what can you expect from employer branding and recruitment marketing in 2018?

January 10, 2018 James Foley

What’s new and next for employer brand and recruitment marketing? What should leaders be looking out for, and how will these trends impact the bottom line?

The New Year is a point of reflection for many — an opportunity to pivot from the status quo and move toward a bigger, brighter future in the coming year. The “2018 is your year” ads have crept into the rotation, supported by photos of success stories of years past. They tout hundreds of pounds lost, making time management easier and so many other resolutions for a “new year, new you,” all in the hopes of selling a product as an easy path to the ultimate promise of a better life.

While we set the course for our own paths to a better year ahead, we’re also participating in these goal-setting activities at work for our professional, departmental and organizational good. It’s an exhausting task that takes weeks and many long nights to complete. It’s not easy to take a look into the past and predict the future, all while managing your daily workload.

Whether your goals are set in fitness or finance, we know one thing when the year ends: change is on the horizon. And employer branding is no exception.

In the past 10 years, employer branding has slowly become a distinct business function, and is now more commonly adopted as a company-wide initiative. Looking ahead, we’re predicting major investments in 2018 for employer branding around the world. Here’s just some of what we expect to see: 

  • increased investment in talent - In the past five years, there has been a noticeable increase in Google searches for the phrase “employer branding.” In fact, there are 40% more searches today than just three years ago. This indicates that interest in employer brand is growing; it’s not just for global companies. With that interest will come more new roles and investment in employer brand projects from companies of all sizes.
  • a new standard - As employer brand adoption grows, expect more questions from leadership. They will want to know what the minimum expectations set for talent attraction should be and how that impacts employer brand strategy. We’ll also likely see more companies stepping up to the plate to share their stories — leveraging brand pillars and employer value propositions in their recruiting efforts. In an employee’s market, it’s now more important than ever to have that distinct voice. This also applies to the use of technology. We’re hitting a tipping point where more people access the internet via mobile than the desktop. Employers that still haven’t optimized their sites for mobile are losing out on that traffic, and will continue to do so in 2018.
  • hyper-targeted marketing and messages - This isn’t a recruiter’s market anymore. There are far more roles available than there are highly-skilled candidates. In the face of that challenge, recruiters will have to deploy more out-of-the-box marketing than ever before to garner the right attention for their roles. Hyper-targeting offers a great opportunity to optimize budgets at pennies per thousand impressions based on GPS and radio signal. But don’t forget, even the best tactics won’t make up for poor messaging, so take your time to craft a message that’s unforgettable (for the right reasons).
  • upgraded job descriptions - The rise of Google for Jobs and its quality algorithm sets a new standard for company job descriptions. Google is restructuring how jobs are found, and this may fundamentally change the infrastructure of job postings and what we include in those posts of the future. For example, just last month Google for Jobs added salary information to job postings — a data point that 85% of job postings are missing and many job seekers would value upfront. With new minimum standards, and a quality algorithm impacting job seeker search, every company must step up to rework their job descriptions.

This is just the start. As the relationship between consumers and marketing evolves into high tech, high touch models, I expect to see a major shift in how recruiters connect with people and a significant change in candidate perceptions. There are so many exciting opportunities on the horizon for our field, and I’m looking forward to discovering what’s new this year and bringing those discoveries to our world-class clients.

But remember, as the C-suite sets new expectations for employer brand in 2018, there’s one golden rule about the talent experience that never changes: treat people well and you can achieve anything.

Want to learn more about the trends that will impact your talent strategies this year? Request a copy of our 2018 Talent Trends Report.

About the Author

James Foley

James is Global SVP, Employer Brand. Leveraging a 20-year career as an expert consultant, business executive and marketing strategist, James supports the employer brand strategy and EVP development of global and local organizations. He enjoys helping companies to develop differentiated EVP, communication and marketing approaches to attract, engage and retain top talent.

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