Innovations Fresh Thoughts For Managing

Blur the Lines Between HR and Marketing to Attract and Retain Top Legal Talent

In today’s extraordinarily tight legal job market, traditional means of recruiting are simply not enough to attract top talent to your organization. Legal professionals are in high demand — even your current employees are targets for competing firms. 

Kristy Carbajal

The good news, though, is that there are steps you can take to rethink and retool your recruiting methods that not only attract talent to your organization but keep your best employees onboard and engaged.

Traditionally, organizations keep their human resources and marketing functions separate: HR hires new employees, onboards them and takes care of myriad administrative tasks; marketing endeavors to position your organization as No. 1 in the consumer’s mind. However, given today’s unprecedentedly low unemployment rate, it’s critical to merge these two elements ― and think like a marketing expert — to boost your recruiting power. Much like you use marketing to brand and promote your firm to consumers, you can use a similar marketing strategy to brand your firm as an employer of choice and attract candidates. By blurring this dividing line between HR and marketing, you’ll be able to craft an employer brand that inspires enthusiasm among the best candidates and engages your current associates.


You know the drill: Your firm needs to hire a paralegal, so you open the job description template and start posting it to all the job boards. That may have worked in the past, but now it’s time to add a marketing twist to your normal recruiting routine. Take a moment to think about what your organization stands for and why someone would want to work there. This will help define your “brand” as an employer ― what you stand for and what differentiates you from other firms. Use this information to create a more compelling job description that highlights your company culture and what makes you a desirable employer.

Once you’ve attracted candidates and made a selection, your marketing activities aren’t over. The hiring and onboarding process is yet another opportunity to sell your organization to your new employee. The way you present the offer, the way you welcome them on day one, the way you prepare them for their role — these are all opportunities to create a positive first impression. Throughout these critical early days, you want your new hire to feel confident that they made the right choice in accepting your offer. Use this key moment to reiterate the principles of your organization’s culture, which the new employee will be representing.

Keeping all your staff and associates engaged is an ongoing process critical to the overall health of your firm.


Employer branding does not end when the new employee is hired and trained. Keeping all your staff and associates engaged is an ongoing process critical to the overall health of your firm. Remember — with an unemployment rate of less than 1 percent in the legal industry, your current employees are being targeted by recruiters.

How can you continue to engage your employees? Create events and activities that promote and embody your organization’s unique brand. This could take the form of special recognition programs for employees, culture-building events or group outings, or participation in charity-related activities. Activities that bring employees together will help create a sense of community and higher purpose that bonds them to your organization. Studies consistently show that companies with a strong culture have more loyal, engaged employees.

As you recognize your employees and engage them in special events, create opportunities for them to market the organization through social media, such as sharing a photo of their special “welcome box” when they start, or posting pictures from a company outing to a baseball game. A post by an employee about a meaningful event at work is worth more than paid advertising.

For example, every year the company I work for hosts “Bring Your Kid to Work Day,” which employees (and their children!) genuinely enjoy. “None of our company’s social media posts get as many likes as the pictures our coworkers post of their adorable kids in business attire ‘working’ at their desks,” notes Staci Johnson, Vice President of Marketing with Adams & Martin Group. Not only does this social media activity engage current employees, but potential candidates will see these posts and gain insight into what type of workplace your company fosters.


Now that you’re ready to apply marketing strategies to boost your recruiting plan, where do you begin? However you market your organization to consumers, use the same resource(s) to promote your organization to potential employees. Whether you have an in-house marketing department, you contract an outside agency to do your advertising, or you are a marketing department of one, branding yourself to candidates must become an essential function. Define your employer brand and communicate it consistently to potential and current employees ― and you’ll have the edge in securing the best talent for your organization.