Over the last couple of years, recruitment marketing and employer branding became powerful buzzwords for human resources in hospitality. And when you consider the stats below, it's clear to see why:

  • As many as three-quarters of candidates research a company’s reputation before applying for a job.
  • A strong employer brand can decrease employee turnover by 28% and cut the average cost per hire by half!
  • Organizations using recruitment marketing platforms are two times more likely to provide a positive candidate experience.

In light of these figures, we're explaining the main differences between recruitment marketing and employer branding so that by the end of this blog post, you're better positioned to refine your recruitment strategies. 

There’re lots to cover, so let's jump in!

What's Employer Branding?

Before defining 'employer branding,' we must first explain what an 'employer brand' actually is. 

In short, the term 'employer brand' describes how both prospective and current employees perceive your company. I.e., the better your company's reputation amidst your staff and potential recruits, the stronger your employer brand. 

Following on from that, 'employer branding,' therefore, refers to the process of defining and maintaining your company’s employer brand.

To help illustrate what employer branding is, let's look at a company in the hospitality industry that’s doing it well:


Cue, Earls

They're blazing the trail where employer branding is concerned. Namely, by making their employer brand abundantly clear on their website:

“As a family-owned business, our people are at the heart of everything we do, and we’re driven to make their lives awesome. So when we talk about the Earls Experience, we’re talking about the culture that’s built on the declaration of living large, purposeful lives full of fun

Earls has poured its heart and soul into establishing a fun employer brand while offering employees tons of perks and professional development opportunities. Candidates know from the get-go the value they'll get when they work with Earls, which goes a long way to attracting some of the industry’s best talents. 

So, if you're unsure where to begin where defining your employer brand is concerned, take a leaf out of Earls' book, and branch out from there. 

What's Recruitment Marketing?

In contrast to employer branding, 'recruitment marketing' refers to promoting your company’s employer brand. The overarching aim of any recruitment marketing campaign is to attract, engage, and eventually, recruit, and retain high-quality talent. 

Again, to help explain what we're talking about, let's look at a company who's crushing it in the recruitment marketing department: Marriott. 

Marriott has a fabulous Instagram profile called Marriott Careers, where they publish 'behind the scenes' content about what it's like to work for the hotel giant. They also communicate their appreciation for their employees, which again works wonders for promoting their employer brand.  

What's The Difference Between Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding?

Now that we've clarified what recruitment marketing and employer branding is, let's dig deeper into the core differences between the two:

1. The Practical Implications

Arguably, the most notable difference is that recruitment marketing and employer branding have two entirely different sets of practical implications. 

As employer branding is all about establishing and maintaining your employer brand, HR managers need to focus their energies on things like defining:

  • The personas of your ideal candidates
  • What you want your employer brand to exude
  • Your employee value proposition

Conversely, recruitment marketing is about attracting candidates by promoting the benefits employees enjoy while working for the company. As such, this has an entirely different set of practical implications, most notably, the creation and promotion of high-quality content. 

For instance:

  • Writing transparent and engaging job descriptions and job ads
  • Publishing and marketing your job openings
  • Building and optimizing your career site
  • Defining and executing your social recruiting strategy
  • Creating, launching, and optimizing recruitment-related email campaigns
  • Monitoring and improving the candidate experience
  • Establishing and nurturing relationships with potential candidates 
  • Using hiring KPIs to monitor the success of recruiting campaigns and making improvements where necessary

2. You Need an Employer Brand Before You Can Start Recruitment Marketing 

Another key difference is that you need to define your employer brand before you can start recruitment marketing. Failure to do so risks inconsistency as you attempt to marry your employer brand with your recruitment marketing campaigns later down the line. This is the last thing you want to do because it will create an air of inauthenticity surrounding your employment brand. This is a surefire way of breaking the trust you've painstakingly built with potential candidates.

☝️The key takeaway: You'll save lots of time and aggravation by focusing on your employer brand first. Then once you've laid the groundwork in this department, you can start planning your recruitment marketing campaigns with greater ease and a higher chance of success.

3. The Degrees of Adjustment

Generally speaking, employer branding remains constant because the crux of your employer branding strategy hinges on the company's core values and mission. Usually, these principles form the foundations of your company, making them a long-term promise of your ongoing commitment to come through on whatever employer brand you've established. This creates a sense of consistency, reliability, and authenticity that reassures existing and potential employees that they'll continue to enjoy the benefits that come with working for your company for a long time to come. 

In contrast, recruitment marketing needs to evolve to keep up with the latest HR and cultural trends. This is imperative for giving your enterprise a competitive edge. As time marches on, leaders in the recruitment space will continue to implement innovative HR strategies to attract prospective candidates - and you need to do the same!

For instance, in recent years, more and more recruitment campaigns have expanded to incorporate social media. We've also seen a heavier reliance on video content. These are just a couple of the more noticeable changes across HR in hospitality, but the moral of the story is that you need to keep your finger on the pulse. As HR trends evolve, you need to stay ahead of the curve to attract and engage the highest quality talent. 

So, there you have it, the three top differences between recruitment marketing and employer branding. Whether you’re the HR manager for a restaurant, cruise, or travel agency (or any other branch of the hospitality sector), with a better understanding of these two terms, you’ll be able to strengthen your employer brand and enhance the quality of your recruitment marketing campaigns.





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