From the proliferation of online job search platforms today, it is clear that recruitment is a flourishing industry right now. There is a wider talent pool available to companies today than there has been ever before, which is a bar as well as a boon. This is because the availability of a large number of candidates also means the presence of more poorly suited candidates for the role in the hiring sieve.
To combat this and similar challenges of modern hiring processes, many companies resort to non-traditional means of recruiting, often combining different methods like referral recruiting and social media marketing. And, from independent recruiters to commission-based headhunters, the recruitment industry is producing a myriad of novel and exciting jobs of its own.
In this article, we will try to shed light on all important aspects of recruitment marketing and discuss points like recruitment marketing fundamentals, how to become a recruiter, recruiting KPIs, and so on.
Recruitment marketing is a modern approach to talent acquisition based on using marketing principles and techniques to attract potential candidates for job openings. In recruitment marketing efforts, the candidates are treated as customers and so it is more focused on candidate experience than other methods of staffing. Other methods are generally more focused on the employer’s needs, emphasizing job descriptions and qualifications without much emphasis on the candidate’s journey.
While traditional methods mostly rely on job postings and reactive sourcing methods, targeting active job seekers, recruitment marketing leverages marketing strategies such as branding, content marketing, social media, and targeted advertising. Building a strong employer brand to attract prospective candidates is an important part of recruitment marketing.
Recruitment marketers utilize functions that may rely on data and analytics to track the effectiveness of recruitment campaigns, identify hurdles in the recruitment process, and make data-driven adjustments whereas, data is hardly ever used so extensively in traditional recruitment efforts.
Recruitment marketing utilizes a variety of channels like company websites, social media platforms, email marketing, and recruitment software, to reach candidates. Traditional methods on the other hand rely mostly on job boards and recruitment agencies.
Moreover, recruitment marketing engages with passive candidates who are not actively looking for a job but might be a good fit for the role whereas, traditional means primarily focus on candidates actively looking for a job.
In recruitment marketing, different functions of marketing and human resources are put together to find and hire top talent. The most fundamental of these elements are employed branding, talent sourcing, and candidate experience. Other elements, which may vary from campaign to campaign include paid advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, career website optimization, email marketing, and other usual marketing practices.
This function has more to do with the advertising part of it than the HR part. Marketers help build the company brand by maintaining a consistent brand image across different communication channels including the company website, job listings, social media, etc. They try to capitalize on the company’s culture and values, showcasing what makes the company unique and why it is an appealing place to work with. They also show the EVP (Employer Value Proposition) including the benefits, career growth, work-life balance, etc., in a most positive and lucrative light.
As opposed to employer branding, this function has more to do with the HR part of recruitment marketing. Marketers utilize different channels to find candidates, including job boards, professional networks, employee referrals, and social media platforms. They also consistently engage and network with passive candidates to build and maintain a pool of potential candidates for future roles.
Recruitment marketing involves a lot of data-driven processes. Recruitment data is thoroughly analyzed to identify which sourcing channels and strategies are most effective for each company and marketers adjust their approach accordingly. The use of advanced tools like boolean search operators and applicant tracking systems (ATS) for sourcing is also very common in recruitment marketing. Marketers also consciously employ diverse sourcing strategies to get a broad and inclusive talent pool. They have partnerships with diverse organizations, use a variety of outreach methods, and make sure that job postings are worded in inclusive language.
The emphasis on candidate experience is one of the most distinctive features of recruitment marketing. Recruiters make sure that the application process is as user-friendly as possible to minimize drop-off rates. This includes streamlining the process, making it straightforward and mobile-responsive.
To enhance the candidate experience, candidates are kept informed at every stage of the recruitment process and are provided timely updates on their application status, interview schedules, and subsequent steps. Further, recruitment marketing professionals will often tailor their communication and interactions with candidates to make them feel valued. They also try to extend the positive experience into the onboarding process once a candidate has been hired so that they feel welcome and well-prepared for their new role.
Companies have varying hiring needs, to fulfill which they may need different types of recruiters. Recruiters are usually distinguished on the basis of their specialization and employment mode (contractual or in-house). Talent acquisition roles typically fall under one of these two categories:
Also known as in-house recruiters, corporate recruiters are full-time, salaried employees of a company working in the HR department. The main advantage they have over other types of recruiters is that they have a better understanding of the work culture of a company, its processes, goals, and values which can help them find candidates who are a better cultural fit and align with the company’s long-term goals.
