How to Get Started with Outbound Recruiting in 2023

JANUARY 18, 2023 7 min read

Outbound Recruiting.

These two words represent an incredibly powerful category within talent acquisition.  

In fact, it’s a category that’s been championed by thought leaders as a game changer for how organizations find, connect and hire their most valuable asset: people.

Yet, it’s a category that only some truly understand.  

Whatever your understanding of outbound recruiting or wherever you’re starting in your TA career, we’re here to help you set the record straight.

We’ve organized everything with a clickable table of contents. If you want to jump to a specific section, you’ll be able to.

Defining Outbound Recruiting

Outbound recruiting is a proactive approach to recruiting that brings jobs to the right people while helping TA professionals gain end-to-end control of their recruitment process.

Still a little lost? That’s okay. Let’s break that down further.

In the traditional way recruiting is done, you wait for candidates to come and find your jobs through job postings, career sites and beyond.

That’s what’s known as inbound recruiting.


It’s a more passive approach where active job seekers are taking the time to look for and apply for new roles.


It’s like casting a fishing line, waiting for a fish to take the bait and then bringing in the fish and seeing what you caught.


Outbound recruiting is the reverse. You’re proactively bringing your jobs to passive talent.


In fishing terms, it’s like having x-ray goggles, being able to see into the water and locate the specific fish you want to capture.


Now, like coke and mentos (or alcohol and calling your ex), it might seem like mixing inbound and outbound recruiting creates a recipe for disaster.


However, they actually work together quite nicely.


For example, inbound recruiting has provided many enterprise talent teams with one of their most valuable assets: an internal Applicant Tracking System (ATS) database of candidates familiar with your organization ready to be proactively rediscovered and re-engaged.

Outbound Recruiting Across Markets

Much like the weather in Chicago and Taylor Swift’s relationship status, the talent market constantly changes.

Talent Market: A combination of the impact of economic conditions on hiring along with the ratio of open jobs to available talent.

Finding a recruiting approach that withstands each shift in the market is critical for long-term hiring success.

Here are some of the common markets we encounter.

Candidate-Driven Market

In some cases, there are more job opportunities than talent available which leads to a candidate-driven market.

Here, candidates have greater choices and employers often have to sell their opportunities to talent above competitors.

Outbound recruiting is optimally built for this market when waiting for talent to come to you will often lead competitors to win them over if you’re not proactive.

Employer-Driven Market

In some cases, there is more talent available than open jobs which leads to an employer-driven market.

Here, employers have a greater selection of talent to choose from for opportunities and usually receive greater inbound applicants.

Although inbound applicants may increase, that doesn’t mean talent quality also increases.

With talent quality as a consistent struggle for hiring teams, outbound recruiting helps prioritize quality during searches and nurture talent for future roles if job openings have decreased.

Economy-Driven Market

In other cases, there are moments when companies across the board will slow down or put a pause on hiring based on economic conditions. Let’s call this an economy-driven market.

Here, there’s a greater selection of talent to choose from, but organizations may not have open roles to fill at the current moment.

Similar to an employer-driven market, outbound recruiting provides teams with the ability to gauge the current talent market with analytics, take the time to build their talent pipelines with quality candidates, assess their existing processes with data and nurture talent for future roles.

How Outbound Recruiting is Done

If you noticed, we’ve been using the word “proactive” quite a bit when defining outbound recruiting.

Like the engine in a car or the battery in your phone, proactivity is a key ingredient for ensuring outbound recruiting runs properly.

To help you remember some of the common steps associated with outbound recruiting, we came up with the acronym: A.C.T.I.V.E.

It stands for:
Assess Your Needs
Consider The Market
Target Talent
Individualize Engagement
Value the Experience
Evaluate Progress


When you master those steps, you become a pro at “A.C.T.I.V.E.” or pro-active!

Let’s go through each one a little more in-depth…

Assess Your Needs

This step is about determining your needs for

  • open roles through intake meetings
  • considering the resources available to your team
  • availability of analytics to assess past and current performance
  • the larger goals of your organization that hires will support
  • and the viability of existing processes to make hires effectively

Consider The Market

This step is about researching:

  • what the talent market looks like based on your open job criteria
  • what talent market trends to consider for adjusting search strategies
  • competitor hiring trends and industry benchmarks to monitor

Once you assess your needs and the market, you’ll be able to take all of that information and strategically target talent in the next step.

Target Talent

Targeting talent, search or sourcing exists in many forms.

The most common channels where talent searches take place are:

  • Social Media
  • Industry-Specific Platforms
  • ATS/CRM
  • Online communities
  • Search Engines
  • Referrals

And beyond.

Once quality talent is identified, then comes the stage of engaging them for current or future opportunities.

Individualize Engagement

Imagine your inbox or inMail at this very moment. It’s likely packed to the gills with promotional emails, recruitment content, candidate replies… hopefully… and so much more.

Your candidates are dealing with the same.

From building automated sequences to leveraging personalization in outreach, this step prioritizes crafting engagement that connects with talent and builds a relationship that eventually leads to a successful hire.

Value the Experience

While candidate experience is seen as important, what many fail to realize is that the experience should do more than seamlessly transition candidates from one stage of the recruitment process to the next. It should also be a reflection of your company’s culture and willingness to meet a candidate’s needs for successful employment.

From internal team communication to external communication with talent, there are proactive steps teams can take to ensure a positive candidate experience that supports company reputation and retention in the long term.

Evaluate Progress

Data is a critical aspect of outbound recruiting and having visibility on past and current performance will highlight necessary areas for improvement and track success.

Ideally, for each step of the process above, analytics needs to be available to see how you and the team are performing.

So remember, in order to be proactive start by being a pro at ACTIVE.

The Challenges of Outbound Recruiting

Outbound recruiting is not easy.

Imagine having the choice to lay on your couch versus getting up for a walk.

One requires considerably less effort and is the easier choice even if the other is better for you.

It’s similar to the effort required for outbound recruiting.

Many recruiters would rather post their jobs and wait around for talent than proactively find and engage them… even if it means longer time-to-hire and decreased talent quality in some cases.

That added effort also translates to each step of outbound recruiting.

It takes extra effort to research the available market, monitor competitor hiring trends, and keep track of metrics throughout your recruitment process.

It takes extra effort to search for talent from multiple sources that may be initially unfamiliar to you.

It takes extra effort to craft personalized engagement that gets responses from passive talent who are not expecting to hear from you and are not currently looking for new roles.

Fortunately, systems exist that are making outbound recruiting easy.

Tools for Outbound Recruiting

Even though outbound recruiting isn’t easy, there are plenty of tools that have helped make it easier.

If you Google “SSAR Dean Da Costa,” you’ll find a webpage built by our long-time friend and industry veteran Dean Da Costa.

On it, he compiled a long list of tools that span talent market assessment, talent search, contact finding, calendar scheduling, and beyond.

While these tools may work individually, there are also options for consolidating all of these tools under one platform, which hireEZ provides.

Become an Outbound Recruiting Expert

Congratulations! You’ve officially covered everything you need to get started with outbound recruiting in 2023.

Now that you know the basics of outbound recruiting, there’s no reason you shouldn’t build on that information and get yourself certified as an outbound recruiter.

If you’d like to continue learning about outbound recruiting, visit the Outbound Recruiting Academy! It’s one place where you can learn all the skills you need to grow and develop your skills in talent acquisition.

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