Modern recruiters must evolve their candidate sourcing strategies to meet current job search trends or they risk being left behind. The latest tactic modern recruiters should know about? A creative digital strategy known as inbound recruiting.
In simple terms, inbound recruiting is the method of developing online content to attract and engage qualified candidates. If you think that sounds more like a marketing task, you aren’t wrong. As candidates perform more in-depth research about potential employers, recruiters must think like digital content marketers to fill the recruiting pipeline.
Just as marketers capture and convert leads into sales with targeted content, creative recruiters can use the same tactics to grow and nurture their talent pool. In fact, research shows capturing job candidate leads and building relationships earlier in the recruiting process leads to larger talent pipelines (source).
Think of it this way: If you create valuable branded content, talent is more likely to seek you out. So, how do you put inbound recruiting into practice?
In today’s blog post, we reveal six steps to kick-start your inbound recruiting strategy. Let’s get into it!
1. Create a profile of your ideal candidate.
In order to connect with job seekers through targeted content, you must have a thorough understanding of your target audience. That’s why successful inbound recruiting programs start with documentation of job candidate personas.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a candidate persona is a profile of your ideal hire for any given role. This profile includes a list of necessary skills, education, experience, career goals, key motivators, and personality traits.
Candidate personas will inform your inbound recruiting strategy at every level, from the content you create to the platforms you use to promote it. Ready to build a candidate personas? Simply gather data from all available sources. Then identify common traits and data points that indicate a person is likely to be successful in a particular role. Here’s what we recommend:
Review top performer data:
Your goal is to hire a high-performing candidate, so the first source of data should be top performers who already work in the position you’re hiring for. What makes them successful? Identify top trends in skills, traits, characteristics, education, certifications, and experience.
Interview team members:
Current team members can provide valuable information about what to look for in a candidate, but only if you ask. What are their career goals? Interests outside of work? What drew them to the job? What keeps them engaged? Which skills and traits help them succeed in the role?
Learn from qualified candidates:
Candidates who apply for a particular role can provide extra personal details. Ask questions and identify trends. Why did they apply for the role? How did they find the position?
Once you’ve built out candidate personas, use them to tailor your candidate sourcing strategy accordingly.
2. Take control of your employer brand.
Let’s face it—how you’re seen as an employer matters. It’s a simple formula: Build a positive employer brand online, then continue to capture top-notch candidates. Companies with a negative employer brand, or no employer brand at all– will inevitably miss out on high-quality candidates. Consider the following statistics:
- 69% of job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its brand – e.g. responds to reviews, updates profiles, and shares info on culture and work environment (source).
- 84% of employees/job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer of choice is important when making a decision on where to apply for a job (source).
- Organizations that invest in employer branding are three times more likely to make a quality hire (source).
Fortunately, inbound recruiting strategies can help you take control of your employer brand—and ultimately attract more talent. Here’s what we recommend:
Create authentic messaging:
Candidates want to know what it’s really like to work at your company—so give them an authentic look inside your office. Define the company values. Offer a glimpse into the company culture with day-in-the-life videos. Add photos or gifs of office life, company parties, and employee outings. Leverage employee testimonials to highlight why employees like to work for your organization.
Build an employee advocacy program:
Encourage existing employees to use their personal social media profiles to share relevant business-related content, such as breaking news, new job openings, or recent blog posts. This will help your branded content reach a larger audience and potentially attract a different pool of job candidates.
Manage online reviews:
With 29% of candidates using review sites as part of their job search, too many negative reviews can make quality candidates hesitant to apply for an open position at your company (source). Show job seekers that you listen closely to candidate feedback by regularly monitoring online employer review sites like Glassdoor.
Respond kindly to every review, both good and bad, to let them know you are taking their feedback into account.
A more positive employer brand will help you attract high-quality candidates, help your content reach a larger audience, and make the process of inbound recruiting much easier.