They are also more cost-effective than other recruiters who are generally paid for every hire that comes through them. They often end up performing other HR functions besides hiring and may have a greater and more diversified workload.
Generally, in-house recruiters have limited expertise and are not the preferred option for hiring specialized professionals. They also tend to have more limited access to external networks due to which they may have a narrower talent pool that they can tap into.
External recruiters do not work in the HR department for any one particular company but rather work for multiple clients. A company hires an external recruiter when hiring needs arise and generally pays them on a project basis. An external recruiter may be working for a staffing agency or an executive search firm, or they may be working as independent headhunters. The clientele of external recruiters is dominated by companies that have inconsistent or seasonal hiring needs or are suddenly faced with urgent hiring needs.
Often, even companies that have internal HR teams of their own employ external recruiters because of the following reasons:
Staffing agencies are firms that provide staffing and recruitment services across a wide range of job positions and industries. They work with a wide variety of clients, including companies of all sizes, government organizations, and nonprofit entities. Many recruitment agencies have a broad geographic reach, allowing them to serve clients in multiple locations, including regional, national, and international placements.
Staffing agencies often maintain a pool of pre-screened, qualified candidates who are readily available for immediate placement when a client company has an urgent staffing need. Some agencies offer additional administrative services, such as payroll processing, benefits administration, and compliance assistance, to help clients manage their workforce more effectively.
Freelance recruiters are independent professionals who provide staffing services to organizations on a contract or project basis. As they are not tied to a single client or organization, they often work for multiple clients on a project-by-project basis simultaneously and enjoy a lot of occupational freedom. They often work remotely, conducting candidate sourcing, assessments, and interviews online.
They may have fewer resources at their disposal compared to larger staffing agencies or in-house recruitment teams and may not be able to utilize advanced tools and technologies as much. Another potential drawback of employing freelance recruiters is that they might prioritize short-term goals, such as filling immediate vacancies, rather than long-term retention strategies.
These are staffing agencies that specialize in recruiting top-level positions such as vice president, president, CEO, CFO, etc. Most companies avail of the services of these firms when they are looking for high-profile roles discreetly. They have expansive networks that they use to find professionals that may not be easy to get hold of.
Using their deep industry knowledge and networks, they can help companies reach out to executives who are not even looking for a new job, thus enabling companies to access the cream of the talent pool.
These firms typically charge a retainer fee which is a non-refundable deposit made before the work begins. This retainer fee is a percent of the estimated total salary of the hire. Once they make a successful hire, they are paid about 25-30 percent of the total yearly cash compensation of the new hire. This fee is contingent on the successful recruitment of a candidate meaning that they only get paid when the position is filled.
They specialize in a particular area be it a job role like engineering, an industry like health care, a geographic location, or a source of recruitment like college placements. They are often industry veterans with deep industry knowledge and widespread networks. Examples include military, healthcare, legal, and campus recruiters. Like most external recruiters, they work on a contractual basis for a client company and may charge anywhere from 15 to 35 percent of the CTC of the employee they help hire.
They are especially useful when a company is looking to fill a critical position with very particular skills and experience requirements. Specialized recruiters often have established networks and relationships within their niche, making it easier to identify and connect with qualified candidates who may not be accessible through general recruitment methods.
The most obvious plus point of the field is its universality as hiring is an operation that is common to all companies in all kinds of industries. This allows independent recruiters to work in practically any industry of their choice. Recruiters are free to try different sectors to find which sector matches their interests the most.
What’s more, there is no specific degree or certification that you need to have to be able to start a career in recruitment. The notion that you need a background in HR for this industry is just a popular misconception. That’s why you find recruiters from all kinds of academic backgrounds.
And of course, the position of recruiter is not the only position the field offers. Recruitment marketing offers a wide range of roles, including employer brand managers, content creators, data analysts, and more.
The field also offers a great deal of job security. This is due to the fact that talent acquisition is a fundamental function of businesses that they just cannot do without. As a result, people working in this field have secure jobs even during economic downturns.
Advances in technology have also given rise to new tools and platforms specifically designed for recruitment marketing. These technologies include applicant tracking systems (ATS), candidate relationship management (CRM) software, AI-powered recruitment tools, and data analytics platforms. The adoption of these technologies has contributed to the growth of the market due to which there are plenty of exciting opportunities in the field today.
