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If you think recruiting is hard as hell, welcome to 2017.

U.S. employers are entering 2017 facing a fiercely competitive job market in which skilled talent is in high demand but in short supply. The recently released December jobs report shows unemployment at 4.7 percent – the lowest levels in 10 year[1].

The labor shortage continues to affect recruiting in nearly every industry and occupation, from nurses to software developers to machinists[2]. Talent acquisition leaders are not only challenged by fewer workers with the right skills and training, but also a confluence of factors that are making it harder to hire the right people who fit. Today’s candidates have choices, and have different expectations about why they work, for whom and for how long. Employers are competing for candidates against companies from other industries, even other regions[3]. For example, 85% of millennials are willing to relocate for a job[4].

This isn’t just a recruiting problem, it’s a business problem that’s confronting HR executives, hiring managers and the C-suite, particularly among Fortune 500 companies. That’s because making the prestigious list is one thing – surviving is another: Half of Fortune 500 companies since 2000 have disappeared[5]. If business leaders can’t hire the right people to meet current demand for their products and services as well as innovate quickly to stay ahead, their companies will disappear too.

To gain a competitive advantage in today’s candidate-led job market, Fortune 500 companies are investing in a cutting-edge recruiting strategy: Recruitment Marketing. But how well do the Fortune 500 utilize Recruitment Marketing to attract and hire top talent in such a challenging market?

In our second annual research report, the SmashFly Recruitment Marketing Report Card for the 2016 Fortune 500, we graded the most successful companies in the U.S. on their use of Recruitment Marketing best practices across eight key categories: SEO, Content, Initiatives, Employer Branding, Mobile, Social, Nurture and Personalization. The results both delighted and disappointed.



  • 34% of the Fortune 500 scored an A or B, qualifying them as modern Recruitment Marketers. With 27% more companies scoring As and Bs and 32% fewer companies scoring Ds and Fs, the Fortune 500 have improved significantly as modern Recruitment Marketers in just one year. As a group, they’ve gotten more sophisticated in using digital marketing, content marketing, mobile and social in their recruiting strategies.
  • The use of Recruitment Marketing technology is enabling companies to become better recruitment marketers. 76% of companies with A and B grades are using Recruitment Marketing technology in addition to their ATS, compared to 42% last year.
  • Career sites have moved beyond listing jobs to become content rich. The Fortune 500 are attracting candidates by marketing their mission, culture and values through story-telling in order to connect with candidates through aligned purposes. They’re also messaging to different candidate personas in a more targeted way. For example, 55% of the 2016 Fortune 500 showcase their military / veteran hiring initiatives, a 57% increase over last year. In addition, 53% message to key job families (such as engineers or sales professionals), and 45% use video to tell employee stories about what it’s like to work there.



  • Two-thirds of the Fortune 500 still haven’t made their candidate experience mobile friendly end to end. The Mobile Friendly Honor Roll recognizes organizations that have an end-to-end mobile friendly candidate journey: mobile friendly career site homepage, mobile friendly job search and mobile friendly apply process. 35% (174 companies) made the Mobile Friendly Honor Roll, a 150% improvement since last year! But even with a 150% improvement, two-thirds haven’t fully embraced mobile, and 91 companies (18%) don’t support any mobile friendly recruiting tactic.
  • Talent acquisition teams are not confident in how to nurture candidates through email marketing. 44% of the Fortune 500 capture leads by inviting candidates to opt-in to receive job alerts or to join their talent network / talent community. But capturing a lead is just the first step. Companies need to nurture those leads with relevant and personalized content to keep their employer brand top of mind. Among the Fortune 500 that build a leads database, only 44% send them regular (at least monthly) email communication. Email marketing can be easy with a Recruitment Marketing Platform, which automatically sends an email reminder to candidates who don’t complete their application, resulting in 15% percent more applications for every job.


To find out which companies made the grade and see how your organization measures up, download the 2016 Recruitment Marketing Report Card. You also can listen to the recording of our recent webinar analyzing the findings of the report. Recruiting is only going to get harder. Discover how top companies are attracting and hiring top talent, along with examples to help you tackle your organization’s biggest hiring challenges.

View the Report card

Read the full story on how the Fortune 500 scored in their use of recruitment marketing practices. Get tips to enhance your employer brand and help your organization compete for (and win!) top talent.

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[1] Oyedele, A. (2017, January 6). Jobs Whiff, Wages Rise to a Postcrisis High. Retrieved from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/us-jobs-report-december-2016-2017-1

[2] Sparshott, J. (2016, April 19). The U.S. Occupations at Greatest Risk of a Labor Shortage. Retrieved from Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/04/19/the-u-s-occupations-at-greatest-risk-of-a-labor-shortage/

[3] Renshaw, J. (2017, January 3). U.S. Refiners Face Severe Labor Shortage for Deferred Maintenance. Retrieved from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-refineries-labor-analysis-idUSKBN14I0FA

[4] Brooks, C. (2016, November 9). Moving to Move Up: Most Millennials Will Relocate for a Job. Retrieved from Business News Daily: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9553-millennials-will-relocate.html

[5] Nanterme, P. (2016, January 17). Digital Disruption Has Only Just Begun. Retrieved from World Economic Forum: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/digital-disruption-has-only-just-begun/

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