Bridging the Talent Gap through Recruitment Marketing

The “War for Talent” has been around for years and the scarcity of leading talent of the incoming workforce is an impending reality. This has created a much more competitive marketplace for talent and become a “buyer’s market” driven by the candidate. With unemployment rates at an all-time low in the United States (below 4%), candidates are at a significant advantage when it comes to taking the next step in their career.

While executive search consultants and talent acquisition teams remain the gatekeepers between talent and opportunity, human capital and executive search teams will need to rethink their approach to candidates in this changing climate. This shift to a candidate centric market is driven by the retiring baby-boomer generation exiting the workforce, new expectations of employer/employee relationships and a different approach to career paths within younger generations.

Just as marketing teams integrate personalized and hyper-targeted strategies for articulating product value and service benefit to drive sales, companies and executive search firms must adopt similar marketing tactics into their recruitment efforts to attract, engage and recruit top talent.

Recruitment Marketing – Deepening Personalization

recruitmentmarketingExecutive recruiters must consider new channels when reaching out to future talent and explore communicating via platforms and channels where a candidate organically spends the majority of his or her time. Executive recruiters and talent acquisition teams can build “Personas” or lists within their recruitment software surrounding shared interests or past experiences to nurture candidate relationships. Email communication platforms and services such as MailChimp and HubSpot can integrate and match unique attributes from executive search software and use these personas and data in personalized email marketing campaigns. These automation tools can trigger email drip campaigns based off of dates, behaviors and more. This allows for talent acquisition and executive search teams to engage in real-time with candidates as they participate in the recruitment process and search cycle.

Future generations of talent have become accustomed to highly personalized products and services unique to their individual preferences and have learned to expect this from companies. In today’s digital age, there is an overwhelming amount of information available on a candidate’s interests, dislikes, accolades, prior work history, affiliations, passions and much more. Executive search consultants and talent acquisition teams must actively leverage this data in their recruitment marketing strategy to effectively catch candidates’ attention. Much of this data is readily available to executive recruiters in their executive search software CRM and on social media.

Recruitment marketing happens at every touchpoint in the search and recruitment process. Precise attention to detail can establish a genuine and personalized relationship with a candidate from the beginning. Talent acquisition teams and executive search consultants must pay extremely close attention to detail when creatively pitching opportunities to potential talent.

Deeper personalization within recruitment marketing is a key opportunity to go beyond the generic “Dear INSERT_FIRST_NAME” address accompanied by a baseline introductory message on professional social media sites. Demonstrate legitimate interest in a candidate, their skills and experiences, and identify alternative channels for outreach.

Recruitment Marketing - Influence Through Details

As executive search consultants and talent acquisition professionals begin to forge deeper connections with candidates and establish stronger relationships, they must impress upon prospective talent that careful consideration is being paid to their candidacy. This stage of recruitment marketing greatly influences a candidate’s perception of an employer as one that takes an intimate interest in its employees.

However, the amount of calls, emails, appointments, notes, anecdotes, hobbies, interests and more that executive search and talent acquisition teams log and track on a daily basis is overwhelming and requires intensive organization. Staying organized and keeping track of every detail is critical. When a candidate unexpectedly calls an executive recruiter, they must be able to search and find all outreach, tasks, notes, communications and more quickly to avoid risking and damaging relationships. Executive search software platforms use email integrations with Outlook and Gmail to organize and visualize all email communications, tasks, meetings and more associated with a candidate in one central place.

Executive search consultants and talent acquisition teams must have unrestricted access to all of this data instantly within their executive search software both in and out of the office. The ability to quickly recall details and conversations at a moment’s notice can turn potential talent from exploring new possibilities into the early stages of emotional buy-in. This ability to keep all data streamlined, organized and easily accessible allows for executive search and talent acquisition teams to meets candidates’ expectations of a hyper-personalized brand experience.

Recruitment Storytelling & The Imperative Narrative.

The rising workforce and emerging leaders of the next generation are disruptive by nature. This requires further investment in recruitment marketing to develop and leverage the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). For future generations, consumer loyalty preferences have drastically shifted from the traditional definition of habitual consumerism to become more intensely focused on ethics, social responsibility and shared values.

In a recent Deloitte survey, over a third (37%) of Millennials surveyed said that they have stopped or lessened a business relationship due to a company’s ethical behavior. In addition, almost half (49%) said they would, if they had a choice, leave their current job in the next two years. Rising talent is approaching a job search as they would a shopping excursion and view their current employment as temporary and transactional. Candidates are actively seeking out employers that align with their own personal values to outwardly drive positive impact in society. Limited loyalty to a current employer can represent a discord or disconnect between these personal and professional values between employee and company.

Countless studies have found that emerging leaders and future generations of the workforce weigh social impact and sustainability heavily when considering a career change. Candidates have become more selective in their job hunt to seek out and work for organizations that align with their own personal values and morals. This is why storytelling in recruitment marketing is critical.

Executive search consultants and talent acquisition teams not only need to convince a candidate to accept a position for a simple career move but persuade them to invest in being part of a greater movement. Successful storytelling in recruitment marketing marries a candidate’s personal values and aspirations with an employer’s professional ethics and mission. This hybrid can result in retaining top talent for longer, as well as turning top talent into brand ambassadors to attract future talent. Executive search consultants and talent acquisition teams will need to showcase corporate social responsibility initiatives, sustainability practices, community outreach and diversity and inclusion programs as much as possible. Recruitment marketing blogs, videos, social media channels and website landing pages can personify both the EVP and employer brand to passively entice future talent.


4 Ways Recruitment Marketing Can Help Executive Search Firms

Just like executive search consultants and talent acquisition teams leverage recruitment marketing strategies on behalf of clients and hiring teams, search firms can also implement recruitment marketing for succession planning efforts and talent attraction.

Many executive search firms struggle with attracting future talent to the profession and to their own search firms or leadership consulting organizations. Executive search consultants and executive recruiters must consider their own employer reputation within the industry. Recruitment marketing can attract younger talent to the executive search industry through:

  • Developing an EVP that encompasses the positive impacts of executive search and communicating these values to future talent
  • Illustrating the integral role that executive search plays within the economy and in business environments
  • Highlighting a team’s personal passions related to the executive search industry.
  • Personify a search firm through emotional connections to the industry such as shaping the future of corporations, changing candidate’s lives and more

All of this can be accomplished on a much smaller scale for a search firm’s own succession planning efforts. Search firms can set up a recruitment marketing landing page on their website for hosting written or video content and integrate into an existing marketing plan.

This is a guest post by AESC Partner Cluen.


Cluen has been working with executive search firms for nearly 30 years developing executive search software. Our next-generation executive search platform, Encore Max, was redesigned from the ground up for both power-users and new users. Encore Max leverages artificial intelligence, self-learning technologies, email integrations and more that reduce data entry and save time. Encore Max is browser-based and supported on Mac, PC and Mobile devices. Visit for more information or get in contact with us today to request a demo at