Inbound Recruiting: What is it? And How to Get You Started?

January 05, 2021

You must have heard the term “inbound” mostly associated with marketing. Inbound marketing is a technique used to attract customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. Creators make what customers want. The same concept has been now applied for recruiting. 

What is inbound recruiting?

Inbound recruiting is offering the potential employees what they seek in a company. It is a combination of employer branding and recruitment marketing. An inbound recruiting definition is that It is a technique consisting of several strategies to create a welcoming experience for potential candidates by producing specific branded content that will increase your company’s brand perception and improve the relationship with both active and passive candidates throughout the various stages of the recruiting process.

The process is to first attract talented individuals in the industry through various ways like blogs, social publishing and advertisements. Then to convince them into applying for the job. Till this step, a stranger would have become a lead for the recruiters. They review his CV, see if he has the skills and experience required for the position, he is called for the interview.

How inbound recruiting is different than traditional recruiting methods?

Traditional recruiting or Outbound recruiting often involves posting job ads across different platforms which include recruitment channels, social media and forums. The basic motive is to build contact lists to later engage with cold prospects. It cost a lot of money and time in this process and the results are also not always what is expected. On the contrary, inbound recruiting relies on drawing the attention of talented candidates via the content they make and by their brand image. 

The first interaction, a candidate has with a company is through their online material, if it would be generic, or of low quality, most people will not feel relatable. But if they encounter a better, more tailored material, they would get a better feel for the organization’s brand and what they have to offer. If executed correctly, it can leave an impact on the people, creating a sense of excitement that motivates the eligible candidates to apply for the positions offered by the company

Is inbound recruiting the best option?

inbound recruiting is one of the best options for recruiters but there are some disadvantages as well along with the advantages that must be considered,

Following are the benefits you can get through inbound job recruiting

· You get already impressed candidates: 

One of the most significant benefits of inbound recruiting is that the candidates who apply are genuinely interested in the company. According to the inbound recruiting definition, The candidates who have applied must be impressed by your company and wants to be part of it. They are not just looking for any job, but they specifically want to be part of your company.

· Your company’s Brand perception keeps getting better over time: 

Traditional recruiting tactics are mostly sales based – the recruiter is selling the company and the job to the candidates, hoping to convince them to get on board. Although, Inbound recruiting is also sales-based, but the recruiters do not work as a salesperson to just get the candidates. Other departments like marketing department and public relations play a more substantial role. They work on the company’s image, by controlling the website and, the content published online, so even after the recruitment, the content stays which helps in building the brand and influence future candidates.

· Your Talent pool gets quality candidates:

From a group of short-listed candidates, only some of them get the job. Despite not getting the job, the other candidates often build a genuine relationship with your company during the inbound job recruiting process, which means you also get value addition in your talent pool. You can easily approach them later in the future if any other position opens up that demands their skills.

Some of the drawbacks of inbound recruiting include:

· It takes time:

 Inbound recruiting can never be an option for crisis recruiting. When you urgently need to fill a position, you can not wait for people to make internet searches, read your blog posts, and decide to look for a job in your company. 

You need to pre-plan if you want to go with inbound job recruiting. It is a lengthy process and you cannot expect to get results in a matter of days, it will take, months to get to build a brand perception in the mind of the targeted audience. 

· It is not an ideal recruiting technique for non-core roles:

It can get difficult if you want to fill non-core positions through inbound job recruiting. For example, A software engineer, Web developer or a project manager would seek for a job on websites of tech companies but it is unlikely that an HR person, a person with finance background or administrative staff would seek for jobs at tech websites, although they all are also required in a tech organization. As they can work for multiple numbers of businesses in any various industries, it is very difficult to attract them through a companies website. 

Following are some fundamental steps to start inbound job recruiting.

Start with creating candidate personas

When you start recruiting, you must be very clear what set of skills, background and experience you are looking for in the candidates. It is crucial to successfully reach and engage with prospects. Creating a profile of an ideal candidate will allow you to make better quality content which would be more relevant to your targeted audience.

To create a candidate persona, start asking the questions about the requirements of your ideal recruit like,

  • What character traits a candidate must have to succeed as a team member?
  • What key soft and hard skills that positions require?
  • What tasks a candidate will be performing on a day-to-day basis at this job?

If you will know exactly who you want to address, It will help you in composing quality content.

Try out different platforms

It is not an ideal choice to rely on a single platform for inbound job recruiting, always try multiple platforms to find potential candidates. See the results and then decide which platform works best for you and then optimize your inbound recruiting strategy accordingly. Ideally, LinkedIn should be the one platform where you could find all the candidates but surprisingly, other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook could provide a more accurate response to your shared content.

Some people might never Google your company looking for information but could be following your company on social media. Whether it’s LinkedIn or Facebook, you should find those candidates and engage them as well. 

A social media strategist will be required to do that. Each social media site attracts different types of candidates, so you will be needing different strategies. If you are looking for filling entry-level positions, target Instagram. If you are looking for more senior individuals for leadership roles, Facebook and LinkedIn could be your choice. If you are inbound recruiting on a budget then you can work with a single platform at a time as well according to the positions you have to fill.

