There’s a lot of talk about incorporating marketing strategies into the recruiting process to attract more candidates. It makes sense. Recruiting shares a ton of similarities with its business cousin, along with some surprising challenges that can be found in both practices. A few marketing approaches will help you find more candidates, implement powerful communication tactics, and create clearer, more powerful messaging that speaks to candidates in ways that encourage responses and interactions.

Let’s explore how you can begin incorporating marketing strategies into your (already busy) recruitment process in ways that fit your unique approach.

Outbound Marketing

Activities that reach out to potential customers

When translated from marketer language to recruiter speak, the phrase “outbound marketing” actually means “cold email.” As a recruiter, you’re very familiar with this concept, you’ve just probably always called it sourcing or prospecting though. At its core, outbound marketing is simply reaching out to specific candidates and gauging their interest. These candidates may not be looking for a position or know anything about your client. With cold emails, calls, or messages – you take the offer to them.

The pros of Outbound Marketing

This is effective for niche roles that have a limited number of qualified candidates. In these instances, spending the time to source and research each candidate prior to contacting them is worth it. Your target audience is small enough that producing personalized content around the role and individual candidates will be well worth your time.

The cons of Outbound Marketing

This form of marketing is time consuming and expensive. A sourcing tool like our Chrome Extension has eliminated the time consuming chore of hunting for candidates’ contact information, but outbound recruiting can still quickly consume your day. After reaching out to candidates, you then have to wait for them to return your call or email, which further delays your entire recruiting process.
Because of these setbacks, this form of marketing can become too tedious and time consuming to be effective on a large scale.

Inbound Marketing

Activities that attract potential customers to you

Inbound marketing is the term for organically attracting candidates to your products or offers. So for recruiting, inbound tactics find candidates who are interested in your opportunity with the use of content. You create material, which is anything that directly interests your ideal candidate. Your candidates find the material and choose to contact you or apply on their terms as they learn more about you and the role.

Your “material” or “content” can be anything from an active social media presence to free, helpful giveaways. You can make videos, memes, fake websites or anything else that would resonate with your candidate. You can write blog posts geared towards helping nurses understand HIPAA guidelines, or tweet links to continuing education courses for developers. Any valuable information that would be of interest to a candidate in a specific role can make for an effective piece of inbound content.

The pros of Inbound Recruiting

Inbound recruiting can be creative, interesting and completely personalized. There’s really no wrong way to do it. It can be inexpensive and efficiently produced once you settle on a cadence and schedule that works in your recruitment process. Any little bit helps, and something small and targeted is better than nothing at all.

Posting original content will be most effective, but if you don’t have the time or resources, reposting content from your favorite thought leaders can be helpful too. It all comes down to providing your ideal candidates with information that will make their lives better.

The cons of Inbound Recruiting

The downfall of inbound recruiting is that it’s ideally suited as a long-term approach to recruiting. It’s difficult see immediate results with it. The goal is to nurture candidates and provide them with information that makes your expertise, roles and clients look appealing. You stay in front of candidates, so that they think of your company first when they do decide to make a move.

Combine the best of outbound and inbound to improve your sourcing

For the best results, bring together aspects of each marketing strategy to create actionable steps for adding new parts to your recruiting process. Think of these bullet points as customizable guidelines. Don’t be afraid to alter them or add to them to make them fit your style.

Defining your audience

Think about your most challenging roles, the ones that require niche skill sets and take the longest to fill. Think about the job description, skill set, and personality type that usually works in this role and how you typically find these candidates.

Target social sites that are used most by your ideal candidates

Once you’ve formed an image of this ideal candidate, begin thinking about the social sites that this candidate likely frequents, the hashtags they use, and the content that will interest them the most. Googling the industry to look for recurring trends or themes is a helpful start here. It’s also a good idea to start looking for industry themed groups on sites like Quora, LinkedIn, and Facebook to see which sites have a strong industry presence.

Create social accounts on these sites to promote your brand

It may be beneficial to create a personal account so that you can broadcast specific roles that you find yourself recruiting for often. This will allow you to post more frequently and less formally, which may help you to attract certain demographics. You may also want to create accounts for your firm, utilize your client’s social media page or make one devoted to careers within the company. This will depend on whether or not you recruit for the same type of roles frequently and your firm’s and client’s willingness to give an individual access to their company pages.

Start sharing and creating industry related content to gain a social following.

If you’re unable to access your company’s blog, try posting blogs on Facebook or LinkedIn to house your content. Blogging isn’t the only way to attract great talent on social media though, you can also try:

    • Crafting short videos (Adobe Spark is a helpful tool)
    • Making slideshares
    • Recording webinars
    • Designing worksheets
    • Creating infographics (Canva’s Infographic Creator is a great resource)
    • Taking pictures to show off the company’s great culture
    • Sharing content from industry blogs or influencers…

Share great content in as many ways as possible (without being annoying)

Email material to past candidates who applied to an industry role and send it to candidates who never finished applications. You can send it to anyone else who may be interested in your offer too. You’ll begin to establish a talent community and encourage skilled professionals to keep your company in mind as they grow in their careers.

Follow up with followers and interested parties

When you do have an open position, reach out to the candidates who have opted into your relevant campaigns. Call, email, or message them on social to see if they would be interested in learning more about what your company has to offer.


We know that putting another task on your plate can be overwhelming. Try to remember that time-consuming steps made earlier in your recruiting process can lead to time-saving results later on down the road. Whether you think about these suggestions as proven marketing tactics or fresh recruiting ideas, we know that you will benefit from their possibilities.