Inbound and Outbound recruiting: definitions, advantages and methods

inbound et outbound recruiting


Inbound and outbound recruiting are two radically different talent acquisition strategies. Both recruitment methods are inspired by marketing (and use the codes of inbound/outbound marketing). But what are inbound and outbound recruiting, their differences, their advantages? The answer in this article.

Inbound VS outbound recruiting: what are the differences?

What distinguishes inbound from outbound recruiting is, first and foremost, the way in which candidates are approached.

In an inbound recruiting strategy, it is the candidates who choose to apply to a company. To make candidates want to apply on their own, the company must cultivate its “brand awareness” and enjoy a certain attractiveness.

In an outbound recruiting strategy, the opposite is true. The company searches for and contacts candidates on its own, targeting specific profiles according to a number of predefined criteria. In other words: it is the company that initiates the contact.

📌 To summarize:

With an inbound recruiting method, it is the candidates who come to the company. With outbound recruiting, the company actively seeks out candidates.

Inbound and outbound recruiting: what are the advantages of each strategy?

Inbound and outbound recruiting are two different recruitment strategies with very specific methods. However, their final mission is the same: to recruit the best profile. Each of these two methods has its own advantages.

What are the advantages of inbound marketing?

The objective of this recruitment strategy is to build a strong and sustainable employer brand, which will continuously feed the company’s pool of candidates. In essence, it is a strategy that is built over the long term. What are its advantages?

Less effort to mobilize before recruiting

Contrary to outbound recruiting, which consists in going “hunting” for candidates, inbound recruiting requires less immediate effort. Thanks to its employer brand, the company can receive a sufficient number of applications without having to carry out additional research. The main challenge afterwards? Sorting through the applications and finding the rare pearl among the many CVs.

Boosting the company’s attractiveness in the long term

Of course, building a strong and inspiring employer brand is a long-term task. Such an approach requires regular communication about your company, taking candidates behind the scenes, inspiring them by highlighting your values, your ambitions…

The good news? In the long run, these efforts pay off and allow candidates who share your vision to recognize themselves in you. In addition, this strategy allows you to avoid time-consuming talent hunts.

Benefit from a larger pool of candidates

This is the direct consequence of the increased visibility that inboung recruiting offers! By gaining notoriety or improving its reputation, a company can reach a larger number of candidates. In the long run, a real virtuous circle is created, as the company can, over the months and years, build up a solid base of qualified candidates.

What are the advantages of outbound recruiting?

Outbound recruiting is often considered a short-term solution. It should be said that it is used more when a specific need arises. What are its advantages?

Filling difficult recruitment needs

Contrary to inbound recruiting, outbound recruiting allows to target specific profiles from the start, sometimes very specialized or very expert – even penurious profiles. This method allows a company to take control of its recruitment – unlike inbound recruiting, which consists of passively waiting for the ideal candidate to show up.

Guarantee quick results

Short-term solutions mean quick results! That’s why outbound recruiting is a great option when you want to fill an urgent recruitment need.

Find talent that really fits the company’s need

In many ways, outbound recruiting is a more personalized approach that allows you to precisely target the candidates you want to recruit. It also avoids the time-consuming process of sorting through applications, which is an essential part of the recruitment process.

Recruiting talent that is not actively searching

That’s right: recruiting talent that is already in place is no easy task… Especially when they are not listening to the market! According to a LinkedIn study of more than 18,000 employees in 26 countries, only 25% of active talent is keeping an eye on potential job opportunities. In other words, the vast majority of talent is difficult to reach with a simple inbound recruiting strategy.

Make the company more accessible

Last but not least: in addition to being more personalized, the outbound recruiting approach is particularly rewarding for hunted talent. By contacting them on their own, the company makes them feel more confident and can involve them more easily in the recruitment process.

Implementing an inbound and outbound marketing strategy

As you can see, inbound recruiting is a long-term strategy that requires constant efforts.

What to do to implement an inbound recruiting strategy?

To initiate an inbound recruiting strategy, a company can start by developing or improving its employer brand, in order to attract quality candidates. To find out more, see our article on employer branding.

Another good approach is to regularly offer high value-added content to potential candidates (on social networks, via newsletters, on your company blog, etc). The goal is to make them aware of the pain points in their current company, and to make them want to join your company.

This method is clearly inspired by inbound marketing, consisting of attracting and converting prospects through well thought-out content.

💡 Generally speaking, the more useful content you offer your readers, the more your employer brand (and your brand image) will come out on top.

Implement an outbound recruiting strategy

Again, just borrow their best practices from marketers and salespeople!

The first thing to do? Create candidate personas, i.e. a fictitious representation of your ideal candidate for a specific position. Depending on the requirements of the position and the proposed missions, the persona candidate will not be the same!

Once you have your typical profile well in mind, all that’s left to do is go on a talent hunt on the right platforms and networks – LinkedIn for a generalist profile, GitHub for an IT profile, ProductHunt for a product-oriented profile, Behance for a designer profile…

💡 In addition, remember to take care of your contact with a personalized message.

Understanding inbound and outbound recruiting, in conclusion

Essential components of “HR marketing”, inbound and outbound recruiting are two complementary approaches both having their strengths and limitations. Outbound recruiting is the ideal solution for urgent or very specific/demanding recruitment needs. On the other hand, inbound recruiting is a long-term solution that allows you to strengthen a company’s employer brand in the long term and build a pool of qualified candidates.

💡 To build up an effective CV library and benefit from talent management tools, consider equipping yourself with an ATS like Jobaffinity.

See articles in the same category