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How to Start Your Inbound Recruiting Program

Building a workforce that drives business results is no easy task. Between sourcing, building talent pipelines, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and retaining, there’s so much involved in talent acquisition and talent management.

The best antidote to old school, inefficient recruitment practices is adopting an inbound recruiting process.

This is where inbound marketing meets recruitment. Similar to how consumers tune out outbound, interruptive marketing, job seekers are changing how they interact with potential employers.

They can learn about your company through your careers blog, reviews shared on Glassdoor, or through a LinkedIn article posted by your company.

To put it simply, you can connect with both passive and active job seekers through a targeted employer branding strategy that consists of similar marketing elements, like multi-channel content creation.

What makes inbound recruiting so great?

  • It focuses on building relationships.
  • It’s noninvasive.
  • It’s budget friendly.
  • It yields higher quality talent.
  • It attracts better culture fits.

Here’s how to start an inbound recruiting program in your organization:

1. Start with Recruitment Goals




Just like any recruitment strategy, you need goals. Establish objectives for the short and long term growth of your organization and for how you want to build your talent pipeline.

These goals should be SMART and trackable. This helps you manage your inbound recruitment process and identify what success looks like.

Plus, you can better understand your talent acquisition metrics and refine your strategy over time. For example, if you need to fill 10 positions over the course of six months and your applicant per hire ratio is 200, you will need to drive 2,000 job seekers to apply to your open positions.

This is similar to how inbound marketing works. Marketers constantly keep their fingers on the pulse of their strategy and adjust their efforts to drive results that align with their marketing goals. 

2. Brush Up On How Inbound Marketing Aligns With Recruiting

Another similarity between inbound marketing and inbound recruiting can be found in the buyer and candidate experience. Your candidates follow a journey that aligns with the buyer’s journey. They should be taken from attraction to delight just like your customers.




The stages of the candidate journey are as follows:

  • Attract – At this point, job seekers are mere strangers. They are just getting to know your employer brand through elements like Glassdoor, your social media presence, and career blogs. This makes them visitors.
  • Convert – Now, they’re visitors, looking at your landing pages. They might be filling out forms and downloading content offers from you or subscribing to your careers blog, which turns visitors to leads.
  • Close – Then, you’re looking to close leads into candidates. They’re more likely to engage with your employer brand via email, live chat, or by attending career events.
  • Delight – At this point, you want to turn candidates into promoters by making them happy. Deliver a valuable interview and application experience, then seek their feedback through surveys. Even if they don’t get hired, give them the opportunity to stay in touch with you. This helps you build a talent pipeline and a community of interested talent who may reapply down the road.

3. Create Candidate Personas

Just like your inbound marketing strategy, you need to start your inbound recruiting program by creating candidate personas — ideal job seekers who would fit your culture and the prospective role.

With candidate personas in mind, you’re better equipped to use employer branding resources to attract the right people. Consider the following with candidate personas:

  • Experience:
    • Level – entry , mid, senior, etc.
    • Projects – what are they well versed in?
    • Requirements – the must-haves for this role.
  • Background:
    • Personality – the best type who fits the role and the culture.
    • Status – are they actively or passively looking?
    • Education – what they studied, how they’re continuing education, etc.
    • Career path – how their current path maps to the prospective role.
    • Location – where they are looking and if they’re willing to relocate (if applicable).

Just like buyer personas, candidate personas are created through research and estimations. Assess who your top performers are, what characteristics ideal prospective hires share, and any other relevant information from your hiring data.




Your hiring data is one of your most valuable assets you need when building and executing your inbound recruitment program. Look at metrics like source of hire, engagement, recruitment funnel effectiveness, and quality of hire while you're creating candidate personas. 

4. Map Your Recruitment Resources to Candidates

With all this information gathered, you’re ready to map your inbound recruiting content to your candidates at each stage of the candidate journey.




Here’s a look at each stage of the recruitment funnel:

  • Top of the funnel (TOF): At this point, you’re attracting talent. Your best TOF content includes:
    • Careers blog – create content that celebrates your culture.
    • Social recruiting – share employer branding content.
    • Landing pages – these should be specific to location, experience, etc.
    • Career site – raise awareness about your values, mission, and other culture elements.
    • Job board postings – this reaches audiences in several channels.
  • Middle of the funnel (MOF): This is when you’re nurturing talent into potential applicants. The best MOF content could include:
    • Social media engagement with interested candidates (Ex: Answering a question from someone on LinkedIn InMail or providing more detail on a job posting on Twitter).  
    • Email campaign showcasing employee testimonials, sharing career newsletters, etc.
    • Job alerts that are sent to keep interested prospects in the loop about upcoming career events, new job postings, etc. 
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOF): You finally got candidates to apply! This stage mainly consists of the job application. Make sure you’re delivering an excellent candidate experience. You can do this by following some best practices, such as:
    • Following up with every applicant. Candidates who aren't informed of the status or decision of their application are 3.5x less likely to reapply.
    • Simplifying your application process. The average candidate spends about three to four hours preparing and submitting one job application. 
    • Communicating throughout the entire process. Six of 10 candidates say that better communication throughout and after the application process would make a positive impact. 

5. Measure and Adjust




Similar to inbound marketing, you should be measuring your inbound recruitment tactics to adjust and evolve your strategy over time. Remember, your main focus should be delivering an excellent candidate experience that is positive, informative, and engaging.

A positive candidate experience is a rare treat for job seekers. Nearly 60% of candidates say they had a poor candidate experience. An awesome candidate experience will help you stand out in the war for talent.

If you’re not hitting goals, review candidate feedback and look for weaknesses in your inbound recruiting process. Remember that this will always be evolving.

These five simple steps will get you and your team well on your way to attracting A players and retaining them the inbound way. 

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Jeff Previte

Jeff Previte

I am a Content Manager at Bluleadz. I enjoy spending time outdoors -- camping, hiking, hammocking, and everything in between. I also love reading, writing, and learning how to play guitar.