Should I learn digital marketing in 2019

What recruiting should learn from digital marketing

(c) gettyimages / milindri

Companies should understand recruiting as a form of digital marketing and act accordingly, says Mathias Heese, Managing Director of Softgarden.

Let's not talk about the “skills shortage”. Today I would like to shed a different light on recruiting: Recruiting is a form of digital marketing. The big challenge here is to catch up with the established standards.

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Digital job marketing

Digital job marketing is about thinking through the entire “sales funnel” for the product “job” from the perspective of the customer (= applicant), aligning it with it and making the measures and channels used measurable. First you have to define your target group and then reach enough suitable buyers, that is, generate usable traffic for the product “job” among potentially useful candidates. In digital marketing, the first thing to do is to address those who enter “blue sneakers” in Google and thus signal their willingness to buy: for recruiters, that is, the actively searching candidates.

Missing search engine strategy

Most employers are still actively using the various online job markets, even if they do not measure their efficiency sufficiently in many cases. When actively using search engines, however, almost everyone will drop out. Here, recruiting clearly lags behind e-commerce, in which search engine optimization and marketing have long been standard.

Even large employers today hardly have any significant organic reach when searching for their potential candidates and do not use ads to close the presence gap. That is the first big gap: employers and their jobs must also take place more heavily in Google search, because a large proportion of applicants now use the search engine.

Inadequate handling of reviews

The second gap: the active handling of product reviews is part of every digital marketing strategy today. And for good reason: Today, no online customer buys a product without reading credible reviews - for example on HolidayCheck (booking hotels) or Amazon (buying books and other products). Reviews from employers play an increasingly important role in the choice of the next job. Most employers don't have much to say about this yet. Although experience from digital marketing suggests active feedback management, in which the company generates neutral evaluation requests from its processes and thus activates the silent majority.

Latent job seekers

The third gap is the latent willingness to buy. Almost all employers leave these possible, not yet active candidates to their own devices. Good opportunities have long been available for addressing them digitally. Internet users can be segmented and specifically addressed according to interests or personal characteristics, especially in social networks. Employers who start this targeting can place their job offers in a much more targeted manner and visit them in their familiar digital environment, even if they are not looking for “blue sneakers” or “Job Programming Berlin”. For example, IT target groups can be reached with the help of display advertising on software platforms.

Digitally spoiled applicants

With the fourth gap we leave the topic of generating traffic. This must first be "converted", that is, converted into applications. The entire application process must also be more closely aligned with the transaction standards established in digital marketing. Because as online consumers, applicants know it no differently: online purchases are made in no time at all. This applies to the entire sequence of searching, finding, checking, buying - including via smartphone, of course. The entire process can also be viewed transparently across the various stages. Does that remind you of common application processes? Probably not.

Transparency, speed and simplicity

How can recruiters build trust in the process and get the right candidates to apply immediately? It starts with the job advertisements and the career website: Do you routinely communicate the usual monotony of career communication or make it possible to experience what applicants can expect - at work and in the application process? Are you making it as easy as possible for applicants in the process? Can candidates upload their résumés from one of the online business networks or do they have to laboriously register before they are sent through a time-consuming form marathon to enter their data over and over again? Are you fast enough? According to the Softgarden application report from February 2019, 71 percent of applicants expect an invitation to an interview after two weeks at the latest.


Companies should consistently understand recruiting as a form of digital marketing and use the available tools. Depending on the size of the company, employers will work with external specialists on the various tasks or, where it makes sense, develop appropriate skills for digital marketing in HR. The “shortage of skilled workers”, on the other hand, is likely to persist in those companies that continue their recruiting as before.

To go further: Why HR professionals should discover PR for themselves and why HR and corporate communications are a dream team.