Employer Brand vs. Recruitment Marketing

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

This is what Rebecca Drew of LinkedIn Talent Solutions told us: recruitment marketing and employer branding have a complex relationship: both deal with talent attraction, communication, and recruitment but they are distinct in how they achieve their goals.

Employer branding helps organisations to differentiate what they offer in the labour market, and recruit, retain and engage the talent they need to succeed.

Well before an applicant becomes aware of the organisation as a potential employer, they gather information about your brand from the news, social media, job boards, internet searches, acquaintances, or other touch points. Good employer branding policies provide a differentiation factor that sets the organisation apart in the minds of candidates in terms of identity and EVP, what you offer to candidates.

Delivering effective messages

In attracting the best talent for your team both are key components of establishing an effective hiring strategy. Once you’ve defined your employer brand then recruitment marketing is the means by which the organisation promulgates that brand externally via careers website, engaging job advertisements, strong recruiting content, good candidate experience, and building effective relationships in a tight labour market.

Recruitment marketing aims to deliver an effective message, at the right time, to the candidates you want most. Attracting the best talent is a challenge and you need a good understanding of both the expectations and aspirations of those you seek to attract and the best routes to use in order to reach those candidates. In effect, the recruitment marketing efforts aim to fix your brand as a preferred option for potential employees evaluating the attractions of available roles and competing employers.

In our current context, HR practitioners need a robust understanding of both marketing and branding principles, as well as communication, in order to exploit the opportunities presented by a range of channels suited to talent attraction initiatives. The design of recruitment marketing will obviously be dictated by the size and nature of the organisation and the type and scope of roles on offer so that such marketing is in line with and supports the corporate brand.

Productive people strategies

Everyone hopes to be an ‘employer of choice’ so employer branding is important. The CIPD suggest that “There is a real opportunity for employers to use some of the techniques associated with branding and marketing, to understand how the organisation is perceived by current employees and the external labour market. However, employer branding is not just about recruitment. It’s an opportunity to gather intelligence to help employers better understand what makes people stay with their organisation, and be prepared to go the extra mile”.

So employer branding is about long-term strategic positioning and this is what Claes Peyron of Employer Branding Academy told us “recruitment marketing is much more short term. It’s about executing on that employer brand but with a full focus on driving an increased number of quality candidates basically. So it’s very linked to classical recruitment but it’s adding the employer branding on top of that if that makes sense”. Claes also pointed out that companies that have a people strategy that beats other companies will have a stronger competitive advantage than perhaps having access to capital or the right products.

Since unsuccessful recruitment is costly, whatever channel is used, the establishment of a strong employer brand allows the organisation to leverage their employee base in exploiting the power of employee referrals and advocacy. That brand, supported by internal marketing, ensures existing staff thrive and aid the attraction of new employees.


Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.


Play Video

Recent Articles

What Employer Brand Leadership Looks Like in Tech

Thanks to media and the headline-grabbing office quirks of industry giants like Google, tech culture’s reputation precedes it. Jobseekers perceive tech companies as fast-paced, innovative places to work, and many assume a “work hard, play hard” attitude is a necessity....

How to Start Building Your Remote Employer Brand

For years, we’ve framed the virtual workplace as “the future of work”—a distant vision, and one many employer brand managers overlooked, despite the fact that more than half of workers worldwide were spending at least half their workweek telecommuting. However,...

Employer Brand Management Amid Global Change, with Simon Barrow

Regardless of the extent to which your business has been disrupted by COVID-19, we’ll all re-emerge from varying degrees of lockdown into a changing world. What does this mean for employer brand and its leaders? We’ve explored tips for safeguarding...