This post was updated in June 2019.

It’s no secret that our labor market is tight. With an unemployment rate of 3.6% — the lowest we’ve seen in nearly 50 years — it’s becoming tougher for employers to fill open roles with top talent. As a result, employers should take into consideration less conventional ways of recruiting employees.

Inbound recruiting is using targeted content to attract candidates at every stage of the career decision making process. You create content with the goal of forming relationships with candidates who are actively engaged with your brand, looking for jobs or open to new opportunities.

With inbound recruiting, the candidate reaches out and applies to your job first. Examples of inbound recruiting include:

  • Applications from social recruiting (social media, employment blogs)
  • Career fairs
  • People finding you through job search
  • Referrals who apply
  • Visitors to your career site

Meanwhile, outbound recruiting is actively pursuing candidates and encouraging them to apply for a particular job. With this old-school recruiting tactic, you contact the candidate first, such as through a resume database or professional networking site or calling referrals. Outbound recruiting is a great way to attract candidates who are not actively searching for job opportunities.

Outbound recruiting isn’t going anywhere. However, with 71 percent of employees thinking about or actively seeking out new job opportunities and the employee quits rate steadily increasing over the past few years, it’s more critical than ever for recruiters to actively engage with candidates from the get-go — and inbound recruiting is the way to do so.

Now that you know what it is, how can you use inbound recruiting to find the best and brightest your industry has to offer?

Use social media to maximize employer brand recognition

To encourage job seekers to apply for a position at your organization, you first have to get on their radar. Consumers see hundreds of advertisements every day. If you don’t create content that stands out, you run the risk of losing candidates to organizations that do.

With inbound recruiting, you want job seekers to be continually engaged. To maximize the number of job seekers who see what it’s like to work for your company, create and distribute content on a variety of channels. Blogs, email marketing campaigns, social media posts and webinars are commonly used means of highlighting a company’s culture, events and values.

Consider having current employees serve as brand ambassadors who use social media to show why they love working for your organization. For example, Indeed has a Brand Ambassadors Program, where Indeedians represent our brand through social media and sponsored events. Through pictures and videos of our day-to-day adventures, visitors gain an authentic behind-the-scenes perspective into what it’s like to work at our company.

Build relationships using personalized messages

After creating all this wonderful content, you now have a large pool of job seekers wanting to join your company. What do you do?

With inbound recruiting, the goal is to form meaningful relationships with candidates you think would be a good fit for your company. If you have a candidate you’d like to bring on board, chances are that they are being sought out by other organizations as well.

To keep afloat in the flood of communication your candidate is likely receiving, forgo a generic, plug-and-chug email. Consider scheduling a time to speak with the candidate over the phone or writing an email with an individualized message. In your initial email, highlight an interesting aspect of their resume or make a connection between the candidate’s interests and your own. During your first phone call, ask why they decided to go into their role or field. By showing you want to learn more about them, the candidate will likely also be interested in you and your organization.

Explore the best tactics for attracting candidates using metrics

To get the most out of inbound recruiting, it’s important to know which mediums — like blogs, emails or social media posts — are attracting both the highest number of candidates and the best-fit candidates.

When interviewing a candidate, ask how they initially heard of your organization and what content compelled them to apply. Moreover, examine traffic to your blog or social media pages using an analytics tool. Are many candidates indicating that your blog pushed them to apply, even though this platform wasn’t thought to drive much traffic before? If so, consider allocating more resources to this medium or increasing traffic with SEO-friendly posts.

Inbound recruiting can supplement older recruiting methods

Inbound recruiting cannot replace outbound recruiting. Nonetheless, in many cases building a candidate pipeline through high employer brand recognition, personalized communications and data-driven social media posts is a more effective strategy today than cold-calling candidate after candidate.

By embracing the new realities of the job market — and the changing methods of recruiting that come along with it — you can build a consistent stream of candidates who are interested in your organization, ultimately providing your company with the top talent it deserves.