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Applying a Product Marketing Mindset to Talent Acquisition

Applying product marketing to recruiting is less about changing the opportunity and more about how you’re marketing it, yourself, and your company.

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Let’s first get the obvious out of the way: The job is the product. Your candidate audience is the market.

The goal: to successfully match your product with your target market.

Now that you’re thinking in terms of product + market and not like a recruiter, things can get interesting.

Thinking like a recruiter often leads to brute-forcing your product into the market. You assume that a) you have PMF, and b) everyone wants your product.

Neither is true. And it’s one of the biggest reasons that candidates hate recruiters.

Applying product marketing to recruiting is less about changing the opportunity and more about how you’re marketing it, yourself, and your company.

Start here:

Understand your audience on a deep level.

Talk directly to your buyer (candidate) and get feedback on:

  • What they want in a new opportunity.
  • The path they take when looking for new opportunities. (This will also help you understand attribution.)
  • What information they need in order to engage in the buying process.
  • What type of UX they’d want. (How they want to experience self-guided research all the way to an offer.)

Then go and create that.

At a very tactical level, here’s how you do it (in this order):

1. Interview a set of candidates that you’re not trying to recruit. Use the above set of prompts to guide your UX conversations.

2a. Create content that gives them the information they want and deliver it in the places they say they go.

2b. Create the type of CX that matches the one they want.

3. Run experiments to test what works.

*Every experiment should include an element of UX research with the target end-user. You’re getting the best of both worlds: real user conversations + action. Zero guessing. Zero assumptions.

This model requires a shift in mindset.

You go straight to the source. You get the information. You test. You stop assuming.

It’s seeing everything through a product lens.

I’m always left scratching my head as to why so few apply product methodology to things outside of product—especially in talent marketing and recruiting.

Oh right, it requires thinking differently.


If your job and your company suck, none of this will help you. But I'll assume that’s not the case with you ;)

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