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Inbound Recruitment Marketing and Marketing Automation

17.08.21 | Recruitment Marketing, Talent Acquisition, Talent Pipeline Automation

The Covid-19 pandemic has reset major work trends and encouraged employers to address how they can “Build Back Better”, evolving their talent acquisition strategies to better meet their business needs. 

The pandemic has also polarised the challenges facing talent acquisition teams. Volume hiring has become harder due to an increase in supply. With furlough and redundancy leading to increased unemployment, the jobs market has become flooded with candidates and employers are being overwhelmed with applications for each new vacancy, with many, if not most, of them unsuitable.

Competition for talent is greater than ever and as candidates move overwhelmingly online, hiring has become ever more complex. Many people may be applying to multiple roles and you have to make them attracted to your organisation and build relationships with them. 

Sometimes the best candidates are not even searching for a role, even though they might be available. According to LinkedIn’s Ultimate List of Hiring Statistics, 70% of the global workforce is made of passive talent who are not searching for a job.

Inbound Recruitment Marketing

Firstly, what is inbound recruitment marketing? It can be defined as: “The process of helping potential candidates find your company – ideally before they are even considering a job move – and then turning that early awareness into preference, which ultimately creates applications and hires.”

As an approach, it is essentially a series of activities aimed at building relationships with talent even before they are available for recruitment, and even before any positions are open. By adopting this technique, companies become much more proactive in their hiring process and are able to better classify prospective candidates based on their engagement levels.

The Core of Inbound Recruitment Marketing

The core of inbound recruitment marketing is content. As we’ve all been told, content is king (or queen!). This can be anything from blog posts, social media updates, eBooks, and webinars.

Inbound marketers create relevant and compelling content to attract and convert candidates and for the purpose of building audiences and attracting attention. Their job is not to find candidates, but to help candidates find them.

Candidates must find you before they can apply. If your company ranks highly in the job search results, you’ll get “free” employer brand awareness when they seek information. Also, you gain highly relevant brand exposure if/when they share your content.

Employer brand preference trumps brand awareness any day, so inbound marketing builds preference by engaging with candidates early, often before they are even considering a move.

All other things being equal, candidates are more likely to be interested in a company with whom they have a relationship. Inbound marketing tends to build on itself. Great content pays off dividends for a long time, multiplying as you create more content.

Check out our Candidate Nurturing Content Map below. This is the content we suggest sharing to candidates at each stage of the funnel.

Where Inbound Recruitment Marketing Falls Short

Inbound recruitment marketing can be highly effective, but it will fail for most companies if executed in isolation. Two of the most critical limitations are:

1. It’s hard to target specific audiences with inbound – you can’t effectively reach a specific set of candidate profiles, for example, medical science liaison candidates who have previously worked for these companies. To use a military analogy, inbound marketing is like an “air war.” It allows you to efficiently carpet-bomb broad areas, but it’s harder to use it to hit specific targets. In contrast, you need “ground war” tactics (think infantry and snipers) to target specific objectives and hold territory.

2. Inbound doesn’t motivate candidates to act – By definition, inbound waits for candidates to act when they’re ready. It’s not a good solution when you need candidates to act on a specific timetable, such as straightaway as the req is live! All good inbound marketers readily acknowledge inertia and recognise that candidates need a push, not a pull, to get them to act.

Marketing Automation + Inbound Recruitment Marketing

Because of the limitations of inbound, a complete recruitment marketing strategy needs to incorporate a comprehensive portfolio of approaches, including events, webinars, email and advertising, as well as inbound tactics. To get maximum value from inbound, companies need to combine it with relationship marketing, scoring, and other components of marketing automation. 

Above all, it’s critical to remember that inbound is a strategy, not a technology. Many technology solutions can help with inbound, including blog software, content management, SEO, and social media monitoring. These should sit alongside a marketing automation solution. Pick the right inbound marketing tools and the right marketing automation platform for your business, but don’t handicap yourself by thinking of it as an either/or proposition.

Transform The Recruitment Process With Marketing Automation

Not only can marketing automation help with inbound recruitment marketing, but it can transform the entire recruitment process, from initial sourcing to nurture to convert to hire and onboard.

Candidate Sourcing

Marketing automation technology automates the process of identifying and engaging with passive candidates. Leveraging cutting-edge technology to aggregate and analyse data about candidates’ skills and experience then match them to job opportunities. These solutions also automate candidate outreach and follow-up to increase engagement.

Candidate Engagement

Automating communications triggered by specific candidate behaviours helps companies maintain relationships with candidates on an ongoing basis (vs. simply when applicants are in an active interview process).

Candidate Nurture

Automated nurture campaigns provide a continuous flow of high quality content to talent within the pipeline. These campaigns should be highly personalised, and laser focused to contain only content that is guaranteed to be of interest to the candidate.

Candidate Conversion

Automating the identification of ‘hire-ready’ candidates based on monitoring their activity, then liaising with the in-house recruitment team. Threshold alerts let a recruiter know who to contact as soon as they give the signals they are warming to opportunities.


In summary, inbound recruitment marketing is a great way to build relationships with candidates, even before they are even considering a move. In turn, candidates are more likely to be interested in the companies they have built relationships with. If you really want to maximise value from inbound, you should look to combine it with marketing automation technology to totally transform your recruitment process. 

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