In a market where ‘every client is hiring’ and there is a shortage of candidates available, should your business dedicate more time to inbound recruitment?
Recruiters in a wide range of industries are currently faced with a significant challenge when it comes to filling roles for clients; there simply aren’t enough candidates on the market.
Instead of struggling to find clients who want to work with a recruitment agency, many recruiters are now inundated with roles that they no longer have the candidates to fill. Businesses with internal recruitment departments are also having the same issue, as it appears that talented candidates are few and far between.
Certain roles in the engineering industry have always seen shortages of the right kinds of candidates, but now this issue has become widespread. Not only are clients trying to fill new vacancies, but they’re also losing existing employees and struggling to replace them.
There are a variety of factors thought to be causing this candidate shortage, from the effects of the pandemic to changing attitudes towards work and candidate expectations when it comes to applying for new jobs. But at this stage, the ‘why’ isn’t important; what matters is the companies find a way to tackle the problem and ensure that they’re still sourcing top talent and remaining competitive.
The problem isn’t necessarily that there simply aren’t any talented candidates out there, it’s that businesses don’t know how to go about attracting them. In order to stay afloat, the question raised is whether businesses should spend more time ‘selling’ their business to potential employees through inbound recruiting, instead of chasing after dwindling numbers of candidates.
In this blog post, we consider both sides of the argument for dedicating time to working out how best to sell and improve your company’s image as a way to combat the current candidate shortage in recruitment.
What is Inbound Recruiting?
Inbound recruiting is a term that was coined from the concept of inbound marketing, which is the process of ‘selling’ your brand and your business by building a positive image of the company or organisation, instead of just advertising your services and aggressively trying to attract the attention of potential customers. By building a reputation that paints your brand in a positive light, potential candidates will be encouraged to apply for and accept jobs without too much active effort on your part.
Inbound marketing and recruitment work by attracting people’s attention, engaging them and then providing value. As a business trying to attract potential candidates, this means crafting a reputation that your company is a good place to work, that you’re a key figure in your industry sector, and that your employees are satisfied and motivated by the work they do.
As an organisation in the engineering industry, inbound recruitment techniques could include publishing content or attending events that establish you as an influential voice in your sector, sharing social media content that illustrates what working for you is like, or implementing methods of receiving and responding to employee feedback to continuously improve the way your business works.
What Can You Gain From Inbound Recruitment?
If you already have a marketing strategy, chances are that there are already some inbound marketing techniques you are using to advertise your brand. If so, it shouldn’t be too difficult to tailor these approaches to focus on attracting potential candidates for positions at your company, instead of marketing to potential customers or clients.
Whether you’re experienced with inbound recruiting and promoting a positive brand image or not, there’s a lot to gain from the approach. The more time you spend on inbound recruitment techniques, the more avenues you’ll have to potentially attract new candidates, so it’s definitely worth dedicating more of your time instead of spending resources chasing after dwindling numbers of potential employees.
Perhaps the most important thing you’ll gain from working on improving your brand image is that the applicants you’ll receive for roles will be of a higher quality. If your business values and approach to working are clear through the content you share, you’re much more likely to attract the attention of people who share these values and are genuinely passionate about working for you, meaning that you’re less likely to waste time on candidates who won’t be the right fit.
Inbound marketing will also improve your brand image because it will increase the variety of potential candidates who hear about your company. Content such as blog posts, whitepapers, videos and even social media posts can all be shared widely and quickly across a range of digital platforms, allowing you to reach talented individuals to who you may not otherwise have had access.
Another benefit of this approach is that it means that less time is spent conducting individual conversations with potential candidates, or chasing up prospects and trying to get people to return your messages. The time spent on inbound recruiting techniques is much more impactful on the business as a whole, making this a much more efficient approach.
Finally, the impact of inbound recruitment methods lasts much longer than traditional outbound approaches. Not only will it hopefully attract more potential candidates in the short term, but it builds a positive brand image that cannot easily be altered, and as long as you have an inbound strategy in place, you’ll continue to reap the benefits.
