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Inbound recruiting 101: The can’t-miss primer to attract, engage, and delight talents

Discover what happens when inbound marketing meets recruiting.

What kind of recruiter are you?- The one drawn to spearfishing or the one using a net lined with bait? 

In today’s candidate-centric job market, where the phrase “Good talents are hard to find.” echoes through the recruitment industry, companies can no longer rely only on trade shows, cold calls, print ads, and DMs to attract top talents.

Instead, they must flip the script by investing in a different marketing side of the spectrum where candidates feel like they hold the reins- but in reality, are stealthily exposed to the content that speaks in the company’s favor. 

It’s all about whether you’re interrupting your potential candidates with your messages or whether they initiate the contact. (Yes, it makes a difference, especially when you realize the end goal every business craves is low cost, high-quality leads, and measurable ROI)

So, decide which side you fancy.

Whatever you choose, this guide will help you develop a robust digital recruitment marketing infrastructure to grow your business in 2024. Stick along!

What is Inbound Recruiting?

Inbound recruiting is a non-intrusive talent acquisition method of creating and marketing targeted content to boost the company’s employer branding and engagement with future hires. 

In short, it is all about making the brand attractive enough for talents to come to you. It is done via content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing.

Here are some major themes of inbound recruiting:

  • Content Creation: Give candidates an authentic perspective about your company by creating valuable content for them. 
  • Lifecycle Marketing: To nurture a healthy relationship with candidates, you must start thinking like a marketer. 
  • Multichannel: Don’t stick to just one platform. Candidates are everywhere, and so you should. 
  • Integration: Digging into your recruiting analytics is crucial to understanding where your most-promising candidates come from and what tools/strategies work in your favor. 
  • Culture-Driven: Your company’s culture, values, and goals can be your competitive advantage when recruiting. Ensure they align perfectly with your inbound strategies.

Outbound vs. Inbound Recruiting

Aspect Outbound Recruiting Inbound Recruiting
Definition Actively seeking out potential candidates for a job opening. Creating a recruitment marketing strategy that attracts candidates to the company. 
Target Audience Active job seekers May or may not be actively looking for new job opportunities
Method of Contact Emails, DMs, Cold calls, job postings, etc. Social media presence, blogs, free courses, etc. 
Time Frame Immediate  Ongoing
Cost Can be a bit expensive, as outreach methods may require more resources. Generally more cost-effective as the primary investment goes into building the employer brand and online presence. 
Efficiency Lower efficiency since there is a lower likelihood of success in reaching out and converting candidates.  Higher efficiency as candidates are already interested in the company and more likely to apply.
Control More control over the talent pool as recruiters actively seek out potential candidates.  Lesser control over the talent pool as recruiters rely on candidates to come to them. 


How Does Inbound Recruiting Work?

Before we discuss the mechanism, here are a few things you must know about inbound recruiting:

  • It introduces a methodology to tie up your siloed recruitment marketing tactics with real-time data and quantitative performance. 
  • To do it right, you need a well-thought marketing strategy before implementing the inbound secret sauces you find online. 
  • It is all about data and performance. The reports on your blog articles, keyword rankings, landing pages, email campaigns, etc., can give you unprecedented insight into what’s working in your favor and what’s not. 
  • Inbound recruiting has an automation component like bulk email and landing page customizations. 
  • It’s about candidates, not you. Candidate experience remains the focal point of inbound recruiting goals. 
  • It’s systemized, scaled, and replicated to run even behind the scenes without much involvement from your end. 
  • It demands regular optimization to match the current market trends and needs.
  • The better you get at it, the lesser time and resources are spent and hence, the higher ROI. 

With these pointers in mind, let’s take a look at the flywheel model of inbound recruiting:

  1. Attract: Earn Your Candidate’s Attention
  2. Engage: Don’t Just Close Deals, Open Relationships
  3. Delight: Tie Your Success to Your Candidates

Stage 1: Attract

This stage is about wooing your target audience to apply for the job role by creating a strong employer brand, promoting your company’s culture, sharing compelling content on various social media platforms, etc.  

Stage 2: Engage

This stage involves engaging with potential candidates who have shown interest in your content by either following your social profiles, regularly commenting on your posts, or directly messaging you. You must promptly reply to their queries and introduce them to the job vacancies.  

Stage 3: Delight

The final stage, or the “delight” stage, focuses on providing world-class experience throughout the talent lifecycle. This includes providing regular updates, being transparent and honest, and ensuring a smooth and efficient recruitment process.

