Inbound vs. Outbound Recruiting: Which One Will Help You Hire in 2022?

May 18, 2022 5 min read

Over the past year, there’s been extensive news coverage surrounding “the Great Resignation” and “labor shortages.” 

While retention and talent availability present significant obstacles for talent acquisition professionals, there’s a hidden reason recruiters are struggling to hire. 

And it has to do with their reliance on inbound recruiting to overcome these obstacles.

What is inbound recruiting?

Inbound recruiting represents a more passive approach to recruiting that relies heavily on talent finding an organization or open job. It prioritizes employer branding and marketing efforts in hopes that talent will apply for open roles.

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.

Dissecting what’s wrong with an inbound recruiting response

In a recent hireEZ survey of over 300 talent acquisition professionals, LinkedIn and job boards, such as Indeed, ranked as the primary channels leveraged for finding talent. 

The issue with this approach? 

Look up any in demand job title and you’ll likely find a serious disparity between the number of active job seekers and job postings. 

For instance, there are nearly 4,900 nurse practitioners who have moved jobs in the past six months (via EZ Insights). Yet, there are over 39,000 job postings for nurse practitioners on Indeed alone. 

That’s an 8:1 ratio of postings to professionals. Despite this immense competition, recruiters still post on job boards with the hope of stumbling upon qualified talent that their competition hasn’t gotten to first.

Instead, recruiters need to look beyond these traditional channels and take a more proactive approach to recruiting talent, otherwise known as outbound recruiting.

What is outbound recruiting?

Outbound recruiting represents a much more proactive approach to recruiting where talent acquisition teams don’t wait for talent to find their organization – they go out and find talent.

This approach can also take shape in a few ways, including open web sourcing for talent, directly emailing talent, and more. Often, the target audience for this approach is passive talent who need to be convinced of why a new opportunity and organization is better suited for them.

Why should you consider investing in outbound recruiting?

If we look at the market as a whole, we’re definitely experiencing a time when there are more jobs to fill than candidates available. As a result, talent acquisition teams will not have as many applicants as they normally would for open roles. 

While some organizations may not have faltered in terms of their results with their inbound recruiting approach, there’s an increasing trend toward outbound recruiting practices. Keep in mind your organization does not have to focus solely on one approach. 

Below, we’ve provided a checklist that might help you decide how much you’d like to invest in inbound and outbound recruiting 


Outbound Checklist Inbound Checklist
  • In industries, like tech and healthcare, roles are exceedingly difficult to fill. With a high demand for talent, recruiters are going to need to go out and engage talent with competitors doing the same.

For instance, hireEZ provides access to tech-specific platforms, like Kaggle, GitHub, and Stack Overflow along with tech-specific search parameters to help technical recruiters proactively find and engage talent.  

  • If your organization has an ATS, you’re likely sitting on a unique pool of potential hires. Yet, most ATS platforms are filled with outdated information, including recent experiences, skills, and personal projects. 

EZ Rediscovery with hireEZ helps recruiters dedupe, refresh and navigate candidate profiles during sourcing. 

  • If your company is interested in hypergrowth and hiring in short periods of time, relying solely on applicants won’t do the trick. It will be even more difficult for less well known companies. 

Those organizations will need to be proactive in looking for talent.

  • Looking to engage candidates directly in their inboxes instead of on platforms like LinkedIn? If you’re in a competition-heavy industry, you won’t be the only one reaching out to talent on places like LinkedIn. 

You’ll have to take the time to personalize outreach with access to candidate data and reach them directly.

  • Not struggling to receive applicants for open job postings or do not have a time crunch on filling a role.

If you’re receiving hundreds of qualified applicants for each job posting, chances are you won’t need to spend the extra time going out looking for talent. Also, if you don’t have time constraints you can afford to wait for talent to apply. 

  • Vested interest in building an employer brand and marketing efforts over an extended period of time.

It’s never a bad idea to constantly keep talent informed about your brand (whether or not they apply for a role) in the long term this will help branding so continuing marketing efforts is beneficial for that. Whether on social media or through other marketing campaigns, continue to push out content about your company that will strengthen your brand and make yourself top-of-mind for future applicants. 

What will you choose?

With every organization having different processes, priorities and challenges, it’s tough to give a one-size-fits-all solution for recruiting. However, with today’s candidate-driven market, the proactive approach to outbound recruiting is one that more organizations will need to consider as they try to secure talent.

Interested in seeing outbound recruiting in action? Find out how hireEZ can help.


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