Apply SEO principles on content

If you are not planning to perform inbound recruiting on a budget, you can spend on SEO specialists as well. They will research keywords your targeted candidates might be Googling and then create the content around those, indirectly attracting the audience to your website. 

For instance, applicants might often search for how to get a job as a developer. This could be used to compose articles optimized for keyword phrases like; “career as a developer”, “job in development”, “how to become a successful developer” 

It is also not a suitable option for companies conducting inbound recruiting on a budget but you can use the research done for keywords to create Google Ads. It will get the candidates to see if you have openings. It seems like traditional recruiting but as it is just to get the word out as only targeted candidates will be seeing the ads and they are already aware of your brand.  

Segment your talent pool

A talent pool can be a great inbound job recruiting resource, you can engage with the talented candidates in your talent pool as well but, first you must classify the candidates. That way, you will be able to directly send the content that’s relevant to the specific needs and interests of your every candidate.

The experience of candidates, their skill set, the position they applied for and the information collected from their previous interviews, (if they had applied for a position before). This information could be used for segmentation of the candidates to send them tailored content. You can also target a specific individual or a small group of individuals that qualifies for a specific position and can directly communicate with them through email or other mediums.

However, if you’re looking for ways to engage with potential candidates on a more general level, you can Inform them prior about any hiring fairs and/or training events that your company is going to organize, send personalized invitations to candidates who might be interested in attending. Share the photos and videos from company events like corporate retreats, conferences, parties, team-building projects. It proves to be an effective way of attracting individuals from your company culture.  You can also share Informative articles about new trends, employee testimonials and Company news and upcoming events.

Allow open applications

Start monitoring your website traffic after publishing content. When you start getting substantial traffic on your website, it would be a good time to have an open application on your careers site.

The data collected from online applications can be a valuable addition to your talent pool and the details of interested candidates can come in handy future openings. It will also help if you want to perform inbound recruiting on a budget. It will save the cost of the separate event or hiring fair as you will most likely get your required candidates through open application. This process will also help in measuring the effectiveness of your company brand too because open applications indicate that people know your company and want to work for you. 

Consider sponsoring events

To get quality candidates for your talent pool, looking for a potential candidate for a position or just to interact with your existing talent pool. Consider hosting or sponsoring a local networking meetup or an event. If you are not inbound recruiting on a budget, you can go one step further and organize a programming event, a hackathon.

Google, Facebook and even Spotify have sponsored fabulous events as part of their inbound recruitment strategy. Hackathons by Google and Facebook makes sense you might be wondering, why Spotify? They got the immense attention of hundreds of highly talented engineers. That would have been a big addition to their brand image. 

As mentioned, before you cannot perform such a grand image if you have planned to perform inbound recruiting on a budget but you could try sponsoring a small local event as an experiment to check whether it provides expected results for your brand or not.

You have to be patient.

It is highly possible that despite applying all the right strategies, you will not able to get the result you expected. Just like it takes years for a tech recruiter to build up a strong network, it will take time to attract quality candidates. You cannot just create a lot of content and publish it on the internet and expect to have the candidates coming in the next day. By inbound recruiting definition, the audience will attract to your company but they need time in realizing that. You just need to take time to create quality content for them.

Be ready to alter your strategy. 

There will be scenarios when you will not get the expected outcomes from your inbound recruitment strategy. For instance, if you were aiming to target experienced software engineers, but only college students and recent graduates are approaching you, it means your strategy is going wrong. In that case, you should be willing to change your strategy, collect the feedback and make changes as required as soon as you could instead of waiting or being reluctant. 

Monitor your Progress

Set up a Google Analytics account to monitor all the traffic coming to your career sites. You can also use Google’s Search Console to identify which keywords bring you the most organic traffic. This can be a bit overwhelming to people with no SEO background so you will be needing a marketing team to help get you up and running with these tools. Once you can pinpoint the particular reasons for your success, you can better optimize your content accordingly to provide to your readers what they want.

See Also: Passive Recruitment: 7 Quick Tips To Unlock Technology Talent

If you are performing inbound recruiting on a budget, you should be able to at least hire a single marketing person, He won’t be able to do all the jobs but could at least monitor your progress and alert you if anything goes wrong.  


These are the basic steps and strategies to introduce you to inbound job recruiting. You can experiment further and decide which activities suites best for you. At the start, it would be better to apply inbound recruiting on a budget and after gaining expected results, you can go further. 

While inbound recruiting is an excellent recruitment method, you don’t have to rely solely on it. The best option would be to apply a combination of inbound and outbound recruiting campaigns. Don’t forget to track your results and optimize your recruitment campaign where needed and above all, be patient. The results are not going to come overnight, but eventually, your inbound recruiting will gain the pace and will be performing beyond your expectations.



Shaharyar Lalani is a developer with a strong interest in business analysis, project management, and UX design. He writes and teaches extensively on themes current in the world of web and app development, especially in Java technology.

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