How many times have you been forced to choose between that much-needed job fair display or beefing up your career site? Although recruiters often wear a marketing hat, they typically have to work more along the lines of a smaller HR budget.

budgetmemeDuring my previous role at an agency and in talking to our Members, I’ve seen several companies find creative and simple ways to maximize their budget (or lack thereof). Not all of these options may be feasible depending on your circumstances, but hopefully you’ll find at least one of the following tips useful:

Assess the performance of your job board contract before renewing:
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, most companies have to use job boards in their recruitment marketing mix to gain visibility for their vacancies. However, if your company has been purchasing the same package since you can remember, you might be overspending.

Examine the amount of hires or applicants that have come from that source, figure out the cost per hire or candidate, then compare the results to other outlets. Also take a look at add-ons, such as resume database access. If you have a certain number of accounts (might be referred to as seats or licenses), review if your team is really using the service and/or getting qualified candidates. If not, consider reducing the number of add-ons.

Bundles and packages can be tricky because you’re receiving a discount across the board, but even then, it’s not always the best route if it’s not driving applicants and giving you results. It seems basic and tedious, but taking the extra time to dig-in and adjusting contracts can free up dollars for other priorities.

Diversify your marketing mix:
Please understand social media isn’t free – you have to account for items such as the overhead of involved employees and possible software investment. However, with a solid strategy and targeted efforts and engagement, it can nicely supplement your current efforts and give potential candidates an inside look at your organization; more so than what a print ad or job posting can convey.

Depending on what positions you’re trying to fill and their location, you might also consider more local outreach efforts. Get involved with local professional associations to help build awareness of your company. Or, seek out current employees with membership and provide them with scouting cards to take with them to the next meeting or event.

Piggyback on other department initiatives and assets:
Sometimes the thought of having to work with legal, corporate communications or marketing is a deterrent because of the perceived notion of there being too much red tape. But taking advantage of internal resources has many benefits. For example, if your marketing department has already invested in company photos that feature employees, or stock photography that you could use on your website and collateral, you could save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

There is also opportunity around social media. If you have a small team and don’t have time to manage a Facebook page or Twitter account, you might be able to work with your communication team to plug-in recruitment posts, or collaborate on social media monitoring to help you keep a pulse on your industry, reputation and competition.

Evaluate SLAs for optimum value:
If you work with any consultant, agency or third party, review the projects and pricing structure in place. In some instances, it may be beneficial to negotiate operating on a retainer fee versus billable hours. Just be cautious and respectful of your partners. Retainers can also help with controlling costs, as you’ll know exactly what you should be paying out every month or quarter.

Revisit your ERP:
It’s no secret that employee referral programs tend to be the best source of qualified candidates with higher retention rates. If your organization offers any incentive or bonus, make sure employees are aware. It can be as simple as posting flyers in break rooms, and promoting through the company’s intranet site or internal emails. Also make sure there is something in new hire materials.

Reach out to peers:
Most HR professionals I’ve met love sharing advice and lessons learned. At DirectEmployers, we have a great network through our online community, Pipeline, and at events like our annual conference (DEAM15) and Employers Connect. Be respectful of other people’s time and possible confidentiality concerns, but take advantage of these types of opportunities!

These ideas really just scratch the surface, so we want to hear from you. What have you seen or done to stretch your recruitment marketing budget? Please comment below!

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