Although the word still causes prejudicial reaction, Marketing is experiencing a renaissance in the human capital acquisition function. Increasingly, Applicant Tracking and Recruiting Systems reach the desktop with rudimentary marketing tools embedded in the interface. Primitive (and a little dangerous), spiders, mail management, bulk mailers and job distribution functions are all components of offerings that range from Recruitsoft, BrassRing, Hire.com, Peoplesoft and Webhire.
What seems to be happening is a split in the roles associated with the Recruiting Department. Marketing skills and techniques are beginning to accumulate in solid quantities in the arena that used to be called "sourcing". The sourcing folks, once relegated to a low status backwater are increasing their marketing skills while the administrative recruiters are getting the candidates through the system. Sourcers acquire candidates while Recruiters process them. The first group is the marketing arm while the second might be better understood as the production arm.
The advantage goes to the team with the best marketing skills.
Marketing is a complex set of skills, processes and procedures that includes:
We can easily imagine an extensive training and research program that works to bring the real tools of marketing directly into the hands of the Recruiting team. While today's efforts are an interesting start, marketing tools have been evolving for a century or so. We'd like to see a little less reinvention and a little more direct absorption.