Why Approach Inbound Recruiting Strategies?

Below are some key benefits of adopting inbound recruiting strategies:

1. It Makes You More Approachable 

Inbound recruiting allows you to showcase your company culture, values, and mission, which can help you enhance your brand recognition and attract candidates who align with your goals.

2. You Don’t Have to Reach Out to Candidates 

Unlike outbound marketing, you don’t have to email, call and message your prospective candidates. Instead, they visit your website to remain updated.

3. It Helps Build a Diverse Talent Pool 

With inbound recruiting, you are focusing on nurturing relationships with talents who are interested in your company. Given what content you are putting out, these candidates may be from different backgrounds. By posting content with diversity in mind, you can leave a good impression of your company on “global” candidates and expand your talent pool. 

4. It Gives You Access to Handful but Quality Candidates 

When candidates take the lead in applying and contacting, you know they aren’t looking for “a” job but “this” job.

5. It Helps Reach Passive Candidates 

Many top candidates may not actively seek new job opportunities, but by using inbound recruiting strategies, you can still reach them and pique their interest in your company.

6. It Reduces Cost-per-Hire 

Though inbound recruiting often requires an upfront investment in content creation, it’s still pocket-friendly compared to traditional outbound recruiting methods.

7. It Boosts Candidate Engagement 

Inbound recruiting fosters a sense of community among potential candidates and increases engagement with your company, which can lead to a loyal talent pipeline.

Tactics to Ace Each Phase of Inbound Recruiting

Inbound recruiting has three critical phases: 

  1. Strategy and Planning
  2. Build-up and Implementation
  3. Optimization and Growth 

Fast-track through any of these phases, and you will witness your marketing strategies underperforming. 

To avoid this, let’s try making each inbound phase a bit more orchestrated!

The Planning Phase: Build strategies that align with your hiring goals

Start with creating an ideal candidate persona, outreach message drafts, detailed storylines, and analytics to measure your recruiting KPIs against expectations. 

When doing so, these seven core elements will come in handy:

1. Personas

You can equate personas to creating fictional characters representing your target audience. They help you understand your candidates’ needs, interests, pain points, online behavior, psychographic details, etc., so you can tailor your content accordingly. 

2. Messaging 

Messaging is how you communicate your value proposition to your target audience. It should be clear and concise and evoke your candidates’ FOMO. Your messaging should resonate with your target audience and positively highlight your company’s culture and work environment. (Ensure not to fake it!)

3. Differentiation 

Differentiation sets your content and your brand apart from the competition. It’s all about what you can offer your candidates that no one else is offering. You can efficiently attract and retain candidates by highlighting your unique selling proposition in your content.

4. Stories 

Stories are one of the most potent elements of inbound recruiting. They help businesses connect with their audience on an emotional level and create memorable brand experience examples. You can use stories to showcase your brand values, your employees’ success stories, or your company’s journey.

5. Orchestration 

Orchestration refers to aligning your marketing efforts across different channels and touchpoints. By creating a cohesive candidate journey, you can deliver them a seamless experience and increase conversions.

6. Goals and Projections 

Inbound recruiting is a data-driven approach. You should set specific goals and projections for your marketing efforts and track your progress over time. 

7. Benchmark Analytics 

Benchmark analytics involves measuring your marketing performance against industry standards and best practices. By benchmarking key metrics like website traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates, etc., you can identify areas for improvement and regularly optimize your marketing efforts.

The Build-Up Phase: Creating and implementing effective marketing schemas

In this phase, you must focus on creating all the marketing assets you need to generate diverse leads. It may include setting up a website, social content, #rectech stack, influencers’ lists, etc.

To create and implement an effective inbound recruiting strategy, consider the following tactics:

1. Build an SEO-Optimized Website

A recruitment website is the first page any client or candidate lands on when they search your brand online. Hence, it is crucial for recruiters to develop a perfectly optimized and user-oriented career site.

Take note of these pointers:

  • A “warm and targeted” welcome message is perfect for disrupting your visitor’s status quo and grabbing their attention.
  • Deliver an experience that perfectly works on every device.
  • Well-thought-out offer placements can contribute to lead conversion.
  • Everything about your website- architecture, content, protocols, etc., must scream, “This is for candidates.”
  • Remember, meta titles, meta descriptions, URLs, image tags, etc., are equally important as your content.
  • Eliminate unwanted ads, pop-ups, aggressive CTAs, etc., that could drive the users away.
  • Make a shift from HTTP to HTTPs.
  • Your website must comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to secure the candidate’s data.
  • Use your site to show who you are. Include sections like “About Us,” “Our Mission,” “Work Culture,” etc., to give your visitors more profound insight into your brand.
  • Include testimonials and employee videos on your site to prove your credibility.
  • Regularly update the employment page with the latest job opportunities, internships, training programs, employee benefits, etc.

