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Exclusive: The marketing director could be the new HRD, HR Leaders Club members are warned

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If HR is not strategic and business-focused, another part of the business could take over the role, HR directors have been warned.

Answering the question, ‘Is the marketing director the new HR director?', Navjot Singh (pictured) global marketing manager, recruitment and global communications manager at Shell, explained: "I was asked by my HR director to market our careers in the same way Shell markets lubricants and fuel."

Speaking at the HR Leaders Club sponsored by Buck Consultants at the Hospital Club in London last night, Singh said: "We segmented our recruitment strategy in key markets and had a constructive conversation with some of our most prominent HR leaders. We also focused on our brand."

The company assessed its own recruitment strategy asking applicants to give their own feedback on the recruitment process. And, using marketing techniques, Shell found out the highest number of potential engineering recruits travelled via Aberdeen Airport, so focused job advertising there.

But Singh added: "All members of Shell staff should be recruiters and refer good talent to Shell to keep recruitment costs down."

Since applying the various marketing techniques to the recruitment process, the company has seen an 80% cut in recruitment costs and a 20% reduction in the time to hire new staff.

Looking to the future, Singh believes branding and marketing will have growing importance in recruitment strategy.

"I think in the future companies will have to apply for skilled people to work for them - rather than applicants applying to work at an organisation," he claimed.

But issuing a warning for HR directors, Singh added: "You need to move away from linear to more lateral skills. Use marketing, IT and finance functions to make your own function better. If you are not strategic, the marketing director could end up being the new HR director..."

Read Peter Crush's full interview with Navjot Singh