If you have a degree in human resources or even less directly related fields like business administration or behavioral psychology, it can be very helpful for starting a career as a freelance recruiter. That said, there are no specific educational prerequisites for the role as such. In most cases, having an undergrad degree in any field from STEM to humanities is more than enough to make you eligible for a starting-level recruitment role.
It really helps to have an amiable and friendly personality and if you find yourself to be particularly extroverted, the role of a recruiter might be your perfect fit. In addition to people skills or interpersonal skills, you also need to have a certain level of sales skills to ‘’sell’’ a job opportunity to someone. You need to be able to highlight the positive aspects of the opening and attract candidates without coming across as salesy. At times, you might also be required to write job descriptions, which you can do very easily using the iconic AI tool chat gpt.
Diligent people who tend to pay great attention to detail generally make very good recruiters as the job involves conducting thorough candidate assessments, including interviews, reference checks, and background screenings, to ensure quality hires.
The various online freelancing platforms have made freelancing a really popular mode of work these days. Every other mainstream job is available on a freelance basis today. And different kinds of HR roles like recruiter, headhunter, and talent acquisition specialist are no exception.
Freelance recruiters usually work on a contract or project basis to help organizations find suitable candidates for job vacancies. They operate independently and often work with multiple clients on a project-by-project basis.
Unlike regular recruiters, they are not a part of the HR team of any particular company but rather work as a service provider for different organizations. They are often hired to fill specific job openings or work on short-term recruitment projects. They are typically compensated on a fee-for-service basis, receiving a fee or commission for each successfully placed candidate. Independent recruiters usually do not have access to the company’s internal resources and systems and have to rely solely on their own tools and networks.
Like regular recruiters, they may be required to participate in screening and interviewing processes. Recruiters evaluate candidates by conducting initial assessments to determine their qualifications, skills, and suitability for specific positions. They also provide regular updates and reports to their client companies on the progress of candidate searches and the status of job openings.
And just like full-time headhunters, independent recruiters may also be required to actively search for potential job candidates through various means, including job boards, social media, professional networks, and referrals.
Freelance recruiters can be particularly beneficial to companies that have occasional or fluctuating staffing needs or cannot afford a full-time, in-house recruitment team.
The biggest challenge in finding work as a freelance recruiter is to compete with established agencies and other bigger players to get clients. And the second biggest challenge as a freelancer is to get leads from your limited pool of candidates.
Freelancers typically have limited financial resources, which constraints their ability to reach a wide audience and market their services to potential client companies effectively. The lack of budget for extensive advertising and advanced recruitment tools used in candidate sourcing also makes getting candidates very hard. Large job portals and candidate databases often require substantial subscriptions or fees to access, which many independent recruiters cannot afford.
The Synkdup Headhunter Program solves this problem by integrating the model of independent recruiting with agency recruiting to give freelancers the best of both worlds. Freelancers enrolled in the program are provided both the job openings and profiles of potential candidates for those jobs from Synkdup and don’t need to carry out any outreach functions on their own. Essentially, a Synkdup headhunter works with the autonomy of a freelancer and the resources of an agency recruiter. What’s more, Synkdup headhunters are paid per successful application rather than successful hire.
Synkdup has optimized the onboarding process for recruiters to make it super convenient for anyone to become a freelance recruiter and start working right away.
Synkdup headhunters get hot leads of job seekers for the job openings available on their dashboards that are curated by AI for each specific job opening. In other words, they get AI-matched leads for the job openings they are supposed to get candidates for, which understandably makes their job a lot easier.
Just like any other business operation, recruitment has KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of its own. Some of the most highly regarded indicators include the following:
This is the number of days it takes to fill a job vacancy from the time it's opened. A shorter TTF is often taken as an indicator of efficient recruiting processes. However, recruiters need to take care that the quality of the hire is never compromised to get a lower TTF, especially in cases of urgent requirements.
TTH represents the time it takes to fill a job vacancy from the moment the position becomes open to the moment a candidate is successfully hired. Besides the efficiency of the recruitment process, it also depends majorly on the complexity of the position, the location, and the industry.
CPH is the total cost incurred to fill a position. This may include expenses like advertising costs, agency fees, internal HR staff costs, candidate relocation and travel costs, background checks, onboarding and training costs, and technology and software costs. The Cost-per-hire metric is valuable for HR and recruiting teams as it helps in budgeting, cost control, and assessing the return on investment (ROI) of their recruitment efforts.
