Apr 01

Inbound Recruiting: What is it? Where does it fit? How do you know it’s working?

What is inbound recruiting?

Inbound recruiting is the creation and distribution of high-quality, engaging content to influence a relevant candidate’s decision to apply to your opportunities.

Let’s break it down.

Creation and Distribution of High-Quality, Engaging Content (to…)

Ever wonder why companies have two distinct departments (sales and marketing) that exist solely to build new revenues? Historically, sales teams were made of persuasive, type-A personalities that would do anything in the name of a signed contract (think Wolf of Wall Street). Then, one day, the sales guy said to the boss “Hey boss, people don’t believe me when I tell them that our stuff is better than the other stuff. Let’s put some performance stats on a chart with pretty colors.” In that moment, a marketing department was born. Marketing exists to help sales teams talk to a qualified and interested buyer. It makes the sales process much, much smoother.

Influence a Relevant Candidate’s Decision (to…)

But if your team is only leveraging high-quality, engaging content to support your sales, then you are leaving valuable ROI on the table. With a few tweaks, the majority of your content can also work to help candidates visualize themselves at your company. Creating content designed to influence a relevant candidate must start from a place of authenticity.

One of the most valuable exercises your team can invest in is understanding who you are as a company. We’ve worked with several clients that have implemented an annual self-assessment (JobScript) of their employees. The results provide a clear understanding of motivations, abilities, and personality traits of successful people throughout the organization. These results are then utilized to build the personas that drive their inbound recruiting efforts.

Apply to your Opportunities

Sales and marketing teams measure their strategies and tactics for success in a variety of different ways. For example, conversion rate measures the percentage of people that visit a site and click buy. (If 100 people visit a site, and 10 make a purchase, the conversion rate is 10%). With inbound recruiting, the goal is a complete application.

But what about the candidate journey prior to making the decision to apply to your position? One of the most vocalized frustrations that we hear from talent acquisition specialists is the void that candidates fall into from the careers page to the ATS (applicant tracking system). We also know that an estimated 72% of applications are started, and then abandoned.

Granted, that’s just a stat. But the question remains for your team: Do you know how many candidates visit your careers page and then leave without submitting an application?

Inbound recruiting is a fundamentally different approach to this challenge. Understand that your opportunities are relevant to someone. While you may not know who that exact person is, you can showcase your company in a way that resonates with the right candidate.

Where does Inbound Recruiting fit?

Traditionally speaking, talent acquisition processes begin when a candidate submits an application. At that moment, the ATS springs into action. Teams that deploy an inbound recruiting strategy consider the candidate journey well in advance of the ATS.

Stage 1: Attract

Anyone who sees your content and spends the time to consume it, share it, favorite it, etc. has just landed in the Attract stage of your inbound recruiting funnel. The bulk of all candidates in the market will only ever live here. And that’s OK. Remember: your company brand doesn’t have to resonate with everyone, it just needs to resonate with the right ones. This is where disciplines like building candidate personas become particularly helpful.

Note: There are many different ways to build a successful inbound recruiting strategy. For tips to help you get started (like building personas), check out Key Activities for a Successful Inbound Recruiting Strategy.

Stage 2: Engage

Well-executed and active inbound recruiting strategies are powered by responsive talent acquisition specialists. When a candidate reacts to your content, your team should be ready to engage with that candidate.

Consider a tennis swing. Engagement is the act of approaching the ball and making contact. Your content should function the same way. It should make contact and force a desirable reaction from potential candidates.

A sheer bombardment of information is not engaging. Remember: tennis is about control and finesse, not overwhelming power.

Think back to your last experience with a sales person. If it was a negative experience, chances are they didn’t take the time to empathize with your situation.

Stage 3: Nurture

Candidates that are ready to submit an application are like customers that are ready to make a purchase. They’ve bought into your vision. They can see themselves fitting into your mission. They have an idea of where they can add value to the organization.

But they won’t get there alone. You’ve made the investment to attract their attention. You’ve put in the time to track and react to their engagement. Now it’s time to nurture them through to the ATS. Encourage them with a personalized message. Let them know that you’re aware of them and that you’re interested in helping them land the job of their dreams within your organization.

Remember our tennis game? If engagement is making contact, then nurturing is the follow-through. This is what sets the pros apart from the amateurs. Most people can make contact. Very few learn the art and discipline of follow through. But follow through will determine whether your shot lands in play, or misses the mark.

Keep your team accountable to an empathetic mindset and a goal-oriented communication style.

Every interaction with a candidate (whether an email, phone call, etc.) should accomplish the following:

  1. Alignment of goals
  2. Delivery of pertinent information
  3. Clear next steps

Following this communication format will ensure that expectations are managed for all parties involved throughout the process.

Remember: it’s not about persuading people. It’s about providing the information they’re looking for so they can make an informed and enthusiastic decision. Be natural. Be calm. Be honest. Be helpful.

How do you Know your Content is Working?

In sales and marketing, content effectiveness is determined by the prospect’s understanding of the product/service ahead of the first call. If their expectations are completely aligned with the value proposition of the product/service, then the content is working. The ensuing sales conversations are less about “if they should work together” and more about “how they should work together.”

For recruiting teams, content can assist in setting expectations. It can address many of the high-level questions that people tend to ask. It can meet people where they’re at in the candidate journey and allow them to interact with your company at their own pace within their own timeline.

One way to determine if your content is effective is by assessing the quality of the candidate when they apply. If your overall candidate quality increases, then the content is working. To assess candidate quality at the time of application, consider positioning your surveys and/or assessments as a piece of content within your inbound marketing strategy.

One of the best examples of this is the Red Bull Wingfinder. Red Bull positions this test as a self-help assessment. Potential candidates can learn a lot about themselves and where they might be able to bring value to the team at Red Bull. It goes a long way in helping candidates visualize themselves within the organization. It’s completely optional and incredibly compelling. Furthermore, the recruiting team at Red Bull can browse the results and engage the candidates that they see fit for the company.

If you’d like to have a discussion with our team about how your company can leverage The Whether, by Better Weekdays to fill the void that candidates fall into from your careers page to your ATS, please be sure to reserve some time on our calendar.

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