Why We Should All Aspire To Inbound Talent Acquisition

It’s always surprised me that more marketers haven’t gone into recruitment or talent acquisition.

After all, if we’re aspiring to perfection in our role as the hybrid marketer/recruiter, then the ultimate aspiration is for talent to come inbound because our brand is so damn good.

And if that ain’t a marketing job, I don’t know what is.

Imagine, for a moment, a world where you don’t need to post a job ad. A world in which you perhaps don’t even need our services.

A world where the best talent in the world self-filters itself and lands on your doorstep, packaged and ready to apply the minute you click your fingers. Because your brand is so damn good.

We may never get there – but with our marketing heads on, we can get closer to an inbound model, and that oh-so-familiar grind of hiring becomes more pleasurable.

Eliminating the grind

Now, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re a hiring manager or a candidate. Or – let’s not be coy about this – both.

And let’s not beat around the bush, either. It’s a grind. It’s not a pleasant one, either, and as many quite vocal candidates on LinkedIn tend to repeat endlessly, it’s soul-destroying as a candidate and as a hiring manager, it’s almost equally so.

You post a job ad, you reject everyone who hasn’t read the job description, you reject everyone who is looking for visa sponsorship, you reject everyone who doesn’t have the experience, and perhaps you’re left with a handful of people after going through – say – 100 CVs.

We’ve never favoured the job board experience ourselves, and it’s a good reason for not posting most of our jobs on this website, too. We hate rejecting people because rejection is awful, and there’s enough of it in the job anyway.

Both sides need to stop the grind.

Marketer/Recruiters, apply a little SEO

I first got into SEO back in the days of Britney Spears. Back then, if you wanted traffic, all you had to do was fill your meta titles with Britney Spears, and lo, the floodgates would open.

Since then, Google has got a little more advanced, but don’t think that LinkedIn Recruiter’s algorithm is any more advanced than the early days of Britney.

It really is all about keywords, and your LinkedIn profile will be picked up if you include the right keywords and you have the right skill endorsements. The absolute fundamental behind SEO for these last twenty years is the single factor in LinkedIn Recruiter – and I’d seriously advise even hiring managers to get a licence (although it only shows your network to third level, so you need a big one).

Find Me Somebody to Brand

If you’re a smaller business or marketing agency, it’s hard to compete for talent against the big agencies who often combine their own talent acquisition teams with specialist recruiters (like us, y’know we all get involved).

So personal branding has invaded the space, and once more this is encouraged by LinkedIn who have pushed people ahead of brands in their own algorithm (partly, yes, to get brands to pay money to feature more in the feed).

This partly explains the prevalence of self-help selfies in your feed, encouraging you to look after your mental health or HUSTLE UNTIL YOU DIE, but in between all of these badly advised gurus, there is a space for founders and business leaders that can be occupied to showcase expertise and culture.

Wouldn’t it be great to be known for these two things by tonnes of your target market?

You don’t necessarily need a personal branding expert, if you’re a marketer you should be able to test & iterate to understand what works in your environment. But you do need someone who is willing to become the face of the brand, and you do need to define an overarching message with a solid understanding of your two markets – your target clients and your target candidates.

Build Up Your Funnel

I know HubSpot have gone from funnels to flywheels, but humour me, I’m an old-fashioned guy. A funnel is a funnel is a funnel.

When you view talent acquisition as a marketing job, you start to view everything as an inbound marketing funnel.

At the top, you have the candidates who know about you but haven’t engaged.

In the middle, you have the candidates who know about you and have engaged.

And at the bottom, you have the candidates who want to work with you.

The job of the marketing/recruiter isn’t just to sift through those candidates who sit at the bottom of the funnel, expecting everyone to arrive just there. It’s to build up the funnel and measure exactly what you’ve got at each stage.

I was in this scenario myself at the digital agency many years ago. Pre-COVID, of course, we all worked from an office and that was in Maidenhead. I could tell you, at any point, who I wanted to hire and where they were in their career. I kept in touch with many of them, hoping that at some point, our paths would align.

In a talent acquisition world, these were my talent pools. Top-of-funnel candidates who – 12 to 18 months from now – could be prime candidates for my agency.

All you have to do is call them when there’s an opening, and you have a conversation. Just like when a salesperson gets in touch with someone who has engaged twenty times with your brand – it’s a much nicer conversation, and your offer should be received with welcome ears. Or arms. Depends.

Marketer/Recruiters, Go Convert

One of the many reasons I made the switch myself from marketing to recruitment was because I saw an opportunity in applying marketing fundamentals to candidate outreach.

If, for instance, you could segment your market down to small, homogenous groups and provide personalised outreach that informs, educates and – perhaps – titillates – then you get better open rates, better reply rates and better conversations as a result. Right?

In one of our most recent campaigns, we had a 100% response rate from our InMails.

We only sent one.

But usually we average around 50% to 70% on our InMail campaigns to prospective candidates because, usually, we’re right about the fit and the experience, and we know how to frame the opportunity to them. As any marketer ought to.

And now – imagine marketing that way to an audience that has already been warmed up. An audience that already knows who you are, already likes what you do, and would – given the opportunity – jump at the chance to work with you.

Now – we can’t help you with your personal brands. I’ll leave that to the many personal branding gurus out there on LinkedIn with their selfies and their vulnerability. Aw. No, that’s not our job.

We can help you with the rest – building up your talent pools, identifying talent and getting great messages out to that talent once they’ve been headhunted.

Because in a world where grind is the norm, there’s a nicer, more pleasant way to recruit, and it simply requires a dose of marketing.


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