Most companies are struggling to fill open positions. Finding good professionals and talents is no longer easy. In addition, HR work has experienced a digital transformation in recent years. For these reasons, companies are investing more in their employer branding and recruiting – and in digital tools and skills. But to be truly successful in the war for talent, HR professionals also need an understanding of online marketing.


Candidates expect much more from companies than just job advertisements on their own career sites or external job portals. They are less and less responsive to standard recruitment methods. Today, job seekers demand real insights into the company. This involves authentic stories about projects and co-operations, information about the company’s stance on socially relevant issues, about the vision, about employee promotion, further development and benefits. But it is also about the company’s expertise and know-how. Market positioning and market development are also interesting for candidates. In addition, passive or undecided candidates should also be activated. They must perceive a company as attractive enough to even consider a job change and spend time to enter the application process.

To ultimately sell a product or service, customers should have positively experienced the brand on various – mostly digital – touch points along the customer journey. That is how marketing approaches to gain leads. This is precisely the perspective that HR professionals should also take: Experience shows that between 5-10 touch points with the company are necessary for an application. Thereby, a positive emotional candidate experience along the candidate journey plays the same decisive role in order to convince a candidate to take action and to apply.

The candidate experience is enormously important to get (potential) candidates to contact the company and to retain them. This means that HR professionals should take care of a holistic and meaningful communication around all touch points along the candidate journey. This is how they build up an effective employer branding for relevant target groups. And this branding should also differentiate itself from the competition.


But how do HR professionals create unique and special wow experiences along the candidate journey? With emotional, creative, brand-appropriate and personalised content. To create such outstanding content, they should know their target groups (candidate personas) precisely in order to develop relevant topics for the potential candidates and to use the right channels to reach out to these specific target groups. Today, more than ever, it is important to communicate tailored content with a high degree of personalisation – in order to stand out from the crowd.

However, success also requires a bracket – a communication strategy. It determines which content is effectively rolled out on which channels and how it is suitably prepared for them. The channels primarily include the company’s own website, blog, newsletter, and owned social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Xing. All of these are touch points along the candidate journey. Therefore, the HR manager should not only have an understanding of online marketing, but also be a social media expert.

PR also helps to ensure that companies are perceived positively by the public. Not only is corporate news relevant, but articles in trade media also ensure that relevant candidates are reached. In addition, first-class editorial content stands for industry expertise. This is particularly attractive for highly skilled candidates. In addition, PR has the advantage that articles in media curated by an independent journalist are perceived as more credible. That’s why PR in particular supports compelling employer branding.


However, recruiters must also have online marketing skills: On the one hand, they mainly search for their candidates digitally – via job portals or individually via LinkedIn or Xing. On the other hand, the entire process is virtual today: from job ads, to the company’s career site, the application process, interviews, feedback and sometimes even on-boarding.

Even along these recruiting touch points, it is important to provide the right and attractive content – above and beyond the standard. This is all about speed, transparency, personalisation, and appreciation, in order to convey a positive feeling and positive image of the company to applicants. After all, they are multipliers. In addition, it is wise to stay in touch with all applicants even after they have been hired and to retain them. They could even be integrated into the company’s own talent pool, steadily receiving information about the company and special services.

Also, knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA) could help recruiters. The company, as well as job searches, should be easy to find via search engines. Knowledge of lead-nurturing campaigns, retargeting concepts and the right media mix will also help HR professionals. The best way for recruiters to learn is from their colleagues in marketing, social media and PR. Specific marketing expertise can also be taught via individual training sessions. The trick is to be able to apply what has been learned about online marketing to optimise employer branding and recruiting. Only in this way will your own HR managers be ahead of the game in the war for talent.

If you have any questions, please contact our Managing Director Marie Kanellopulos (