Modern Talent Acquisition Leaders: Evolve Beyond Reactionary Recruiting, Invest Beyond ATS

This article was originally published on the SmashFly Blog.

I recently published a report titled, “The Recruitment Marketing Platform: A Hub for Talent Discovery, Attraction & Engagement” in which I broke down what a recruitment marketing platform is, what it can do, and why it’s such an important part of an effective, modern talent acquisition function in today’s thriving job market. The report also includes some findings from Lighthouse’s Modern Measures of Success in Talent Acquisition research – with top talent acquisition priorities for 2016 from 498 employers.

Based on our research, a modern talent acquisition function encompasses six key capabilities: Talent Attraction, Talent Discovery, Talent Engagement, Talent Onboarding and Talent Strategy. While each is important, there were two capabilities ranked more critically important than the rest. In our survey, 74% and 71% rated talent engagement and talent attraction, respectively, as very or critically important – compared to 48% that said the same for candidate search and sourcing (i.e. talent discovery). This points to a continued trend away from the old model of source-hire-repeat and toward a holistic model that relies heavily on ongoing marketing tactics.

Recruitment marketing only continues to mature as an essential element of modern talent acquisition, but many organizations struggle to evolve beyond reactionary recruiting in order to be efficient, effective and competitive. That’s why we set out to address some of the things talent leaders are faced with today. Here are a few questions we focused on in this report:

So what exactly is “Recruitment Marketing?”

Lots of people are talking about recruitment marketing these days, but there’s a serious lack of consistency when it comes to a basic definition. Talent acquisition has often drawn on elements of marketing and sales in the past, often in a haphazard way. Today, recruitment marketing has become a more formalized process and can be defined as:

  • All activities and strategies aimed at building and maintaining employer brand, and extending reach and exposure of career opportunities.
  • All management of messaging and advertising of talent acquisition efforts.

The most effective hiring organizations today leverage advanced marketing practices to create highly effective strategies. As a number of organizations are recently discovering, however, not all recruitment marketing strategies are created equal. Although many have attempted to mimic the strategies employed by high-performing hiring organizations, few have a strong grasp of the principles necessary for effective recruitment marketing. Success requires a deeper understanding of consumer marketing principles, and how best to adapt them for use in talent acquisition.

What is the recruitment marketing platform?

As best practices in recruitment marketing continue to mature, more companies are realizing the importance of having the right software platform in place to support the myriad campaigns and initiatives that encompass an omni-channel marketing engine. Keeping these efforts streamlined and consistent while ensuring outcomes are trackable and measurable requires a dedicated system. From talent pipelining and candidate relationship management to email and event marketing, these systems are built to manage it all – and offer end-to-end analytics that provide much-needed insights for evaluating and optimizing marketing efforts.

That’s exactly what the recruitment marketing platform is designed to do. As such, the recruitment marketing platform and all of its moving parts has emerged as one of the core systems in modern talent acquisition. It’s an emerging category, to be sure, but it’s rapidly gaining traction (especially in enterprise).

Why is it important to measure talent attraction and engagement metrics?

Most recruiting teams aren’t measuring talent attraction and engagement metrics, metrics such as campaign click-through rates and conversion rates. Lacking insights into even the most high-level KPIs, efforts to attract better candidates are shots in the dark. Considering the growing number of organizations investing in these efforts, the lack of measurement across talent attraction is astounding.

Here are a couple of specific examples:

  • 31% of companies surveyed aren’t tracking campaign click-through rates, and 41% aren’t tracking conversion rates.
  • 51% of the companies surveyed still manually gather/report/analyst performance data, and 37% track/report within individual systems, tools, and/or service providers.

Attaining good, trustworthy analytics and insight is a key reason why organizations are consolidating multiple point products and moving to a comprehensive recruitment marketing platform.


Want more on recruitment marketing? Click here to listen to a recent webinar in which Kyle Lagunas and Chris Brablc, Director of Product Marketing at SmashFly Technologies, provide an overview of what recruitment marketing is and isn’t, a walkthrough of the recruitment marketing vendor landscape, a discussion of key trends driving innovation in recruitment marketing, and a framework for moving the needle in talent acquisition and engagement.


Kyle Lagunas
Kyle Lagunas
Research Manager, Emerging Trends & Technologies - Talent Acquisition & Staffing Services

An analyst specializing in talent acquisition, Kyle keeps tabs on key practices in sourcing, recruiting, assessing, hiring and retention strategies and technologies at IDC. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead.
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