Employer Branding Vs Recruitment
Marketing in Tech

Key Differences between Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing

Whether you’re an early-stage startup or a Fortune 500 company, hiring engineering or data science talent for building great products is easier said than done. With increasing headcount, the problem statement of attracting and retaining great tech talent takes on new dimensions. In today’s competitive job market, the best talent has many options to choose from. Due to this, companies looking to attract top-caliber talent must have a competitive advantage. A great recruiter alone will not suffice. Increasingly, employers are using marketing tactics to differentiate their company from those of its competitors.

Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing have transformed from HR buzzwords into full-fledged business strategies and marketing campaigns.

Technology hiring isn’t just about hiring engineers by quarterly goals. If this is the approach you’ve taken so far, then either you’re missing out on great opportunities, or you’re just too lucky.

We at Skillspace.ai, assist a range of companies (from early-stage startups to Fortune 500s) in identifying the best engineering and AI talent. Conversations with talent acquisition and engineering teams at tech companies have revealed a lack of clarity regarding employer branding vs recruitment marketing. HR teams often use these terms interchangeably. But there is sometimes a subtle difference between them which we’ll discuss here.

What is Employer Branding? 

An employer brand is simply your company’s reputation as a recruiter. Employer branding is the process of managing and influencing your reputation as an employer among job seekers, employees, and key stakeholders.

“Reputation” or how talent perceives you doesn’t change quickly. Hence, it is imperative to plan this in a structured manner with leadership’s buy-in. A strong Employer Brand doesn’t just communicate that you’re a great tech company. It also conveys the “Why” – why you are a great technology company, what you are, and what you’re not.

When you interact with top technology professionals, you’ll observe that they clearly distinguish between FAANG companies. It is because each of these companies’ employer branding teams knows how they want to be viewed by potential employees: as a company with a high-pressure work environment, or a company that makes top-down or bottom-up decisions, or as an employer that makes highly selective hires. In technical terms, these teams have zeroed down on their employer value propositions.

Understandably, leaders refer to employer branding as an internal process. It’s more about knowing and finalizing your company’s values, long-term goals, and how it wants to portray itself to the talent pool. Getting the employer branding right also helps in attracting the right set of talent. After all, simply filling the top of the hiring funnel is not the goal. As a recruiter, you want candidates whose values and preferences align with that of your company.

What is Recruitment Marketing?

Once you’ve identified your employer brand positioning and employer branding, the next step is recruitment marketing. It is all about reaching the right audiences. Examples include –

  • Building partnerships with communities. In a competitive market, working with developer communities can help you attract the absolute cream of the crop. If done right, your partner’s strong brand gets carried over to your employer brand which gives a boost to your hiring teams.
  • Creating social media content. It also involves managing the content and maximizing its reach. This would be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, Instagram, and other social media platforms where your talent pool is likely to be found.
  • Establishing and maintaining a great company’s career site and other social media pages.
  • Organizing live sessions with your engineers or talent acquisition leaders. Clubbing this with partnerships can do wonders.
  • Blogging on the behalf of engineering team and HR teams. They will both publish different types of content that will position your company as an employer of choice.
  • Hosting engineering hackathons, coding challenges, and AI challenges. It’s worth noting that the right format of contest plays an important role.
  • Building presence at talent networking events. Nothing beats 1-on-1 interactions with the talent you want on board.
  • Sharing employee stories. For example, you could publish the growth of your engineers or a paper published by your data science team.

What do Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing have in common?

There’s nothing too complicated about this one. Your employer brand is how potential employees view your company. Your goal should be to create a meaningful employer brand.

Employer branding and recruitment marketing are what’s needed that help you get there. That is, getting a sustainable competitive advantage among the talent pool. When being referred to in day-to-day communications, recruitment marketing comes after employer branding.

Summarizing the differences – Employer Branding Vs Recruitment Marketing.

1. Employer branding is the process of defining and positioning who you are as an employer. It’s about giving an identity to yourself as a place to work.

Recruiting marketing is the process of marketing your employer brand. It’s about taking your employer brand to the right audiences to attract the top talent.

2. Employer branding doesn’t change frequently. Once the candidates have developed a perception about your company, it takes effort to change it. Thus, candidate experience and hiring preferences, etc. should be finalized sooner rather than later. At a granular level, they do affect your employer branding too.

Recruiting marketing evolves with time and the changing landscape. More and more developer communities and marketing platforms are emerging. Platforms like Github and Stackoverflow are great, but not all communities out there will have the same engagement levels forever. Additionally, advances in MarTech (marketing technology) may bring new avenues for employer branding that could give you a massive advantage if adopted on a timely basis.

3. Employer branding is hard to measure over the short term. In essence, employer branding answers the fundamental question: Why would the talented engineers we need want to join, work here, and stay here?

It extends to understanding who you want to join your organization. It shouldn’t stop at technical skills. When you do employer branding correctly, it becomes the strong foundation for all recruitment marketing efforts. If you fail to do employer branding correctly, you might put in a great deal of effort. But your prospective employees will still be unable to develop a clear picture of your company despite having seen you on multiple occasions.

Similarly, employer branding is incomplete without recruitment marketing. You may have precise requirements or employer value propositions (EVPs). But they’ll be of no use if they’re only on your job descriptions or in emails you send to the RPO companies you’re working with. It’s important to share your employer brand at a high velocity, put in the right efforts, and get started at the earliest.


There is often confusion between Employer branding vs recruitment marketing. While they may be used interchangeably in instances, there is a subtle difference between the two.

Employer branding is about determining how you want to position yourself as a recruiter. And, recruitment marketing is about conveying that brand positioning to the right audiences. They’re like different steps that you’d have to take if you’re looking to establish a strong and clear employer brand.

Employer branding and recruitment marketing executed in the right way and at the right pace will reap benefits in terms of time, money, and resources. Almost every recruitment metric will benefit from this.

It’s critical to start both employer branding and recruitment marketing at the earliest opportunity in the current ecosystem, where there is a cutthroat competition for the same pie, i.e., the top 1% of engineers and data scientists.

How does Skillspace.ai help here?

Skillspace.ai helps you conduct tech hiring assessments with the best candidate experience. In addition, our parent company DPhi is a global platform with a community reach of over 100K AI and tech enthusiasts. As a result, we help businesses improve their employer brand. Find out how we can assist you here.