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Inbound Recruiting Vs Outbound Recruiting

Inbound Recruiting vs. Outbound Recruiting

September 1st, 2020 5 minute read
Spamming candidates on LinkedIn and sending unsolicited emails used to work back when companies held all of the power.

But the power dynamic has shifted…

…and these tactics alone don’t cut it anymore.

It sounds a bit dramatic, we know, but candidates are so used to being bombarded with outbound noise from all different directions that most are tuning out from it all together.

So, how do you get through to them?

By moving with the market and getting the balance between outbound recruiting and inbound recruiting right.

We speak to recruitment teams every day and hear strong arguments in favor of both inbound and outbound recruitment. However, the truth is, you need to have a foot in both camps if you want to get ahead in today’s rapidly-evolving world.

But here’s the thing, inbound recruiting is relatively underrepresented within the debate. Without focusing some of your efforts on attracting the right candidates to you, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

Recruiting can be compared to sales, or any other facet of marketing or business, and the beauty of inbound recruiting is many-fold.

Perhaps, more importantly, the power has shifted from companies to candidates, who expect to be able to do their own research on an organization before applying. Businesses that position themselves right and build a strong employer brand amongst the right candidates are going to win.

Great candidates are in demand. They ignore LinkedIn spam. They don’t want unsolicited direct messages. They’re tuning out noise.

Are these the type of tactics you’re using right now? If so, it’s time to move with the market and add some inbound strategies to your recruitment plan.

At its best, inbound recruiting leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that points people towards your organization and creates interactions that are all A-star.

But what does this look like?

You could start by serving a recruitment advert to a targeted audience and following up by retargeting those who show an interest with additional content that highlights your employee value proposition.

This means that:

  • When a potential candidate clicks through from your advert – they’re presented with an engaging careers site that’s filled with the information they need to help them understand what it means to work for your organization
  • From there, they research the opportunities you have available – discovering more about the manager they’d be working for and what the day-to-day would look like
  • Finally, applying is easy – a simple one-page form, with no need to create an account, that works just as well on mobile as on desktop
Inbound vs Outbound Recruiting

Ultimately, your goal should be to make it incredibly easy for candidates to find out about your company, read more about who you are and then apply for a position.

But this isn’t going to happen if you’re focusing all your energy on outbound recruitment…

You’re scraping LinkedIn and firing out lots of InMails and emails. It’s hugely time-consuming. Your efforts don’t have a high success rate. Potential candidates are getting fed up with these tactics. Your messages are getting ignored.

It’s not that these people wouldn’t want to work for you – it’s that you’re putting your vacancy in front of them in the wrong way. You need to be more strategic.

The good news is, there are so many tools out there that you can use to improve your inbound talent attraction alongside manual outreach efforts, while saving you time and money.


Candidates coming from inbound channels tend to convert higher, engage better, and are more likely to take the opportunities that they’re offered.

They’ve researched your organization. They understand your culture. They already know what to expect from the recruitment process. They’ve found a role that they think will fit them.

They’ve actively chosen to apply.

The inbound recruiting struggle is over.

Historically, organizations have really struggled with inbound recruiting, as they’ve felt they need extensive marketing skills, a dedicated team, or a significant budget to be successful. This isn’t the case anymore.

The recruitment landscape has dramatically changed over the last five years. There’s now a whole bunch of tools available that can help from an inbound recruitment marketing perspective.

What’s more, advertising costs have come down considerably. Social is now a prevalent channel for recruitment advertising and the cost compared to reach is extremely low, making it a great time to add an inbound strategy to your recruitment plan.

Candidates want to self-serve in the early stages of the process.

Your candidates are reading Glassdoor, they’re researching your business, and they’re talking to their friends who’ve worked for you. These applicants want to know what a company’s mission is, what they’re doing for the world, and even, how eco-friendly they are.

Candidates and people have value systems, and they’re looking to see if the organizations they’re applying for have values that align with theirs. The more you’re working from an inbound perspective, the more this messaging is going to seep through.

What we’ve seen with recruitment historically, especially in certain territories, is that recruiting has been completely outsourced through an agency or RPO.

Fundamentally, if you think the best way for someone to have a first interaction with your brand is through a third party (that doesn’t really know a great deal about your organization), we haven’t really got much to say that can help you….

But using inbound as part of your hiring strategy will significantly help you stand out from your competitors.

Over time you’ll start attracting more of the right candidates, build a stronger position in the market, and reduce reliance on recruitment agencies. Inbound isn’t going to change the game overnight, but it’s an investment that will enable you to get ahead of the competition in the long run.

And any work that you do to improve how your company communicates opportunities to potential applicants is only going to complement your outbound efforts.

About the author
Tom Hacquoil
Tom Hacquoil
Tom is the CEO at Pinpoint and he's passionate about building world-class teams.

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