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Why recruiters must be marketers

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“Recruitment IS marketing. If you’re a recruiter nowadays and you don’t see yourself as a marketer, you’re in the wrong profession.” – Matthew Jeffrey, Global Head of Sourcing and Employer Brand, SAP

Recruitment marketing goes far beyond posting job advertisements.

To think like a marketer, you must treat candidates just like marketers treat consumers. You need to sell to them! Every piece of communication must authentically, clearly and compellingly paint a picture of why working for your company would be an excellent career move.

In a competitive job market like JPAC, top talent are rarely looking for jobs – jobs find them. Despite not actively looking, many would be open to the right opportunity if it presented itself. The role of recruitment marketing is to find these passive candidates and convince them it is the right opportunity!

Market research

The first step of all marketing is market research. To sell a position and company well, it’s important to understand the context, competition and candidates. This is especially essential for organizations entering into Japan, analyzing the labor market to gather details on the talent landscape will be invaluable.

Market mapping will give you insights into passive candidates, allowing you to see beyond just who is ‘on’ the market but also who is ‘in’ the market. Use this to build rich talent pipelines which you can reach out to as needed.

Extend your reach

In a pond like Japan, there is no use sitting back with a fishing rod waiting for a nibble. The only way to catch a big fish is to market directly to candidates. Once market research has given you a good understanding of the best candidates, target them directly.

Email marketing is an excellent way to stay in touch with these potential candidates, nurturing their interest and staying front of mind. This keeps them warm and engaged until the right opportunity comes up.

To continue growing your reach and network, you’ll also need to have a visible and active presence in local industry groups and networking events. Business relationships in Japan have a strong emphasis on trust and loyalty and to build this will require face-to-face interactions.

The power of employer branding

Employer branding refers to the effort a company makes to establish and promote a favorable reputation to position itself as a desirable place to work. Very few Japanese pharmaceutical companies are effectively engaging in employer branding, which creates an opportunity for market entrants to stand out.

Reputation is critical to doing business in Japan. Candidates will not leave their current roles unless they feel they will be offered job security and career advancement. Research from 2021 found that 75% of candidates research a company’s reputation before applying for a job.

Here are some of the strategies to consider in employer branding:

  • Develop a strong Employee Value Proposition
  • Share employee stories and testimonials
  • Clearly communicate career advancement opportunities
  • Explain how the company is doing good in the world
  • Describe wellbeing initiatives, flexible arrangements, or other benefits

Recruitment marketing is an ongoing process of trial and error, requiring refinement and adaptation as you go. The better you understand your target market, the more successful your marketing efforts will be.


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