HR learning recruiting basics

Use Marketing Basics to Recruit Qualified Applicants

I've got a bone to pick with HR best practices.

While we'd all love to use them, best practices tend to tip the scales towards the big dogs in the marketplace. They're designed to maintain the status quo, and quite frankly...they're not working.

They may be the most established, or the most commonly used practices. But, if they aren't giving us the results we need... We can't consider them "best" practices.

There is one core concept that will completely change the way that you look at your approach to hiring. And that is...

Hiring is just marketing.

Recruiting With the 4 P's of Marketing

Learn how to think like a marketer to drastically improve your hiring approach!

If hiring is marketing, then we need to stop looking at the hiring world to solve our applicant flow problem.

Instead, we should adopt some of the fundamental frameworks and ideas that marketers use. These marketing principles are my go-to for how I solve all hiring problems.

The Four P's of Marketing

This is one of the most fundamental frameworks of marketing. It's been used by marketers for decades and the idea is all about maintaining, balancing, and improving these four core areas.

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Placement
  4. Promotion

The problem is, HR professionals, managers, and business owners tend to be too one-dimensional when it comes to finding people to hire. Some HR professionals don't see recruiting as a puzzle that needs to be solved. So, rather than actively trying to adjust and improve those four parts, we make these few common mistakes...

We tend to be fairly passive. Most employers believe that... "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit". This leads us to post and pray. We assume there's nothing we can do to improve the quantity or quality of applicants who are applying to our jobs.

But, if there's one thing that can make an impact... most people would assume it's money. We end up focusing on dollars as the ONLY variable we have to improve our results. This belief is focused on two main monetary measurements...

How much we're willing to pay employees, and

How much we have budgeted to spend on job boards.

But outside of throwing money at the problem, most employers believe there's nothing they can do to increase their applicant flow.

Which simply isn't true.

Use marketing ideas to improve your hiring

If we look at what the marketing world believes...

They believe they power to actively change their approach and the way they're doing things. They believe that those changes will substantially impact the result... that they have the power to take control of what's going on. They drive the intended result that their organization needs.

For decades, marketers have done this by using the Four P's to find what we call a marketing mix. They don't just focus on one thing, they focus on all four.

When we take these four things and create the hiring version of it, it becomes a very powerful way to think about your current hiring approach. This provides a simple way to find opportunities to improve.

I've taken the four P's of marketing and converted them into what we call...

The Four Core Puzzle Pieces for Recruiting Applicants

  1. Price becomes Pay.
  2. Placement becomes Source -- Where are you targeting applicants?
  3. Promotion becomes Job ad -- The advertisement that you put on the job boards, on your website, etc.
  4. Product becomes Job offering -- What is the experience of working for your organization?

How can you use these four puzzle pieces to improve your hiring results?

Look at each of the areas and focus on making consistent changes, adjustments, and improvements over time.

I generally find that the easiest way to do this is to have a series of questions to ask myself. These questions will help identify areas where we can improve and easily brainstorm what the options are.

Questions you should be asking yourself. You can think about this for your entire company or you can zoom in to an individual job.


  • How does our pay and benefits package compare to the companies that we compete with for talent?
  • Are our pay and benefits offerings competitive? Are we better? The same? Worse?


  • Where do our applicants come from right now?
  • Are we completely reliant on job boards?
  • What can we do to increase our results from these sources?
  • What other sources are available?
  • What are we doing to actively engage those sources?


  • Does our ad attract, engage, and convince the right people that this is an amazing opportunity for them?
  • Does our ad get people excited about applying for the job?
  • Is our ad focused on the employer and our list of demands?
  • Or, Is it focused on the potential job seeker we're trying to attract?

Job Offer:

  • Is the job offer beyond just paying benefits?
  • How well does the experience of working for us align with the needs and desires of the job seeker?
  • How good is the experience of working for us?
  • How well does this experience fulfill what the job seeker is after?

The job offer should include things like culture, values, manager, perks, location, schedule, growth opportunities, etc.

Is your company too focused on one of these areas and ignoring the others?

These are some of the most powerful tools that HR and business owners often overlook when it comes to improving their results. This stems from the belief that there's nothing we can do to improve our outcome.

But, time and time again, we've seen that these small improvements have the ability to increase applicant flow by 50-300%. Not by spending more money... but by working on the other parts of the hiring puzzle.

Download our Guide to Recruiting with the 4 P's of Marketing. This tool will help you identify the four core puzzle pieces for recruiting qualified applicants and uncover the power to fuel your talent engine.

hiring manger learning how to market their jobs

The four core puzzle pieces to recruit qualified applicants!

Unlock your hiring potential by learning how to recruit with the 4 P's of marketing!

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