By now you’ve no doubt heard of inbound marketing, a marketing strategy that attempts to gain new customers through a combination of blogs, SEO, social media, and other forms of content marketing. The idea is simple: create great content and publish it in the right places, and customers will ultimately seek it out. Over time, a successful inbound marketing strategy allows companies to enjoy huge revenue hauls without having to exert effort reaching out to customers directly.
Good news: This concept can be mimicked in recruiting too. Increasingly, companies are creating inbound recruiting strategies in an attempt to attract the interest of candidates with the highest talent potential whenever those individuals are in the market for a new job — or even when they haven’t begun thinking about finding a new gig just yet. Think of inbound recruiting as a combination of employer branding and recruitment marketing that together piques the interest of the kinds of candidates you want to hire.
Whereas outbound recruiting includes sending LinkedIn messages and using headhunters to reach out to candidates directly, the inbound approach is a much more passive recruitment strategy. Companies that use an inbound approach to recruiting post relevant and helpful blogs, maintain strong social media presences, use SEO incredibly effectively, and create impressive ebooks, white papers, and other gated assets that allow them to collect contact information from prospective candidates.
When done correctly, companies that take this route benefit from ultimately hiring great candidates without having to incur the prohibitive costs associated with traditional recruitment outreach. As a result, the organization grows stronger on the backs of more talented employees while also padding its bottom line.
If you’ve never given an inbound recruitment strategy a try, what are you waiting for? What follows is a blueprint of sorts that should get your company headed in the right direction.
The more detailed and clear your plan and objectives are, the more likely your efforts will be successful. Before launching an inbound campaign, you first need to take a step back and ask yourself what you intend to accomplish. What kind of candidates are you looking to hire through your inbound efforts? If you’re looking to fill entry-level positions, you’ll need to create content and launch campaigns that cater to this fledgling demographic. If you’re in the market to hire more senior-level managers and executives, you’ll have to take a different approach. Mature inbound recruitment strategies target candidates with high talent potential at all stages of their careers.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to accomplish, you need to determine how you will measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Like everything else, you will want to leverage data in a way that enables you to figure out what’s working correctly and which areas need improvement. Refine your approach over time to enjoy even better results.
After you’ve figured out the kinds of positions you’re looking to fill and how you’ll measure the success of your efforts, it’s time to build candidate profiles you can then begin targeting. What does the ideal candidate for a particular opening look like? What are they interested in? Where do they spend their time online?
If you’re in the market for a very talented graphic designer, for example, you might head over to Dribbble to post job ads and other relevant content. When you’re looking for a marketer, it may make sense to post content on HubSpot’s or the Content Marketing Institute’s blogs.
Figure out where the candidates you’re looking for are likely to be online and target those platforms on a steady basis. At the same time, figure out where they are not likely to be and avoid those platforms as much as you can. The more relevant platforms you target with your inbound efforts, the more likely you’ll be to find the candidates you’re looking for.
Once you know who you’re targeting, where they are likely to be found online, and what kind of content they’re most interested in, it’s time to get to work creating content. Put together witty job ads that you can post on relevant job boards (like Dribbble) and write as many blog posts as you can. Make sure you target specific SEO-friendly keywords prospective candidates will be searching for so you’re your content is found easily. Create ebooks, white papers, and infographics that demonstrate your thought leadership. Take pictures and videos of team-building events and some of the perks that employees enjoy at your company to showcase your culture.
Be sure to put some assets — like ebooks and white papers — behind gates so that candidates will exchange their contact information to read the resources. Once you collect their contact information, you can begin reaching out to candidates via email marketing efforts to establish and nurture a relationship in hopes it, one day, leads to employment.
Your inbound efforts should be considered an ongoing investment. Once you get the ball rolling, you need to keep the momentum moving in the right direction by continuing to create relevant content. Consistently promote it on social media and through email marketing so that your company looks fresh and exciting.
Again, you don’t need to establish a presence on every single social media platform. Just go where you suspect candidates will be. If you’re looking for a writer, Medium might be a good platform. If you’re looking for a photographer, head over to Instagram. If you’re looking for a marketer who can influence large crowds, check out what’s happening on Twitter.
Don’t forget that your company blog is a cornerstone of your inbound recruiting strategy. Post all sorts of content there — like thought leadership pieces, content that builds brand awareness, blog posts that showcase company culture or inform prospective candidates, and articles that announce exciting news.
After you’ve spent some time on inbound recruitment, it’s time to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. How much time and money did you spend on your efforts? Did you find the candidates you were looking for? Which platforms were you most effective on?
Analyze the results and go back to the drawing board to see how you can optimize the process even further. Keep improving your process over time and you may never have to worry about reaching out directly to candidates ever again.