Inbound Recruiting: Approaches, Steps, and Guidelines for Success

Ever since the profession began, recruiters have been forced to adapt, change, and evolve over the years. Inbound recruiting certainly represents a step in that evolution. Fueled mainly by technology, it has greatly influenced how recruiters run their desks during the last several years.

What kind of technology, specifically?

  • The Internet (or the World Wide Web, if you prefer)
  • Social media
  • Smartphones and other wireless devices

In case you forgot, when recruiting began, there was no Internet or email. There were no cellphones. Heck, there wasn’t even a fax machine. There was just a desk with a telephone and a directory sitting on it. Smile and dial, my friends.

What is inbound recruiting?

Before we travel too far down the yellow brick road, let’s start with a definition. What is inbound recruiting?

Inbound recruiting is a methodology that focuses primarily on using digital technology tools to engage job seekers and candidates at varying stages of their career journey. The techniques and tactics associated with this methodology are designed to convince the candidates to consider a specific employment opportunity and/or a career change overall.

So what’s behind “varying stages of their career journey”? Basically, that’s difference between an active job seeker and a passive candidate. As we’ve discussed before in the TE Blog, an active job seeker is exactly what it sounds like: somebody who is actively looking for a new job. There are three main reasons why this is the case:

  1. They don’t have a job right now.
  2. They have a job right now, but they hate it.
  3. OR they have a job right now, but they see no future for them where they are.

Passive candidates, on the other hand, are not actively looking for a new job. They are typically content and satisfied with their position. In addition, their current employer is keeping them busy and engaged. However, they would make a career move for a new opportunity if that opportunity is better than the one they have.

It is important to reiterate the distinction between active job seekers and passive candidates during our discussion of inbound recruitment strategies and techniques.

Approaching the inbound concept as recruiters

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but we live in a consumer-driven culture. People don’t want to be sold. They want to buy. They want to feel as though they are the ones in “the driver’s seat,” and who can blame them? This most definitely applies to candidates in the employment marketplace, which is why the concept of inbound recruiting has grown in practice during the last several years.

As you might have already guessed, inbound recruiting is similar to inbound marketing, which has also grown popular during the past several years. Basically, it’s the difference between going to people to try to sell them and letting them come to you so they can buy.

From the recruiting standpoint, it’s the difference between trying to sell a candidate on a new employment opportunity and having them come to you because they’re already at least partly sold on a new employment opportunity. OR it’s the difference between trying to sell a prospective client on your services and having that prospective client come to you because they’re at least partly sold on your services.

This is all fine and good, but recruiters must keep one thing in mind. Active job seekers are much more susceptible to inbound recruiting strategies and techniques than are passive candidates. That’s because you could say that they’re already motivated to “buy.” That being said, not all inbound marketing steps work on passive candidates, and if they do, they don’t work to the same degree that they work on active job seekers.

So let’s explore various inbound recruiting strategies and techniques and the degree to which each one works on active job seekers and passive candidates.

Inbound recruiting strategies and techniques

There are a variety of strategies and techniques for inbound recruitment. Below are seven of them, along with an assessment of how effective they are with active job seekers and passive candidates.

#1—Online job postings

This involves using the big job boards such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Monster, and CareerBuilder. This is the least inbound of the inbound methods, but it technically involves candidates coming to you (albeit it through a third party). This method works well with active job seekers, but not passive candidates. That’s because since they’re passive candidates, they’re not even looking at online job postings.

#2—Website with SEO-optimized landing pages

Your recruiting agency should have a website. If it doesn’t, then you need to stop reading this and get a website for it. No joke. And then you need to optimize that website as much as you can for keywords related to you industry and discipline. Once again, this method works better for active job seekers than passive candidates.

#3—Job postings on your recruiting agency’s website

Since your agency has a website (or will soon have one), installing a Job Board that will allow you to post open jobs on your site is in order. While that is certainly better—and more affordable—than using one of the big job boards, it’s still largely effective for active job seekers and not passive ones.

#4—Job alerts

If you have a Career Portal on your site, along with your Job Board, you can invite job seekers and candidates to sign up for job alerts. That way, you can automatically alert them via email when you post a job that meets their specifications. And as a bonus, now you have their contact information!

#5—Blog on your recruiting agency’s website

Content marketing is a big part of the value of inbound recruitment. This is true for both candidates and prospective clients. Ideally, you should have a blog for both sets of people and you should publish blog posts on a consistent basis, at least once per week. If you have a narrow or specialized niche, you should also be able to utilize SEO tactics to drive traffic.

#6—Email marketing

This is where the wonderful world of inbound recruiting can engage both active job seekers and passive candidates. Both of them have an email address, so with a click of a button, you can present them with employment opportunities of interest. The degree to which they’re active or passive will determine their level of interest, as will the attractiveness of the opportunities that you present. Love life email marketing!

#7—Social media recruiting

This technique serves more than one purpose. The first one involves branding. Your recruiting agency should use social media to brand itself to clients and candidates in the employment marketplace. Second, it should use social media to share blog posts from its website, other industry-related news and information, and links to hot jobs and opportunities. Once again, this appeals to both active job seekers and passive candidates, since both are on social media.

The bottom line: do what works!

For veterans of the recruiting profession, incorporating inbound recruiting steps into their process is not easy. This is especially the case for those recruiters who entered the profession before the Internet was even a thing. (And believe it or not, that was only 25 years ago.) Consequently, there is a debate about whether inbound recruiting is more effective than outbound recruiting.

Despite the individual arguments regarding this debate, the bottom line is simple: do what works!

If inbound recruiting helps you make more placements, then do that. If outbound recruiting helps you make more placements, than do that. And if some combination helps you make more placements, then more power to you. Life is not black and white, and neither is the world of recruiting. It is an endless tapestry of grey, laced with an abundance of nuance and subtleties.

But one thing is for certain. Recruiters and the recruiting profession are always evolving. And they evolve not just for the purpose of surviving, but of thriving.

Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars on our website. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.

Industry trainer Shally Steckerl has a webinar video on the Top Echelon website that can help you eliminate recruitment mistakes from the hiring process. The title of that video is “Social Media Outreach for Recruiters.”

In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:

For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.

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