the code were taken to a website with another riddle that, once solved, asked visitors for their resume.  

The appeal of this ad wasn’t executed through the design. Google’s black-and-white ad caught people’s attention because of the compelling content. It created a sense of mystery and made people want to know more. This lesson can apply to your job postings as well. While they shouldn’t be mysterious, your job postings should catch the eye of potential candidates and entice them to read further.  

For a best-in-class example of an appealing career site and job postings, look to the American Heart Association. On the main page, employee testimonials tell inspiring stories of purpose and inclusion. Then, their job postings provide a glimpse into the company culture and provide clear job requirements. All of this is written with a personable tone that helps readers feel welcomed and encouraged.

  Health Strategies Specialist Job Posting on American Heart Association Career Site

3. Stay top-of-mind with repetition 

As far back as 1885, the principle of repetition in advertising has been a topic of discussion. A London businessman, Thomas Smith, wrote a guide called Successful Advertising. In it, he suggests that prospects need to see an ad twenty times before buying!  

Today, it’s estimated that consumers need to see an ad seven times before making a purchase. Even then, this number may change based on the advertising channel. As a rule, you can aim for a frequency between 2 and 7 and adjust based on performance.  

To get your job postings in front of candidates as often as possible, look for an applicant tracking system that automatically posts to third party job sites. 

For example, iCIMS Applicant Tracking software provides XML feeds that are shared with job board aggregators who may then broadcast the jobs on their own sites. The more aggregators that pick up your job posting, the more likely it is that a candidate will see it several times throughout their search.  

4. Enhance the experience through exposure  

Exposure is the way your job postings are delivered to job seekers. This can affect their experience with your brand and, ultimately, their decision on whether to apply.  

One component of exposure is visibility. How easy is it for people to find your job postings? Consider promoting your jobs through paid advertising on social media or third-party job sites to keep your postings front-and-center for job seekers.  

Another component of exposure is relevance. Does the content match the interests or needs of your audience? In recruitment marketing, this equates to matching job seekers to roles that fit their qualifications. This can be done by using an AI-powered recruiting chatbot on your career site or in a text messaging program.  

Recruiting chatbots gather information from job seekers and use the data to recommend the most relevant jobs based on skill.  

Studies have shown that women only apply to jobs when they feel they meet 100% of criteria while men apply when they feel they meet 60% of criteria. Surfacing jobs automatically through AI may inspire a greater sense of confidence in people from historically excluded groups and lead them to apply at an improved rate.  

Plus, recruiting chatbots can answer FAQs and even schedule interviews, which can improve the overall candidate experience.  


Nothing in advertising is a guarantee, but you can work the odds in your favor by incorporating lessons from all four advertising principles into your next recruitment marketing campaign. To dive deeper into the subject of recruitment marketing, download The Definitive Guide to Recruitment Marketing ROI 

Download the ebook: 5 steps to attract talent and influence your ROI


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