This KPI helps a company assess the return on investment (ROI) of the recruitment process by comparing the total cost of hiring to the benefit that the hired employees bring to the organization. The recruitment cost ratio is typically calculated using the following formula:
The total value generated represents the positive impact that the hired employees bring to the organization. It can include things like increased revenue, productivity improvements, cost savings, team building, and other contributions that can be attributed to the new hires. And obviously, the value generated should ideally outweigh the recruitment costs.
Employee retention rate is a metric used to measure the percentage of employees who remain with an organization over a specific period, typically a year. Different industries and job markets may have varying benchmark retention rates, so it's important to consider industry standards when evaluating the retention rate of your hires. It can be found out using a very simple formula:
A low retention rate isn’t just an indicator of inefficient recruitment, it could point towards bigger concerns like issues with employee satisfaction, engagement, or other factors that drive employees out of the organization.
The offer acceptance rate tells you what percentage of the jobs offered by a company are actually accepted by candidates. A low offer acceptance rate may suggest that candidates are declining offers for various reasons, such as salary, benefits, job fit, or other factors. Organizations may need to investigate and address these issues to improve their acceptance rates. And conversely, a high acceptance rate may indicate that the job offers are competitive and appealing.
It is generally a good practice to benchmark the offer acceptance rate against industry averages and competitors as it can provide valuable insights into the organization’s recruitment performance and help set realistic targets.
This is a more subjective metric than most other recruitment KPIs and it includes various factors that go beyond traditional recruitment metrics like time-to-fill or cost-per-hire. It measures the extent to which the hiring has been successful in terms of how well suited for the role the new employee turns out to be and how well they are doing on the job.
Though the employee’s performance on the job is the key factor that is taken into consideration for this KPI, it is not the only factor that determines the quality of hire. An organization also needs to determine how well the employee integrates into the company’s culture, aligns with its values, and works effectively with colleagues and teams.
And equally important is the employee's ability to adapt to changing circumstances and their potential for growth and development within the organization. Retention is also a major factor and whether the employee stays with the organization over time or not greatly determines the quality of hire.
Though not strictly a KPI, the source of hire is an important metric that tracks and analyses the different channels or means through which the hired candidate was initially discovered. It helps recruiters understand where their successful hires are coming from which in turn helps them make better decisions on where to allocate resources for their future recruitment efforts.
Common sources of hire include job boards like Indeed and Synkdup, employee referrals, recruitment agencies, social media, internships and co-op programs, industry events, direct sourcing, career fairs, and referral programs like the Synkdup headhunter program.
Though many recruiters skip this metric, most top-level recruiters recognize it as an important KPI to determine the quality of the recruiting process. As the term suggests, candidate experience measures the overall experience a job applicant has throughout the recruitment process. It focuses on the impressions and interactions that a candidate has at each stage of the hiring process, from initial contact to final decision. Some things that are considered while assessing candidate experience include:
Candidate experience is generally measured through methods like surveys, feedback forms, and interviews. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is quite a popular tool to gauge candidate satisfaction and loyalty.
Recruitment marketers use various tools and software to streamline different aspects of recruitment marketing, from job postings and applicant tracking to candidate engagement and analytics. Here are some popular recruitment marketing tools and software:
The most popular marketing tool used in recruitment is, of course, job search websites of different kinds. Job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn Jobs, and Synkdup allow employers to post job openings, and candidates can easily search and apply for jobs. These websites offer different filters allowing you to search on the basis of role, location, industry, experience level, and more.
ATS such as Greenhouse, Lever, Workable, and iCIMS streamline the recruitment process by managing job postings, candidate applications, resume parsing, interview scheduling, and communication with candidates.
CRM tools like SmashFly, Yello, and Beamery allow recruiters to manage and nurture candidate relationships, engage with passive candidates, and maintain a talent pool for future openings.
Platforms like SmartRecruiters, Joveo, and Appcast help optimize job ad placements, target relevant candidates, and manage advertising budgets effectively to maximize the reach and impact of job postings.
Tools like Zao, RolePoint, and Teamable facilitate employee referrals, allowing employees to refer potential candidates, track referrals, and incentivize successful hires.
Popular marketing automation tools like HubSpot, Marketo, and Mailchimp assist in automating email campaigns, lead nurturing, and personalized communication with candidates at different stages of the recruitment process.
Video interviewing tools like Spark Hire, HireVue, and VidCruiter facilitate remote interviewing, recording candidate responses, and collaborative evaluation, making the interview process more efficient and flexible.