Mind that you need more than just building a website to help your brand. Your goal must be to attract more traffic. And you can do so by leveraging SEO, PPC, social media, or any strategy that suits you.

Remember: To set your recruitment brand apart from competitors, you must work on the online visibility of your assets.

2. Leverage Social Media 

A recent study showed there are almost 4.76 billion active social media users worldwide.

With such a vast number of people on social media platforms, it will be a waste for recruiters not to utilize this powerful marketing tool, especially when targeting Gen Z and millennials.

After all, social media leads convert seven times more than any other strategy.

But which platform should you use? Again, there are plenty of options, and each has its own bells and whistles.

For instance, LinkedIn is particularly popular amongst professionals looking to expand their network. So, it’s a great tool for recruiters to post niche-specific content and build a pool of like-minded followers.

Also, it allows you to link your social profiles and blogs to direct readers to your recruitment website. With its paid promotional options, you can drastically increase your reach and visibility.

Other popular options are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., where you can make employment-specific content to increase your organic reach.

Remember: Many job seekers check the company’s social media profiles and website before applying for or accepting/rejecting job offers. Thus, you must pay special attention to keeping your profiles updated and appealing. 

Mind that an active social media page can build candidates’ confidence in your brand.

Pro Tip: Consider searching for an ATS provider with integrated social media.

3. Email Marketing Can be Proactive

Email Marketing is one of the most valuable inbound methods for companies to engage with potential candidates, build relationships, and keep them informed about job opportunities and company news.

Here are three ways email marketing can help with inbound recruiting:

  1. Building a talent network: Companies can create a talent network by encouraging potential candidates to sign up for their email list to establish a touchpoint for constant engagement and follow-ups.
  2. Engaging potential candidates: Email marketing can be used to engage with potential candidates by sharing information about the company culture, employee benefits, and other information that may pique their interest.
  3. Tracking results: With detailed data and analytics, email marketing platforms can efficiently track the effectiveness of campaigns and help recruiters refine their outreach.

Remember: The best strategy to ensure that your emails are effective is to add a touch of personalization to them.

Make sure you avoid these three mistakes when writing an email:

  • Don’t make your mail too long. Keep it concise. Studies show that emails with 75-100 words receive the highest response.
  • Don’t brag about your company. Be specific. Your candidate subscribed to your mailing list because they already know about your company. Provide them with what they are here for, i.e., valuable content. 
  • Don’t forget to add a proper Call-to-Action.

4. Know how to Create and Publish Quality Content

If a website is a vital recruitment marketing tool, the content is king. As more and more people consume content, it is even more important for recruiters to step further and utilize it to improve their recruitment brand.

Writing informational blogs on your website or guest articles for other websites can drive massive traffic to your page and enhance candidate and Employee Engagement. Using Search Engine Optimization to target specific keywords can help your blog rank up in the google search. 

Also, nowadays, video Marketing is in trend. Statistics show that over 80% of people admit they love seeing video content from the brand they love, while 95% retain the video’s message more than the written text. Don’t forget to give it a try!

Here are some more types of content to consider:

  • Blogs

Blogging is one of the most popular approaches for recruiters to demonstrate their specialization in a particular niche or advice and services to candidates and clients. 

Properly utilizing SEO and producing content consistently can help increase your website’s organic reach. Additionally, ranking higher on the Google search engine can do wonders for your recruitment business.

  • Infographics

Recruiters can utilize illustrations to present detailed information and statistics to improve the visual aesthetics of their content. These infographics can be posted on social media platforms or added to a blog for context.

  • Podcasts

Recently, MIDAS reported a 45% increase in podcast consumption in the UK, making it more than necessary for recruiters to utilize this type of content strategically. Additionally, recruiters can invite some influential guests on their podcast platform for their interviews to spark the audience’s interest.

  • Videos

Videos have seen exponential growth in the business world over the last few years. As a result, recruiters can create educational videos on YouTube or make shorts/TikTok to gain organic candidates. 

Through these 15-30 second videos, you can engage with youngsters and create a diversified talent pipeline.

  • Listicles and “How-to” Guides

This type of content is trendy as they are easy to read, visually appealing, and engaging. Also, they are easy to write and quickly gather candidates’ attention.

