Inbound vs Outbound Recruiting: Understanding Each Through The Lens of Sales

JANUARY 25, 2022 3 min read

In our very first blog on outbound recruiting, we talked about the greatest ideas in the world.

We mentioned how these ideas often:

  • Create billion-dollar companies
  • Unite people across the globe
  • Become fundamental parts of our daily life

What we didn’t mention is that very rarely are these ideas accepted immediately. They take time to be understood, tested, and ultimately embraced by the masses.

The same is true of outbound recruiting.

To help with the “understanding” portion of that process, we wanted to compare outbound recruiting to an already familiar practice: Outbound sales.

Breaking Down the Concept of Inbound and Outbound

There are some words in the English language that make very little sense (including “colonel” pronounced as “kernel”).

Fortunately, the prefixes of “in” and “out” for inbound and outbound paint a pretty clear picture of what they do.

One relies on something coming “in”. The other relies on something going “out”.

If we take it a step further and apply the adjectives of sales and recruiting to inbound and outbound, we start to understand the approach behind each.

Outbound Sales vs. Outbound Recruiting

Outbound Sales

This approach involves going “out” and looking at (or prospecting) individual users that might be a good fit for your organization’s services and/or product.

This process includes sales development representatives:

  • Conducting research on those users (i.e. finding out what competitors they might use, their industries biggest pain points, and more).
  • Reaching out to those users/organizations to gauge their interest and find out what’s important to them that you can solve for.

Pro Tip From the hireEZ Sales Team:

“The more calls you can make and the more people you talk to… you’re going to increase your chance of running into somebody that’s a fit.” - Aaron Aycock, Director of Sales Development at hireEZ

Outbound Recruiting

Similar to outbound sales, outbound recruiters also have to go “out” and “prospect” for candidates.

Like outbound sales development representatives, recruiters are:

  • Conducting research on the talent market and determining the personas that would fit for an open role (while also accounting for competitor hiring trends and beyond).
  • Reaching out to talent via text, email, and social media to “sell” them an opportunity.

Pro Tip From the hireEZ Recruiting Team:

“Engagement is a huge piece. Just remembering to say ‘Happy Holidays’ or mention something they’ve shown interest in during early correspondence goes a long way.” - Devin Guteridge, Sales Development Manager at hireEZ

Inbound Sales vs Inbound Recruiting

Inbound Sales

Like its prefix suggests, “in”-bound relies on assessing prospects that come to you.

These users may come through your company website, social media, referrals and other marketing channels. These prospects are often those who have some form of familiarity with the organization.

From there, it’s up to inbound sales representatives to determine if and how your organization can address their needs.

Inbound Recruiting

Similar to inbound sales, inbound recruiting relies heavily on talent finding an organization through an open job.

This approach takes shape in a few ways, including social media posts from employers, career sites, and job postings in places like LinkedIn and Indeed. Often, the target audience for this approach is active job seekers who are taking the time to look for and apply for new roles.

It prioritizes employer branding and marketing efforts in hopes that talent will apply for open roles.

Hopefully, this comparison makes the concept of outbound recruiting a little easier to digest. It should also become more clear why relying on candidates to come “in” will be extremely challenging during a candidate-driven market.

Instead, uncover how you can build a strategic game plan for outbound recruiting.


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