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Sourcing In Recruitment: Inbound Versus Outbound

Whether you're looking for candidates for a specific position you need to fill right now or you want to build a strong pool of candidates you can tap into when you need them in the future, you want to adopt recruiting strategies that will work for your goals and needs. When you explicitly know what you're trying to accomplish, you can use inbound or outbound recruitment techniques in order to get the talent you’re looking for.

Inbound recruitment refers to strategies you use to get your organization on the radar of potential candidates so they will be so interested in your company that they come to you looking for opportunities. This can come in the form of social media activity and other content you publish about what makes your organization appealing to workers. On the other hand, outbound recruitment refers to strategies you use to find potential candidates and encourage them to apply for positions—generally by posting job advertisements. Both of these strategies can be useful at different times, so it's important to understand them to choose the approach that works best for your company’s needs. Continue reading to find out more information on inbound versus outbound recruitment.

Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Recruitment

There are several differences between inbound and outbound recruitment you should consider, such as:

1. Time Frames

Inbound recruiting is an ongoing process, so it can take months to attract and engage potential employees because they are coming to you on their own, rather than you seeking them out through job posts. In contrast, outbound recruiting can be done in a shorter period of time, since people are responding to your advertisement, so you don't have to wait to find the talent you need.

2. Urgency of Need

Since outbound recruiting takes less time to generate candidates, it's best used if you have an urgent need for talent. If you have a position you need to fill right now, inbound recruiting may not work for you unless you already have a group of potential candidates accumulated that you can draw from.

3. Cost

Outbound recruiting can be costly as you post ads to fill a specific position. In addition, although you may be able to get candidates in a shorter period of time than you would with inbound recruiting, you may not necessarily find the best candidates for the job—which can prolong the process. Even worse, you may end up with the wrong hire, making it necessary to start the process all over again. With inbound recruiting, you can pre-screen candidates before a position is open, so the quality of your hiring funnel pipeline increases and leads to a better hire.

4. Future Resources

Outbound recruiting helps with your current needs, but it doesn't necessarily prepare you for future hiring. With inbound recruitment, you are continuously nurturing talent, so you have already identified potential candidates that can fill current positions, as well as those that arise in the future.

5. Employer Branding

Inbound recruitment allows organizations to focus on their employer branding because it needs to be candidate centered in order to work. To create a positive employer brand, it's important to focus on what employees want and what they believe makes a company a great place to work. However, outbound recruiting is company centered since it’s used to fill a specific need. As a result, there may not be as much focus on what the organization has to offer the candidate, rather concentrating on what the candidate has to offer the company.   

6. Personalized Communication

When candidates come to you at any time because they’re interested in working for your company, the communication naturally feels more personal to them because you’re responding to their specific inquiry. When outbound recruiting, you have candidates coming to you in response to an ad, so the process may be somewhat automated causing you to send everyone who applied for a position the same information and email responses.

7. Where Effort Goes

With inbound recruiting, much of your effort is being placed upfront, before you have a candidate in front of you, because you’re creating appealing content on different platforms to promote your employer brand and generate talent interest. With outbound recruitment, although you do need to craft a candidate-attracting job description to post in your ad, a great deal of your effort really begins when you have talent coming in and you sort through application materials. 

Choosing the right recruitment strategy for the right time is important for meeting your goals. However, a combination of both inbound and outbound recruitment can help you with your short- and long-term needs, and may be the key to building a large pool of applicants to create a strong hiring funnel for every position you have open. Keep the differences between the two approaches in mind as you implement your recruitment plans.

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