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When Online Marketing and HR Collide

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on an executive roundtable of high-level HR professionals from Fortune 500 companies who are based or have offices in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area. The conversation surrounded the online marketing space and how it relates to the function of HR and recruiting.

As the conversation began, we talked about how jobs could be viewed as products or services that we sell to potential candidates. In having this view, we are working towards enticing even more qualified candidates through company brand reinforcement, employee intelligence, employee/corporate interaction with a potential client, and much more. The following chart demonstrates how Marketing as a function serves the same type of benefit and services and when marketing for new highly qualified candidates. I’ll talk about some of these more in depth.

Online Corporate Brand Reputation/Reinforcement

The view of a brand online can play a significant role in how the company is viewed in general. This is very important when a consideration of a product or service is being made. The same could be said for a highly qualified candidate who is in the decision-making process for reaching out to an organization regarding one of their positions that is currently available. How the brand is viewed online through social media conversations and overall recognition can be pivotal in the decision process. This is particularly important when the candidate is highly qualified and has offers from multiple different corporations. Lisa Arnold, our Director of Recruiting, has fascinating insight on what this looks like for recruiters as online marketing becomes more and more important in finding top-tier talent.

What are people saying about you? How does it affect whether or not a candidate wants to work with you? Or if a potential client wants to do business with you?  If you have a bad online reputation and people are speaking negatively about the brand online, you have a serious problem.  A positive reputation online can go a very, very long way and the more people talking about you, the better.  This includes the employees who have something to say from the inside, while others can speak about the company/organization from an outside view.


Employee Intelligence

Smart people want to work with smart people and smart companies, period.

If a highly qualified candidate becomes an employee and is not motivated or learning from peers on the job, they may become bored, disinterested and frustrated that they took the job.  This is precisely why it is important for corporations to demonstrate the intelligence and quality of the company.  It comes as no secret why some high tech companies such as Google and Facebook can employ some of the most intelligent employees on the planet.

These companies, and companies who create an “aura” or “cool factor” around them are utilizing and pushing out content that demonstrates the culture, intelligence, creativity and thought leadership of the corporation.  This creates buy-in from potential candidates and customers who view the corporation in a higher regard.

Employee/Corporate Online Interaction


Engaging online with customers and potential candidates further help to elevate the allure of the company. Engagement and interaction through social media channels, whether they are from in-house recruiters, the company pages themselves, or for service-specific channels where there are faces of the organization, will reinforce messages. Organizations can be and are concerned about empowering employees online using social media to be a voice for the brand.  Empowering employees on social media can be a powerful tool. It can create additional buy-in from the employee and make them feel a part of something much larger. This in turn positively reflects on the content they may be pushing out on social networks. A restricted policy can make employees feel trapped or a part of a stuffy organization. There is no doubt that information will be pushed out through social media, whether that be on work time or on the employee’s personal time. The empowered employees feel a little more morally responsible to push out positive content while restricted employees tend to push out some of the more negatively toned content about the organization.

End Goal

At the end of the day, when you view jobs as products or services, aspects of marketing begin to play an extremely important role in recruiting. Not in just the recruiting aspect, but also in the marketing of the company or organization as a whole including the brand visibility, brand reputation, social media engagements with employees, corporate interaction, employee intelligence, and much more.

The lines are becoming pretty blurred between Marketing and HR. Or is it that the need for marketing in HR is becoming more prevalent? What do you think?