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Job: Recruitment marketer

The role: Organizations looking to attract candidates in competitive hiring landscapes often need to portray themselves as desirable workplaces. A recruitment marketer – also sometimes called a talent-attraction specialist – establishes and advertises the employer brand using tactics similar to those used to sell products and services.

“A talent marketer or a talent-attraction specialist does not recruit, they only do the marketing strategy inside an organization,” explains Eric Bélair, a senior consultant on talent acquisition for Quebec-based IT services firm Victrix.

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Mr. Bélair, who has more than 15 years of experience in the recruiting industry, says that in recent years, increased competition has lead employers to take more of a marketing approach in their recruiting strategy. While recruitment marketers work closely with internal human-resources professionals, Mr. Bélair says they bring very different skill sets to the table.

“Human-resources professionals rarely have the branding and marketing skills,” he says. “Nowhere in their HR background was marketing or sales skills necessary.”

Similar to traditional marketing roles, recruitment marketers are typically responsible for creating and executing a marketing strategy, which may include conducting focus groups, establishing a brand identity, assisting with content and advertisement production, identifying target markets and strategically placing ads in key media.

“You can take a talent-marketing specialist and put them in a marketing department with products, and they’ll do an excellent job, because it’s the same skills,” Mr. Bélair says.

Though typically employed by large organizations with thousands of employees, Mr. Bélair says that recruitment marketers can also be found in high-growth startups. “You might have a startup with 250 employees that wants to go to 500 in the next couple of years,” he says. “They might need this marketing expert to drive that.”

Salary: According to Mr. Bélair, entry-level recruitment marketer salaries typically range between $45,000 and $50,000 a year. “An intermediate I would place between $65,000 and $75,000 [annually], and if they’re very senior with lots of experience, you’re talking $80,000 [a year] and up,” he says.

Education: Recruitment marketers are typically required to have an educational background in sales and marketing. While they are often not required to have an educational background in human resources, Mr. Bélair says it is certainly of benefit.

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“Most of these large organizations that have this role will require a bachelor’s degree,” he says. “That would be almost a standard entry-level requirement, and ideally a marketing background with a minor in HR."

Job prospects: The demand for recruitment marketers is increasing in Canada as a result of increased competition for talent, Mr. Bélair says.

“The need for this type of role is growing,” he says. “With it being a candidate market right now, the employers need to market themselves and sell themselves.”

Challenges: Those with prior marketing experience are typically challenged by the relative lack of resources provided to recruitment marketers. “If you look at the money that the organization will spend on product marketing versus employee marketing, it’s laughable,” Mr. Bélair says. “It’s a drop in the ocean of the marketing budget.”

Furthermore, acquiring employees is often more difficult than acquiring customers. “At the end of the campaign, the product or the people that you find can change their mind or say 'I got a better offer elsewhere,’” Mr. Bélair says.

Why they do it: Although the role presents more challenges than traditional marketing roles, Mr. Bélair says it can also be more rewarding.

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“The impact that you can have is more than an increase in the revenue or profit scale, it’s the direct transformation of the company,” he says. “That’s why the role is so interesting: because you work with humans, and it’s much more rewarding than working with a product.”

Misconceptions: Prior to the establishment of a standalone role, the responsibilities of recruitment marketers often fell to human-resources professionals, and Mr. Bélair says many employers still don’t see the distinction.

“Organizations have confused it, and some are still confusing it, with a talent acquisition specialist that does recruiting,” he says. “A real recruitment marketing specialist does not recruit; they devise strategies for recruiters, and they work on employer branding, but they don’t do interviews.”

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