The Long Game: Recruitment Marketing Accountability

Holland Dombeck McCue Holland Dombeck, HR, HR & Marketing, Recruitment Marketing

If you find yourself at a holiday party this season and your recruitment marketing friend busts out John Wanamaker’s famous quote, “Half of my advertising is wasted; I just don’t know which half” you can do one of two things: 1) turn and walk away because that person has had too much wine and is probably annoying AF or, 2) engage them in a conversation about accountability.

The conversation route…

So here’s the challenge that most recruiting shops – including mine – face… they want to think long term and build pipelines, talent communities and what have you, but keep getting sucked in by the more immediate and pressing issue of a not having enough just-in-time talent to fill their requisitions on hand and meet hiring manager demands. So instead of strategically spacing out both budget dollars and people resources to develop these pipelines, they invest in quick-win tactics and deploy an “all hands on deck approach” to secure leads. Success is then measured by the return on investment (ROI) of those quick tactics using source of hire from the ATS/reporting tool. Hiring managers applaud quick-win sources of hire based on this ROI, and then request similar tactics and turnaround on future roles.

Not an ideal cycle.

Measuring the ROI is not the same thing as ensuring marketing accountability exists. ROI is focused on measuring the return on your direct investments – job boards, advertising dollars, systems and technology, etc. It’s very important to your practice.

However, there needs to be accountability to your overall marketing strategy. In the frenzy of needing an immediate fill, lukewarm communities who had future conversion potential often turn cold or are dismissed because they weren’t ready to convert when contacted. Or during this hiring push, they were contacted with the wrong message.

Marketing accountability is aligned with the long game. It’s about making the plan, following the plan and then measuring the outcome of the plan – both the overall campaign and embedded tactics. It requires clarity of goals and discipline to follow through.

Here are four ways you can maintain accountability:

  1. Define your pipeline goals for the year and develop benchmarks and plans to achieve your goals.
  2. Clearly communicate the plan and secure buy-in from both leadership and individual contributors.
  3. Extend the length of your department’s time-to-fill to market standards.
  4. Divide your budget into thirds and don’t dip into resources that compromise your pipeline goals.
    • Bucket 1 – Job boards, technology, other recurring/firm costs
    • Bucket 2 – Pipelining and branding budget
    • Bucket 3 – Just-in-time sourcing budget

How do you define and ensure accountability in your house?

FOT Note: This post is sponsored by the good folks at, who care so much about the world of recruiting and human resources that they’ve become an annual sponsor at FOT. Here’s where it gets good: As part of the CareerBuilder sponsorship, FOT contributors get to write anything we want on a monthly basis, and CareerBuilder doesn’t get to review it. We’re also doing a monthly podcast called the “Post and Pray Podcast,” which is also sponsored by CareerBuilder. Good times.