3. Reach job candidates online with search engine optimization.
The goal of an inbound recruiting strategy is to attract quality candidates. Yet, this goal will be unattainable if candidates can’t find your career content. Enter, search engine optimization. SEO, when done right, can drive more candidates to job postings, career pages, and other employment-related content. Attract candidates with these five SEO tips:
Complete a keyword analysis: Ask yourself: How popular are certain job titles? How does your business rank for a job title keyword compared to a competitor? Which keywords bring in the most traffic to your job postings?
Optimize job content with keywords: The next step is to use targeted keywords within your job descriptions, titles, URLs, and meta descriptions. Be descriptive here: Include the job title, company name, location, and all other relevant keywords.
Use clear, easy-to-read language: Job descriptions must be easy to understand for search engines and candidates alike. Include phrases that clearly describe the role.
Enhance your careers page: Include a mix of content on your careers page to keep candidates engaged as soon as they enter. The longer candidates stay on your page, the better your page will rank.
Make it easy for candidates to find what they’re looking for with these important SEO tactics!
4. Reach job candidates with multiple touchpoints.
If you’re dedicated to making inbound recruiting work, you must manage your employer brand across all relevant online channels. Beyond the standard career page, here are three additional channels to prioritize:
Job boards: A recent benchmark report shows 52% of applications come from job boards, so this is one channel not to ignore (source). Manage and customize your most popular job board profiles with videos, photos, social media links, and other career content. Also, claim industry-specific job board company pages to target candidates for niche roles.
Mobile: Did you know 45% of job seekers use their mobile device specifically to search for jobs at least once a day (source)? With mobile changing the way candidates search for jobs, ensure your careers page and application process are optimized for mobile.
Social media: To reach candidates today, share career content on all major social media channels, focusing on the channels that bring in the highest-quality candidates.
In our highly digital business environment, your ideal candidates are spread out across multiple channels. If you’re not active where they’re active, you’re likely missing out on top talent.
5. Nurture job candidates.
If you’ve followed the above inbound recruiting steps, by now you should have a sizable talent pool. It’s time to nurture those candidates to keep your employer brand top-of-mind. Remember, it may take multiple emails to turn a passive candidate into an applicant. It could take months. But, persistence pays off. Here are five types of emails to send:
Encourage candidates to finish applications: Use automated emails to remind job seekers to complete unfinished applications. This simple action helps in two ways: It expands your talent pool and improves the candidate experience.
Send company news: If a publication or news channel features your company, share the article or video with candidates.
Share company culture: Team retreats, conferences, holiday parties, ice cream socials. All of these events provide an opportunity to show the social side of your business. Give candidates a glimpse into your company culture with photos, videos, and light-hearted news.
Share targeted content: Brainstorm targeted content to connect with each candidate persona. For instance, if you have a careers blog, send 101 content to entry-level candidates and share in-depth content with more experienced professionals.
Follow-up with the latest job openings: This one is easy—Send passive candidates jobs matched to their skillset on regular basis.
Invite candidates to events: Encourage candidates to attend hiring fairs or training events aligned with their career profile. Highlight photos from previous events to show candidates what they can expect.
Remember, just because a candidate isn’t a perfect fit right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever be a perfect fit. Job roles change all the time, don’t lose track of a high-quality candidate just because you don’t have an opening for them right away.
6. Use analytics to measure the success of your inbound recruiting efforts.
Pay close attention to web analytics and recruiting metrics to determine what’s working and what needs improvement. For instance, what are the top candidate sourcing channels? Where do most qualified candidates come from? Which landing pages convert more candidates? Which job posts get the most applicants?
Inbound recruiting is an ongoing process. Continue to optimize your strategy to attract more quality candidates and fill more open roles.
Final Thoughts about Inbound Recruiting
If there’s one thing to take away from this blog post—let it be this: Inbound recruiting tactics keep the door open for quality candidates to walk through at any time. But in order to make that happen, you must put these inbound strategies into action.