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Not enough Applicants? Why You Should Stop Hiring, and Start Marketing

Today we are going to take a step away from hiring, and instead talk a little about sales and marketing.

Have I confused you yet? I promise it will all make sense in the end, but you're going to have to read through the whole post to get there. First let me explain a couple things about marketing. When it comes to marketing, there are really two main methods: inbound and outbound.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is where you go out and find a group of people and cold call or cold email them. Most of the time, this is the least liked form of marketing for marketers and consumers alike. With outbound marketing you are going out trying to convince someone that they need what you have to sell. This form of marketing looks and feels a lot like the pushy door-to-door salesmen everyone tends to avoid.

Inbound Marketing

The second method of marketing is inbound marketing. This specific marketing technique really came into its own in the last 10-20 years with the rise of the internet and social media. Inbound marketing is all about putting information out there that attracts people who are actively looking for what you have to offer.

This method of marketing includes leads generated from sources like SEO (search engine optimization) where you're using keywords and that's how they find you. Usually people are out searching for a solution for their problem, they find what you have to offer, then they come to you and say, "please tell me more". Inbound marketing tends to generate more qualified leads, that are further along the sales process and more likely to buy.

So, what does this have to do with Hiring? In my mind? Everything.

Video: Stop Hiring and Start Marketing

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2 Ways to Approach Hiring - Outbound & Inbound

Like marketing, there are really only two ways to approach hiring. There is outbound hiring, like what a recruiter might do, and inbound marketing, like what human resource departments usually do.

Outbound Hiring

Outbound hiring would be where a recruiter would go out and find a person who is probably already happy at their current job and begin engaging them in a cold call or email. Once they've been talking to this candidate for a while, the recruiter is tasked with convincing them to leave their current company and join a different company. They want the candidate to think the grass is greener on the recruiter's side of the fence, in short.

Inbound Hiring

Inbound hiring is probably going to sound a little more familiar to you. An inbound hiring plan would look more like a company writing a job ad and posting it to a job board. Inbound hiring, like inbound marketing tends to work a little better because when the jobseeker is engaged, they have already decided that they're unhappy where they're at and they already believe the grass is greener on the other side.

Which hiring method should I choose?

1. Decide which way to hire.

1. Decide which one you're going to do… but don't feel like you have to choose just one. While I think the most effective way of hiring is the inbound hiring method, I know that there are a lot of reasons to choose both. If you decide that outbound marketing is the best fit for your company, you'll want to find a good recruiter. However, I do believe that most organizations work much better using an inbound hiring approach. If you decide that inbound marketing is what your company needs, then move on to step two.

2. What makes inbound hiring work?

Generally speaking it's the same thing that makes inbound marketing work. With inbound marketing you need to know your target, so for inbound hiring be sure to know your target applicant pool. Inbound marketing is always putting out compelling content, so with inbound hiring when you write your job ads make sure you're not just writing a big legal list of job requirements, it should be a compelling story about your company.

For inbound marketing you want to make it easy to engage with you, in inbound hiring you can provide this by using a short application process. Finally the most important part of inbound marketing is to follow up and drive the prospects through the rest of the journey. When you're hiring don't leave your applicants hanging, make sure you're being respectful of their time let them know where they are at in the process.

To sum this all up, inbound marketing is the same as inbound hiring. If you're not already, you should be looking at how you can improve by proactively and intentionally setting up your hiring process for the best results.

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