Everywhere you go, people are talking about how hard it is to recruit talent. In an economy where the unemployment rate is below 5 percent, companies across the country are beginning to struggle with attracting quality talent.

Enter Inbound Recruiting

Inbound recruiting is taken directly from the methods and philosophies behind inbound marketing, which is focused around attracting customers through helpful content and interactions that build a relationship over time.

Similarly, inbound recruiting is all about sharing relevant information with candidates as a means to build awareness and attraction with the people you’d like to hire.

And, while inbound marketing arose as a means for companies to differentiate themselves against the disruptive and many times unwanted cold outreach of sales people, inbound recruiting is similarly rising as a response to the decreasing returns of cold outreach to candidates.

The best talent is now bombarded on a regular basis by various recruiters asking for 15 minutes so that they can sell them on a job they aren’t looking for. Companies need to start thinking differently about how they get in front of candidates and pull their attention in through unique content.

Look in the mirror

The first step to building a strong employer brand and driving more quality inbound candidates is to take a realistic look at your organization and why people work there.

Who better to answer that question than your employees? They are trusted by job seekers, and also have all of the in depth content that candidates are looking for.

While HR knows what the sales function is up to, they don’t necessarily know how the account executives celebrate the wins, or the career path for a sales development rep. These details are so important to communicate!

Asking your employees to share the in depth and authentic stories behind working at your company is also a great way to scale your efforts.

Imagine getting five of your account reps to share 10 stories about working at your company? That’s 50 pieces of content about working as an account rep at your company! Now, let’s do that for engineering, marketing, veterans, etc.

To edit or not to edit

Most companies fall down when they manicure the responses of their employees down to something akin to “We’re an innovative and diverse company!” Realistically, we all know an advertisement when we see one. And, we want to be shown, not told, how you’re innovative.

For the most part, the unedited voices of your employees are by far the most effective means to engage candidates with themes they’ll care about: how your company develops people, key aspects of your employee value propositions, culture, etc.

This can be a scary thought in the days of employer review sites.

But, you will be surprised what your employees say when you give them the floor. Trust us.

GEM Recruiting AI

Inbound recruiting happens online

The majority of the candidate journey happens online. People read a press release and go to your careers page. Or, they hear about a job opening they may like and check out your social media.

To be an employer of choice, you need to have a career page that engages and converts visitors into candidates. Landing pages that dive into each role at your company are key. Engineers want to hear about working as an engineer, and job descriptions just don’t cut it. Toast even has a Spotify playlist embedded in the career site – it’s just another way to share culture.

Another key to inbound marketing is the idea of nurturing leads over time with interesting content. Inbound recruiting mandates the same.

Give your passive candidates a way to keep in touch with your company through talent communities they can sign up for. You shouldn’t need to apply for a job just to stay in touch with a company you’re interested in.

Be careful not to simply blast passive candidates with jobs. Send interesting information each month about your culture, new office opening, latest meet-up, etc.

The last piece of advice here is to segment; again, engineers want to hear about the engineering culture, sales candidates want to hear about sales, etc.

It’s offline, too

Don’t underestimate the power of engaging people offline. This could mean career fairs. More than that, it’s about hosting meet-ups that talk through hard challenges your engineers have tackled, or how your sales team is using the Sandler method.

Lastly, have a presence at events where your talent pools are hanging out – whether that’s a python hackathon or a craft beer festival.

If you have the opportunity, start to speak on panels and build your own personal content. Becoming part of the broader community as a thought leader means that your personal and talent brand become an employer of choice – making recruiting that much easier.

Where to get started

We all know that recruiting is like marketing. But, many times recruiters aren’t marketers. Imagine asking your engineering lead to write copy for your product page, it probably wouldn’t be that great.

Find the right internal or external partners to help build out an employer branding strategy that is executable and measurable. Start with one project: your careers site, an Instagram hashtag, talent com.

Seth Matheson

Seth Matheson is the Director of Talent Acquisition for Toast, a Google and Bessemer backed restaurant POS company based in Boston. Follow Seth on Twitter @smath99, or connect with him on LinkedIn.