What are the Drawbacks?
Of course, there are some drawbacks to spending more of your time working on selling your brand image through inbound recruitment than your attention on sourcing new candidates.
The first is that it’s not as fast as simply going out and finding people to offer a job opportunity to. Setting up an inbound recruitment strategy will need significant time and resources, and you will likely have to wait a while for the strategy to start generating interest after that. However, with the limited number of candidates on the market at the moment, the time difference between the two is smaller than usual.
Also bear in mind that, whilst inbound recruitment has a long-lasting impact, it also requires continuous upkeep. You need to regularly distribute content, engage with and respond to your audience and keep ahead of your competitors if you want to maintain a positive image, and this isn’t something that can be done in one go and forgotten about.
Another limitation is that inbound recruitment isn’t as effective when you’re trying to hire for a specific role. It’s great when you’re just looking to expand your business and hire skilled employees that will be a good culture fit, but if you’re looking for specific knowledge and experience then inbound marketing methods won’t be able to convey these specific requirements.
5 Tips for Successful Inbound Recruiting
Make Your Values Clear
First things first; if you want to attract candidates who will be the perfect fit for your company, you need to clearly illustrate what your business objectives and culture are. A memorable brand image has clear values and goals, which you need to express through everything from your website to your email content.
As a business, what do you prioritise when it comes to the product or service you provide? What kind of environment do you create to ensure that this is delivered, and what kinds of employees work best in this environment? Answer these questions, and you’ll have a good idea of what your values as an organisation are.
Establish an Employer Value Proposition
At the heart of every employer brand is an employer value proposition. This is essentially the employee experience that your company offers those who work with you, including what makes your business unique, the values it stands for, and the benefits of working there.
An employer value proposition is a key part of inbound recruiting, as it helps you to understand what candidates seek to gain from working for your company. It will inform a lot of the inbound marketing material you share and also come in useful once you have the attention of potential candidates and need to move them through the recruitment process.
Identify Your Ideal Candidates
An essential part of successful marketing is understanding the audience you are trying to target, and the same is true of inbound recruitment. You want to build a reputation that will attract the kind of candidates you want to employ, so you need to understand what makes these individuals tick if you’re going to try and catch their attention.
You may already have experience creating customer or client profiles, and you can follow a similar kind of process when identifying your ideal candidates. Get a clear understanding of what these candidates are interested in and look for in a prospective employer, and then try and demonstrate this in the content you share and the presence you establish in your industry sector.
Craft a Strong Social Media Presence
One of the best methods of inbound recruiting is demonstrating what it is like to work at your company through social media. For some businesses this may involve getting active on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, whilst for others it may involve posting regularly on Linkedin and getting other employees to do the same to share their experiences of working at your company.
The key to successful social media marketing is little, often, and variety. In a market where traditional recruitment methods are quickly becoming ineffective, it’s important to try other digital strategies like this one to stay connected to top talent.
Play the Long Game
Remember that inbound recruiting doesn’t yield instant results, so be prepared to have to wait patiently for the right candidates to come to you. Also be aware that this candidate attraction strategy works best when you nurture relationships with potential candidates, instead of instantly pushing for them to accept a role. Focus on promoting your business in a positive light, and you’ll be a top choice for potential candidates when they are ready to start looking for a new role.
What’s the Verdict?
At the end of the day, the answer to whether your business should dedicate more time to inbound recruiting in the current recruitment market really depends on whether you have the time and the resources. It’s definitely an approach that will pay off in the long term, but you have to be willing to wait for the results to start to trickle in and let your reputation build organically. This may not be an option for everyone, but unless the current state of the market improves, there are few other alternatives for attracting talented candidates to fill your roles.
If you’d like the help of a recruitment industry expert specialising in hiring for business in the electronics and embedded systems engineering sector, KO2 can help. Get in touch to find out more about how we help our clients to find the perfect candidates for their business.