Marketing v. Recruiting: Who Owns Social Talent Acquisition? You Be the Judge

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 8.43.59 AMBailiff: The District Court of ERE will now hear the case of Marketing v. Recruiting.

Marketing: May it please the court, we believe that an organization’s Marketing department should own its social media recruiting channels. Marketing professionals have experience in social media from their consumer-facing efforts. They know how to create content, how to engage audiences, and how to track success with analytics. Recruiters have little experience in this type of interaction. They should stick to careers sites and job fair brochures, where they can best use their strengths — evaluating résumés and holding one-on-one conversations with candidates. A company should have one brand and speak to all its audiences with the same voice: the voice of Marketing. Thank you.

Judge: Very well. Recruiting?

Recruiting: With all due respect to my colleague, Marketing has no experience in connecting with job-seekers. Marketing messages don’t speak to the talent that most organizations want to attract. Job-seekers can’t interact with a careers site or a Taleo form; they want to ask questions, make comments, and share their experiences with a hiring manager. In addition, Marketing is known for, shall we say, embellishing the truth when it comes to describing products and services. But we’re talking about a job that someone will have for years or decades. Recruiting communications must be honest and transparent and should be in the hands of those who understand what today’s workers are looking for. This is our position.

Judge: Marketing, do you wish to present evidence?

Marketing: Your honor, I present Exhibit A: the U.S. Coast Guard. Its Twitter and Flickr accounts are for marketing purposes only. But their content includes photos, historical fun facts, and news of the Guard’s latest operations. Its Flickr albums include “Women in Command” and “A Week in the Life of the Coast Guard Academy.” These do a perfect job of enticing candidates. And they’re run by the Marketing department.

Recruiting: Objection, your honor! The Coast Guard does specifically recruit on YouTube and Facebook, with great success — a quarter-million likes on Facebook and almost half a million views on YouTube. And these are run by recruiters; the Coast Guard posts their names and photos.

Judge: Sustained. Does Recruiting have evidence to show the court?

Recruiting: We present Exhibit B: Taco Bell Careers. 145,000 likes on Facebook. 2,077 followers on Twitter. 571 followers on Pinterest. And well over 100,000 views on YouTube. All run by a social media recruiting team. These experts maintain Taco Bell’s casual brand voice while providing entertaining content that job-seekers want to see. They present the job of preparing food honestly. They show employees having fun, attending company events, and advancing their careers. These aren’t marketing messages and have nothing to do with how good their burritos taste.

Marketing: Your honor, Recruiting admits that Taco Bell Careers has only 2,077 followers on Twitter. While its main Twitter account has more than 1.5 million. Why are these “experts” reaching less than half a percent of what their marketing colleagues reach?

Recruiting: It’s called “audience segmentation,” which should be an obvious concept to anyone with a marketing degree.

Marketing: A brand’s customers become its employees, and vice-versa. That means a single voice is more important than personalized messaging.

Recruiting: Job-seekers are looking for information that’s completely different from what a customer needs. Their goal is to actually make the company part of their lives.

Marketing: That’s Marketing’s goal as well! Branding that creates a personal connection.

Recruiting: Who has a connection to a lightbulb? And yet employees love working for GE.

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Marketing: Small businesses don’t have the luxury of hiring a separate social media recruitment team. They may not have a recruiter at all! They do their own recruiting and marketing, and they do them both very well.

Recruiting: Slick salesman.

Marketing: Silly softy.

Judge: Enough, both of you! Counsels, I’m ready to render a verdict.

Recruiting: Yes, your honor.

Marketing: We’re listening.

Judge: After listening to both sides, I think organizations can find the most success in attracting top talent by having this department run its social media channels.

Recruiting: Yes?

Marketing: Which one?

You be the Judge. Which department do YOU think should run an organization’s social media recruiting channels — Marketing or Recruiting? 

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.

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