Four Ps of marketing on a bulletin board

How the Four Ps of Marketing Apply to Recruiting

Savvy HR and talent acquisition professionals have come to understand that recruiting is more like sales and marketing and less like HR. One has to sell the organization, the role and its upsides, and the value for the candidate, particularly in a hot labor market.

Marketers are experts at branding and telling stories – not all HR folks are. Marketing help is generally well accepted and appreciated by HR pros, provided that all compliance requirements are met (and there are a ton of them in HR/recruiting). In fact, the “Four Ps” of marketing – Price, Product, Promotion, and Place – all apply to recruiting. To improve your talent acquisition efforts, consider how these four elements can give your job ads and employer brand a boost.


employee looking at graphs

1.  Price: In recruiting, “Price” is your open position’s wages, bonuses, commissions, incentives, and/or equity. In many cases, this includes the total compensation, which adds in the value of the benefits (not just the dollar value, but also their quality), retirement plans, student loan repayment plans, and the like. It could also include remote work opportunities and travel (or lack thereof).

iHire Tip: Include salary and compensation information in your job ads whenever possible to allure top talent. However, do your research first to ensure your offerings are competitive.


employees shaking hands at a conference table

2.  Product: The “Product” you’re selling is the work itself. It’s becoming more common for candidates to seek out mission-driven organizations that have a social purpose beyond profit (nonprofits, government/public sector organizations, and educational institutions often meet these criteria).

Beyond the job being exciting and fulfilling (and admittedly, not all jobs are, which the organization can make up for in other ways through the Four Ps), a sense of purpose is important. Along these lines, the internal company culture is also important, as different folks look for different cultural attributes in how they like to work and grow.

iHire Tip: 62.6% of job seekers are more likely to respond to an ad if it includes company culture information, according to our 2019 State of Online Recruiting Report. Share a glimpse of what it’s really like to work at your company to simplify talent acquisition.


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happy employees giving a thumbs up

3.  Promotion: How are you promoting your job openings? When your “Product” is appealing, it is much easier share the message and generate interest in applying. For example, I find working with organizations that make a positive impact is important to me. Similarly, when recruiting at those organizations, I was very enthusiastic about promoting the opportunities there and highlighting the best parts, which often make up for other shortcomings.

iHire Tip: Your employees are your biggest employer brand advocates. Share testimonials from happy staff with recruits and encourage employees to promote your job postings with their own networks to maximize your reach.


woman overlooking the city

4.  Place: As they say in real estate, “Location, location, location.” The best company in the world is going to have a hard time attracting quality talent in the backwoods or in an area with harsh weather. Certainly, lower-cost locales are highly attractive to many, provided that the social needs of employees are met, culturally and recreationally.

Similarly, single people who are looking to date may prefer a different type of locale than someone who isn’t in that situation. Or, someone looking to return to school may prefer an area rich with educational opportunities and bypass an area without them – no matter how good the organization or the role sounds. Conversely, someone may wish to move out of a large metro area to lower their cost of living.

iHire Tip: Be clear about the location of your open position(s) and work some of its biggest “selling points” into your job ads to increase applies.


In closing, HR must understand the overarching strategies of the marketing team and the overall organizational positioning, and then align them with recruiting efforts. Remember, too, that applicants and candidates are also customers or potential customers – how they are treated and how they perceive the HR/recruiting function can reverberate into other areas of your business.


About the Author

Michael Trust, MPA, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, is and HR leader who has collaborated with Marketing in a variety of roles to ensure that the overall organizational branding is consistent in the HR/recruiting arenas. His experience includes work in the legal, educational, local government, non-profit, entertainment, banking/finance, healthcare, coaching, arts, and renewable energy industries, where he has worked either as an employee or consultant. In addition to his HR leadership roles, he has also owned and operated a real estate brokerage and managed a high-end clinical practice, bringing both operational and P&L, and HR experience to his endeavors. For more information, please visit



By Michael Trust, Guest Author | March 11, 2020