Inbound recruiting is a simple concept with a semi-complicated, open-ended explanation. Make great candidates come to you. Sounds great, right? It is, and even though it might sound daunting if you’ve never explored its practices before, it’s well worth your time to get started. Inbound recruiting is all about making you, your open jobs and/or your company or client a “magnet” for qualified candidates.

To explore this topic, we sat down with Hannah Fleishman, an Inbound Recruiting Manager at HubSpot (one of the best Inbound Marketing companies in the world). Hannah helped us understand exactly what recruiters can learn from experienced marketers when it comes to attracting great talent.

For time’s sake, we’re going to summarize our favorite quotes, tips and ideas from Hannah below. At the end of this post, we have links that let you view the slide deck of her presentation and watch the webinar in its entirety. In addition to this post, they make for a great guiding asset for building an inbound recruiting strategy of your own. Hannah provides a ton of helpful insight, mixed with actionable steps that can you have you inbound recruiting in no time. It runs just over 40 minutes, but you should absolutely check it out if you find the information in this post helpful.

“Job seekers have more information than ever to start and influence their own recruiting process.”

There’s a good chance that candidates who meet your qualifications already know about you or will quickly research you to make decisions on their own. More than ever before, you’re sourcing candidates who are going to make choices based on their perception of your “employer brand.” This nebulous description will be the sum total of the information they find from Google, their friends, reviews, social media and any other readily acessible information they find online. Your job description is going to be an increasingly small piece of the puzzle, which candidates will build to see a picture of your company and your open job.

You don’t hold the keys to the castle for the best candidates. All of that information is out there in the public sphere. It’s now your job to shape and sell what candidates see.

“Recruiters who represent a strong employer brand are two times as likely to receive responses from candidates they contact.”

If you’re scaling quickly, imagine how much easier your sourcing responsibilities would be if your candidates already knew who you were and already understood your company’s culture. It moves your conversation from cold to at the very least luke-warm with no extra explanation. Plus, a steady stream of incoming candidates would greatly alleviate the stress of going outbound when those requests come across your desk.

“Inbound marketing matches the way people shop and buy today.”

Older forms of advertising don’t work. Ads are ignored. TV spots are skipped. Sounds a lot like the recruiting game, doesn’t it? Inbound, in general, attracts eyeballs in the modern era.

“For businesses to reach them [customers/candidates] today, they need to focus on helping them and providing value, not selling to them.”

We love this concept. How can you tell your company’s story (the combination of all the best parts of working for your company) while providing value to candidates at the same time? It’s a single question with nearly limitless answers. You know candidates though, what can you offer them that could provide helpful information or benefits?

Simple perks? Office amenities? Supportive cultures? Any reason can be the right reason, it’ll be your job to match the perk to the candidate.

“Inbound recruiting is a way of finding and hiring top talent the way people find jobs today.”

Hubspot approaches Inbound marketing through four steps:
1. Attracting
2. Converting
3. Closing
4. Delighting

We’ll let Hannah describe the process of converting a stranger (passive applicant) into a customer (interested candidate).

“Inbound is about building relationships through valuable content and helpful interactions.”

So what can you offer? Advice? Expertise? You look at resumes all day. Perhaps you could spend a few minutes and put together a helpful guide for applicants that would show them exactly what you look for in resume layout and content. It’s exactly this kind of “free content” that a candidate will find on your website, blog or social profile that will sincerely help them and start building a relationship (it will at least make first conversations easier. “Hey your resume guide really helped, I’m skilled in X,Y and Z, please let me know if there’s ever a job…”).

“Use your Culture Code”

HubSpot created a slidedeck called their “Culture Code” that explained what it was like to work at HubSpot. Then, they gave it away for free. Millions of people looked at that slidedeck, many of whom were applicants. HubSpot created a recruiting brand that lured talent to them. All they had to do was share it (and have a great culture, of course).

From that first slidedeck, HubSpot expanded their inbound recruiting efforts with shorter form, but easily digestible pieces of content that would attract and please applicants. It worked. Hannah estimates that around 70% of their candidates are inbound. Hubspot achieved such a success by focusing on:

  • Their recruiter blog
  • The HubSpot Jobs website that’s made with dynamic and visual content
  • Social media

“No matter how big or small your recruiting team is there are four ways you can start without a marketer boosting your employer brand today.”

1) Understand your candidate persona

Who is your company’s ideal candidate? How will they match the personality and nuances of your teams? Find out who thrives at your company and what makes them so great. Use them as the model.

2) Create helpful, engaging content

It should tell an authentic story of why your company is a great place to work. Use your content to fill in the gaps that might form in the candidate’s personal research. This means you need to do some research to understand what’s missing out there. What do people say about your company behind your digital back? Glassdoor is a great place to start with this task.

Bonus Quote: “A lot of it is an experiment… we’re always trying and often failing.”

You can make videos, share employee stories on social media or write short blog posts that show potential candidates what their daily life might be if they come to your company.

3) Show, don’t tell, on social media

Candidates are researching your company and open job on social media before making any decisions. There are many methods for sharing your company’s culture on social. HubSpot has a great amount of success with ideas like employee takeovers of company accounts.

4) Stay on top talent’s radar

The best talent isn’t usually looking for new work, right? So it’s up to you to nurture these passive candidates until they’re ready for you. Let’s let Hannah describe HubSpot’s process for nurturing candidates through regular, friendly communications over email and Slack.

“Ask yourself, how can you make finding a job more human for your persona?”

Simple, but not so simple, right? Inbound recruiting is that ideal scenario where you’re building relationships with great candidates by providing beneficial content to them, even in times when candidates aren’t looking.

You may wonder how a busy recruiter such as yourself could possibly fit this added workload into an already busy schedule. The truth is, there’s no real answer. Much like Hannah’s quote above about experimentation, your inbound strategy should fit you like a glove, not some other company or Mr. Ideal Recruiter who has all the time and answers. The inbound recruiting strategy that’s right for you is the one that allows you to handle your short term responsibilities, while also building over time a brand story and reputation that grows upon itself to the point where it’s effectively attracting candidates to you, without you doing any extra work.


If you enjoyed this material, we invite you to check out Hannah’s full webinar here. We couldn’t possibly fit all of her advice into one post, but she does a terrific job of going into helpful details that could help you structure your inbound strategy so that it’s set up for success.

Hannah’s slidedeck is also available here. It’s another brilliant resource to keep on hand as you start (or refine) your inbound recruiting strategy. If you didn’t read part 1 of our inbound recruiting series, you can find it here. It makes for a nice companion to the information found here.

Good luck out there!