Always remember to number the subheadings and write explicit excerpts and conclusions. For “How-to” Guides, be clear and concise. Also include graphics, diagrams, or videos to make it easier for candidates to understand.

Other common content forms that can help recruiters scale their business are eBooks, PDFs, reports, case studies, guest articles, online magazines, etc.

With all these types of content, it can be difficult for recruiters to choose the one that may work best for them, so it is better to sit back with your team members and divide the work among all. 

Remember, inbound marketing takes time, patience, and extra effort, but recruiters can make the most out of it by putting a solid plan in place.

Before we proceed, here are some crucial steps you must remember when creating branded content to put your inbound marketing strategies in action: 

Step 1: Describe your Target Audience

Who do you want to target through your content? How do you describe your audience professionally and personally? Prepare a list of qualities your target audience should have. 

Step 2: Do the Reasoning

Maybe your target audience is working professionals. In that case, your content must highlight why someone would want to leave their job. For flexible hours? Geographic relocation? Etc. Give them the reason; they will take action. 

Step 3: Develop Content Ideas

Content ideas vary according to your company and your hiring roles. However, creating a strategic list of possible content ideas can make the process more manageable.

Step 4: Find Content

Once you have ideas, you will notice dozens of content already available on a particular topic. Now, it’s your turn to some thinking. What ‘unique’ can you add to make your brand stand out? (Yes, brand! And your content will be your brand ambassador) 

Step 5: Create a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a written or digital plan of the dates you want your content published on a particular platform. Creating a content calendar improves consistency and reduces unnecessary stress.

Step 6: Create Content

Finally, the final step is to combine all the ideas and create engaging, plagiarism-free content for your audience. Put out something your audience will connect with and be compelled to reach out to you. 

5. Leverage Your Established Network

Whether online or in-person, if you have an already established network, now is the time to expose them to your quality content and turn them into hires. 

By hosting recruitment events, organizing hackathons or other similar intriguing meetups, you can attract talents who are challenging to be found elsewhere. 

While networking, remember:

  • Know Your Goals: Plan what kind of recruitment event you want to organize. Who is your target audience? For example, an open-house event may be the best option for a smaller company, while more prominent companies can organize job fairs.
  • Plan the event: Design promotional stuff to excite candidates and market it through social media. You can even invest in hiring some influencers to market your event. Prepare for all the events, Q&A, etc., to avoid last-minute chaos.
  • Promote: Use Social Media, email invitations, or contact in person. Just let everyone know about your recruitment event to attract a broad audience. It should be done consistently for a few days before the event.
  • Analyze: After the event, analyze what worked out and what did not. It will help you plan your following networking events. Calculate ROI and understand the market.

The Growth Phase: Optimizing inbound strategies for better ROI

Once you move to this phase, you need tools and resources to continuously test and improve your marketing performance by collecting and analyzing real-time data and insights. 

Here are some tips for optimizing your inbound recruiting strategies:

1. Set Measurable Goals

Establish measurable goals for your inbound recruiting strategies, such as increasing website traffic, improving application rates, or reducing time-to-fill. This will help you track your progress better and make data-driven adjustments.

2. Use A/B Testing

You must test content variations, job descriptions, and other elements of your inbound recruiting strategies to see which performs best. Use A/B testing tools to compare different versions and identify the most effective approach.

3. Use Marketing Automation

Use marketing automation tools to automate your recruitment marketing campaigns, such as email marketing and social media posts. This will help you save time and streamline your processes.

4. Nurture Candidate Relationships

Use candidate relationship management (CRM) tools to keep in touch with candidates and provide them with personalized content and communication. 

5. Analyze Your Data 

Leverage data analysis tools like Google Analytics to identify the patterns and trends in your recruiting data and identify areas for improvement. 

Wrapping Up

While the inbound recruiting method has a ton to offer, it really tests how smartly the recruiters handle and prioritize their requirements. (Of course, you can’t just utilize each tactic simultaneously!) 

Like any other talent acquisition method, it also has some drawbacks, such as:

  • It’s not a preferred route for short-term recruitment. 
  • You are not the one in charge; candidates are. So, you might end up waiting forever for the right candidate to knock on your door, which might never happen. 
  • Though it helps create a larger talent pool, you can’t guarantee the quality of your database. 

Now, the question is should you approach inbound recruiting? Yes, you should! 

But with a proper plan.

And we hope this guide will help you with that step! If it does, don’t forget to tune in for our next exciting updates.

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