Can HR and Marketing Combine to Form a Solid Recruitment Strategy?

30th May 2018

On the surface, marketing and Human Resources (HR) might seem worlds apart in terms of what they offer. However, dig a little bit beneath the surface of these two different departments and you’ll find that they actually share strikingly similar principles!

Understanding Human Resources’ Role in Recruitment

What’s the most important factor people look for when applying for a job? Well, aside from the paycheck, it’s the company’s reputation, morals and ethos. Simply put, you’d rather work for a business you respect and enjoy working for… than one you don’t.

So, if you’re looking to hire great talent, your HR department needs to understand the importance of employer branding. While this strategy could cost more, the chance to secure employees that will greatly benefit your business is an opportunity too good to miss. This is why marketing and HR need to work together, since HR understands the importance of company morale, beliefs, and values, and marketing knows how to inject creativity and innovation into campaigns.

Today, we’re going to be looking at one specific branch of marketing to discover if it’s an effective recruitment strategy, and that branch is direct mail marketing.

Does Direct Mail Work for Recruiting?

You might already be asking the question ‘what does direct mail have to do with recruitment?’

Well, it turns out that direct mail might hold some advantages over other recruitment strategies. One campaign that highlighted direct mail’s recruitment success was Davis Advertising (Philidelphia). He highlighted the importance of using direct mail to recruit employees within a reasonable commuting distance using mailing lists.

Why? Because in his words, “no other medium reaches a higher concentration of our geo-targeted audience.” Even if you’re mailing to a small audience (3,000 to 5,000), if you’re targeting people who have shown an interest in what you’re offering, then it’s likely your response rate will be positive.

So, what makes a good campaign? How do you engage potential employees with something that drops through their letterbox? Let’s see how Air Force FM did it…

The Success of the Air Force FM Campaign

Arguably, the most successful and well-known direct mail campaign was the Air Force FM campaign. The campaign was simple and innovative, because it encouraged its recipients to design a radio to hear the secret transmission once completed.

The campaign worked for many reasons: their target audience was perfect for the campaign (university engineering students), it was innovative, and it came with a major challenge—no instructions! Once they assembled the radio, the recipients received a fast track to an exciting career in engineering. Plus, even those who didn’t end up applying for the course had a great time fiddling and tinkering with the radio, it’s something that engaged and inspired students and creatives alike.

Sure, it’s not as if this campaign immediately found the perfect candidates for their university, but what it did do was send a message and encourage recipients to immerse themselves with their product. And it worked!

Are There Ways Where It Won’t Work?

The short answer is yes. When you’re recruiting, if you’re contacting people who haven’t shown interest in what you’re offering (service, product, company etc) then you’re going to be looking at a diabolical response rate. Let’s put this into direct mailing terms: if you’re sending out recruitment flyers to a cold list, not only will your ROI suffer but you’ll be burning money, fast. The same concept is applicable to almost every recruitment structure: know your target audience.

You need to be sending your recruitment campaigns to people who have either already done business with you, or people who have shown a legitimate interest in what you’re offering. This is where data cleaning is so important. Not only does it save you money on print and postage duplication and those who have move property, but it also highlights and removes the deceased from the mailing list.

How Marketing Can Learn from Human Resources

What marketing (and direct mail) and HR share in common is that both focus on building relationships with your customers.

By working alongside HR, marketing departments will be able to engage effectively with employees on a more personal level, something that marketers rarely explore. HR’s core principles are in their organisation, people’s beliefs, and their values. Combining these can only lead to better customer communication and understanding, and this spells good news for direct mail, which heavily relies on getting personal with customers and maintaining healthy relationships.