Other than these, recruitment marketing professionals may also utilise employee advocacy platforms, survey and feedback tools, chatbots, and SEO and analytics tools.
There are many things you can do to attract top talent and streamline your recruitment process. These may vary significantly from campaign to campaign however, here are some general best practices you should follow as a recruiter:
You need to identify and define your ideal candidate personas based on job roles, skills, demographics, and preferences. Once you do that, you need to tailor your marketing messages and the choice of marketing channels to align with these personas.
Make sure the job descriptions are clear and attractive and focus on responsibilities, qualifications, and benefits. Also, be sure to use relevant keywords to enhance searchability and include a call-to-action to encourage applications.
To make an impression of authenticity, showcase genuine employee testimonials, success stories, and videos that highlight the positive aspects of the organization, work culture, and career growth opportunities.
Considering how powerful social media is today, you should try to consistently share relevant content on social media platforms to reach a wider audience.
Often, it makes sense to focus on a specific industry or job type. It helps you to understand the market better, build a strong network, and offer specialized help to both clients and candidates.
Most trends shaping the recruitment marketing landscape right now revolve around the enhancement of candidate experience. There is a lot of focus on creating a seamless and personalized candidate experience throughout the process. This mainly includes making the application process more convenient and hassle-free and providing timely guidance and feedback.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are increasingly being used to streamline and automate various aspects of recruitment marketing, such as candidate sourcing, resume screening, and scheduling interviews. Chatbots seem to be slowly becoming an integral part of candidate interaction.
As societies become more aware and liberalized, diversity, equity, and inclusion are becoming critical considerations in recruitment marketing. Recruitment marketing professionals today find themselves constantly working to develop strategies that ensure a diverse candidate pool and promote inclusivity in hiring practices.
Due to the rise of remote work, many campaigns highlight flexible work arrangements, remote onboarding processes, and a company's commitment to a hybrid or fully remote work model.
Data-driven decision is another important very significant trend in today’s recruitment marketing. Recruiters are increasingly relying on data analytics to measure the effectiveness of recruitment marketing campaigns, track candidate behavior, optimize strategies, and allocate resources more efficiently. Recruitment marketers are also leveraging data analytics to personalize content and tailor messages to specific candidate segments. Personalization enhances engagement and creates a more individualized experience for candidates.
And lastly, social media has permeated well into recruitment marketing just like many other domains of industry. Social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, are becoming central to recruitment marketing strategies. Employers are using social media for employer branding, targeted job advertising, promoting company culture, and engaging with potential candidates.
Q1: How to find a recruiter for job search?
Ans: One of the best ways to find a recruiter is to utilize LinkedIn. You just need to update your LinkedIn profile, make it public, and search for recruiters in your desired industry or location. Another great way is to simply run a Google search on keywords like ‘’recruiters in [your industry] or ‘’job placement agencies’’ in [your industry]. Explore the search results and you are sure to find something useful.
Q2: Do I have to pay a job recruiter?
Ans: No, typically candidates do not have to pay recruiters for their services as they are compensated by the hiring companies seeking to fill positions.
Q3: How do freelance recruiters get paid
Ans: Freelance recruiters often work on a commission basis, receiving a percentage of the candidate's first-year salary once the candidate is successfully placed and hired by the client company. However, while most freelancers get paid upon every successful hire, Synkdup headhunters are paid for every candidate who applies to a job through them.
Q4: How much do freelance recruiters make?
Ans: Commissions for freelance recruiters typically range from 15% to 30% of a candidate's first-year salaryRecruiters who hire for specific roles or within a specific industry typically charge more than general recruiters. Freelance recruiters at Synkdup make up to $25 per every applicant that comes through them.
Q5: How to get clients as a freelance recruiter?
Ans: Content marketing on social media, networking events and conferences, referrals, partnerships with consultants etc, email marketing and cold outreach are some popular methods used by freelance recruiters to get clients. Syndup headhunters don’t have to do any of that though. They just need to find candidates for the job openings in different companies provided to them on their dashboard.
Q6: How do I start as a freelance recruiter?
Ans: Undoubtedly the best way to dip your feet into the field of recruitment is to join the synkdup headhunter program. This is because there are no startup costs involved and you get to work on a commission basis according to your own time schedule. You work when you want and how much you want without any obligations. It is the safest way to try out freelance recruiting out there as you stand to lose nothing even if it doesn’t work out for you.