Inbound recruiting has been “all the rage” for the past few years. Similar to inbound marketing, inbound recruiting is built on the premise that people don’t want to be sold. They want to buy instead. However, what about outbound recruiting?
If you want the short answer, outbound recruiting is what recruiting was before the invention of the Internet.
What is outbound recruiting?
Now, of course, that isn’t entirely true. There were still classified advertisements back in the old days, before the World Wide Web arrived on the scene. That was a form of inbound recruiting. Cast your line in the water and hope that you snag “the big one.” But of course, nobody referred to that as inbound recruiting. It was the 1990s, after all.
So what, then, can we say about outbound recruiting? What is outbound recruiting? Well, outbound recruiting is the act of a recruiter reaching out directly to a candidate. In other words, the recruiter is the one initiating the direct contact, whether it’s through a phone call, a LinkedIn message, an email, or even a face-to-face conversation during a networking event or a conference.
So it makes sense that when the profession was born, recruiters utilized outbound recruiting tactics almost exclusively. That’s because there were hardly any other tactics available to them at the time. However, it is no longer the 1970s. Or the 1980s. Or the 1990s, for that matter.
Today is today, and despite how the Internet has pretty much taken over every aspect of life, outbound recruiting is alive and well. In fact, the Internet actually helps with some outbound recruiting methods. (So it would be a misnomer to say that the Internet only facilitates the inbound methods and not the outbound ones.)
Outbound methods of recruiting
But which ones, specifically, are we talking about? The ones below:
Phone call—This is it, the “gold standard” for outbound recruiting. It’s the cold call to a candidate—or a potential client. However, it’s the ultimate in terms of outbound recruiting. You’re placing a phone call to somebody who not expecting to receive a phone call from you. And on top of that, you’re going to say something that is going to convince them to stay on the phone call. This is where a recruiter uses their skills of persuasion, or to put it another way, their sales skills. Because yes, recruiting is a sales profession, ladies and gentlemen.
Direct message on social media—This, of course, is one of those methods that relies upon the Internet for assistance. It’s sort of like a cold call through social media. The concept is the same. As a recruiter, you reach out to somebody who is not expecting you to reach out to them. You present some sort of value, while at the same time utilizing your skills of persuasion. Hopefully, that somebody will see the value that you’re presenting and you will convince them to take the next step in the process.
Emailing and/or texting—This is another outbound recruiting method that incorporates the World Wide Web. Just because it involves the Internet does not mean that it’s automatically inbound. It’s the same as social media. As a recruiter, you’re using technology to conduct outbound recruiting. You’re reaching out. You’re just not doing it with a telephone. You’re doing it in a digital fashion. And for kicks, we’re going to throw texting in here, too, because recruiters are now sending texts to candidates to let them know about exciting new employment opportunities. Because . . . why not?
Face-to-face conversation—Believe it or not, these still happen! That’s because recruiters still make it a habit to attend trade shows, conferences, and conventions within their chosen discipline. That’s because they know that top candidates will be there. Success in recruiting is predicated upon many things, one of which is the building of relationships. Meeting face-to-face is still one of the best ways to build relationships. Even now, the Internet can only take you so far.
Outbound recruitment and passive candidates
There are active job seekers, and there are passive candidates. Inbound recruiting is more effective with active job seekers than it is with passive candidates. This is especially the case when dealing with the top passive candidates in the employment marketplace. We’re talking about the top 5% to 10% of the candidates within any industry or discipline.
This is because active job seekers are active. They’re looking for a new job. As a result, they’re more likely to see the many inbound efforts that recruiting agencies employ. They see online job advertisements. They’re more likely to see a job posted through social media. And they’re more likely to check out the website of various employers that operate within their particular industry or field.
However, this is not the case with top passive candidates. Not only are they not looking for a new job, they’re not even thinking about a new job. For the most part, they’re completely immersed in their present employment situation. Their employers are keeping them busy and also compensating them at an adequate level. (Because if they weren’t, then these passive candidates would turn into active job seekers relatively quickly.)
This is the number-one reason why outbound recruiting is so crucial. It’s the method that’s most likely to work with top passive candidates. Inbound recruiting methods are less likely to work with these types of candidates. So while inbound recruiting is certainly “all the rage” these days due to technology and the consumer mindset prevalent in the employment marketplace, it limits the width and breadth of your talent pool by its very nature.
That’s why an old-school search professional or old-fashioned headhunter will take outbound recruiting any day of the week.