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2020 Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Research Spotlights Adoption Trends From Five Years of Fortune 500 Talent Experience Data

Danielle McClowMarch 5, 2020News

Symphony Talent and SmashFly reveal that recruitment marketing strategies have matured since 2015, but struggle to capitalize on nurture, personalization and automation

NEW YORK, March 5, 2020 — Symphony Talent, the global leader in employer brand services and candidate experience technology, and SmashFly, the pioneering recruitment marketing and CRM platform, today shared the findings of its fifth annual Recruitment Marketing Benchmarks Report on the Fortune 500 that analyzes more than 20,000 data points on 33 recruitment marketing criteria and external business metrics. Inaugurated in 2015, the report has tracked the development and trends of recruitment marketing as a discipline amongst the nation’s most successful companies.

While Fortune 500 employers have increasingly built up their employer brands, employee storytelling and talent network opt ins over the last five years, how they utilize content and technology to nurture and personalize experiences at scale has remained quite stagnant.

The companies’ research found:

  • More than half of the Fortune 500 still don’t provide any way for talent to express interest other than forcing them to apply, although companies that offer a talent network are up from 27% in 2015 to 43% in 2019.
  • The presence of a talent network does not ensure employers deliver on their promise to candidates or properly utilize CRM capabilities; just 10% of companies with a talent network or job alerts use automated emails to remind talent to complete a started application.
  • Further, of the Fortune 500 that offer a talent network, 47% never send a single communication after the confirmation email, creating a second black hole in the CRM.

But there is good news yet amongst the best of the best talent acquisition organizations: pioneering companies – those that earned an “A” grade – have increased fivefold since 2015, from just 3% in 2015 to 16% in 2019. And those companies shine in critical areas of competitive advantage: 84% of “A” companies send at least monthly communication to their talent networks and are 6x more likely to utilize personalized content and/or videos on job pages.

Shannon Taylor, director of talent acquisition at Republic Services, an A-scoring company that took the top spot in the business services sector, shared, “No one wants to feel left out. It’s our duty to create a sense of belonging and help candidates envision careers, not just jobs. Our talent network is a way to welcome them, encourage them to engage with our brand, and ultimately, alleviate that ‘FOMO’ feeling with consistent communication.”

All 500 companies are graded on a scale from A (Pioneering) to F (Lagging); this year, Symphony Talent and SmashFly created the Recruitment Marketing Pioneer (RM Pioneer) Award, given to the 79 companies that earned an A in 2019. The report highlights best practices and strategies of specific RM Pioneers like Republic Services, among others.

“Our research always brings very telling findings to the forefront; this year, while technology continues to rapidly develop in our industry, most employers simply aren’t adopting critical strategies within career site, CRM or conversational engagement,” said Elyse Mayer, SmashFly’s vice president of marketing and lead researcher for the report. “What’s promising are the true pioneers who have only gotten more intentional and masterful in their recruitment marketing and talent experience over five years; other talent acquisition and business leaders should be inspired, and perhaps a little propelled, by what they’re accomplishing.”

The original research is conducted over four months every year and continues to examine data year over year for trends and growth. To hear Elyse Mayer and Shannon Taylor discuss the report findings and RM Pioneer strategies in depth, join the live webinar on Tuesday, March 24.

You can also download the full report and methodology here.

More About Symphony Talent

Symphony Talent is a global leader in employer brand and candidate experience solutions for some of the world’s leading brands. Combining award-winning creative and marketing technology, Symphony Talent offers the most strategic and comprehensive suite of solutions on the market, transforming employer brands to deliver world-class experiences for candidates, employees and recruiters. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @SymphonyTalent_.

More About SmashFly Technologies

Acquired by Symphony Talent in 2019, the award-winning software company serves more than 100 customers, including 25 of the Fortune 500. Powered by AI, SmashFly’s enterprise platform combines CRM, career site, events and analytics solutions to create a smarter, seamless experience for talent – and your team. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @SmashFly.

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