Posted in / Insights

Recruitment Business Development: Use Inbound!

Recruitment firms, without leads you are nothing! Sure, there will always be people looking for jobs and there will always be vacancies to fill. But if you don’t have a strategy to attract either clients or candidates, how do you expect to hit your financial targets?

The ugly truth is nobody gets their full bonus + commission without hitting the right numbers!

If you want to turn your company into a market leader, you need a recruitment business development plan. And guess what, we know a method that works!

Inbound or Outbound?

What’s the opposite of inbound? Outbound of course! It’s a strategy that has been used for decades and we’re sure it forms part of your recruitment sales process. Recruitment firms have been practising the art of cold calling for some time and we don’t expect that to stop.

All marketing is based on an assumption. The trouble with cold-marketing is you’re assuming someone wants to buy your product without engaging with your company. This is why you get a frosty reception when your prospect picks the phone up or replies to an email!


Recruitment Business Development: Planting The Inbound Seed

Some businesses aren’t looking for a recruitment firm to hire for them. Some people aren’t looking for a job and they don’t want to be contacted.

Whilst it’s your job to persuade them, picking up the phone and entering cold-pitch robot mode has a low success rate. Prospects have to be eased into a decision, they want that warm feeling when you contact them. And that’s where inbound excels.

Inbound puts you in control of your marketing strategy, it gets the best leads because the people who are engaging with you are interested in your content. Here’s how inbound marketing can enhance your business development in recruitment.

Inbound vs. Content Marketing: What’s The Difference?

Inbound = The philosophy. Content Marketing = Practising the philosophy. As we’ll show you in this article, inbound is the philosophy of modern marketing. You have the tools to make your customers come to you. You don't have to chase them.

Content marketing is how we capture those customers. Releasing useful, free content puts you ahead of the competition as you’re a thought leader.

inbound marketing template

What’s the Inbound Methodology?

When you’re writing your inbound recruitment business development plan, you should do it with these principles in mind.



How are your consultants going to persuade your prospects to recruit with you? By making yourself an attractive proposition. How do you do that? By solving their problems.

Here are a few reasons a business may decide to employ a recruiter, do you have easily accessible information that solves the problem?

  • They can’t promote from within (broad)
  • They don’t have a recruitment strategy (broad)
  • An employee is retiring and they need to get the right member of staff quickly, one that has a very specific technical skills (niche)

We’ve all been there. We’re typing endless search queries into Google and finally, we hit that one page that tells us everything we need to know about a topic. That’s when you’ve hit the jackpot, you’ve demonstrated value and your prospect will want to know more!

quick brainstorm

Think about it, what makes your customer tick? What problems do they need solving? What’s going well for them? There are hundreds of questions left unanswered, and you can give them solutions.


That’s the first step, getting someone on a page with valuable content is the easy part. But the chances are your customer will have more than one question on their journey. So can you direct them to a resource that will solve another problem?

Let’s say that your prospect’s staff turnover is high and they have an overworked HR Assistant finding the wrong candidates. What’s your goal? You want them to outsource. What’s their goal? To lower staff turnover.

What premium resource could you offer them to lower it? How about an ebook, ‘10 ways to lower your staff turnover’. Obviously, your content needs to persuade them to outsource without being too direct.

The blogs entice the user, the free content offers are the honeytrap! (Excuse the menacing metaphor!). It’s the golden piece of information you need. You have to rely on the customer to find you and once they have, it’s your job to convince them your service is right for them.


Once your prospect has downloaded the information, you’ll obtain their contact details. Once you have their contact details, you can send more relevant content to them and nurture them through the marketing funnel (see below).

This targeted method saves your recruiters the hassle of cold calling and emailing from random contact lists. It saves time, it’s also a great conversation starter and clients will be encouraged by your interest in their company.


The great thing about recruitment? It’s never over! Companies will always need to recruit new members of staff and candidates will always want new jobs, so you need to consider that in your marketing plan.

What services do you offer after the process is complete? A 3-month review? Free onboarding workshops? Whatever your offer, you need to give your client extra value.

Giving added value means they're more likely to a. Recommend you, or b. Come back and use the service again.

top tip

You can also apply this principle to leads you have lost at different stages of the journey. If you failed to convert, were you missing a piece of content they needed? Asking yourself these tough questions will improve your inbound journey.

The Marketing Funnel

Working in sales, you probably have some sort of defined funnel that your clients pass through to determine if they’re a fit. As you can see from the image below, the inbound journey is different. A combination of understanding the journey a buyer goes on and categorising the stages of that journey make up the inbound marketing funnel.

Understanding The Buyer’s Journey

If inbound is replacing outbound, then that means the way buyers buy is changing too. The buyer's journey is a term we use to describe how people buy. We can split the new buyer’s journey into 3 stages, awareness, consideration and decision. This will help you understand the psychology of the buyer and what decisions they make.

recruitment inbound marketing

1. Awareness

Your prospect is aware they need a hire. They may have had to sack someone for gross misconduct, been ignoring an empty space for a while or planning for the future. Whatever their problem is, they’re going to turn to Google at some point and enter a search query.

Do you know what they’ll enter? And more importantly, are you there when they enter it?

2. Consideration

The buyer is downloading a lot of your resources! They know the skills to look for in their hire, they know how to analyse their CVs and answer interview questions. But the job isn't complete yet, they might have resources from another company.

Wait a second! How am I going to get their business if I’m teaching them how to do it? Transparency creates trust, buyer’s want to research what they’re buying. Basically, by showing them how to do it, you’re showing them how you do it.

3. Decision

You’re on the shortlist, time to start peacocking! This is where you need to show you’re the best at what you do, and why the client should hire you! Do you hire the best media professionals? Tell them! Are you cheaper than your competitors? Tell them. It’s the most salesy part of the process and it’s where you’ll convert your leads to customers.

Understanding Lifecycle Stages

inbound marketing funnel

As a sales professional you will understand the art of prospecting leads, when to push for a sale and when to walk away. So this part of inbound marketing for recruiters should be easy to understand.

The marketing funnel allows you to determine what stage of the buyer’s journey your prospects are at, meaning you know which content to push to them so they move to the next stage.


You will lose leads. Inbound is a method of obtaining better quality leads, but it doesn’t mean you should do business with all of them.

What Are The Different Lifecycle Stages

Visitor - A visitor is someone that looks at one of your pages, this could be someone that’s interested in your content.

Lead - A lead is a visitor that’s left their contact details and downloaded a premium resource. Whether they’re worth following up is not yet known.

Marketing Qualified Lead - Leads that are qualified by the marketing team! If you don’t have a marketing team, who qualifies them? These are leads that are showing signs of deeper engagement. Maybe they’ve downloaded quite a few of your resources.

Sales Qualified Leads - Leads qualified by the sales team! Once marketing passes on your leads, the sales team have to determine whether they’re worth contacting. You must align your sales and marketing teams and ensure they read from the same goal-sheet.

Opportunities - It’s persuasion time. This is where your sales team take the lead and nurture the prospect into a paying customer.

Customers - This is where you reach your goal! More customers = more profit, celebrate the success of your recruitment business development plan.

You would then move on and learn how to use lifecycle stages with your contacts, but that will happen when you start implementing the inbound process.

Understanding Buyer Personas

As inbound is the philosophy then customers are gods! We should be praising and worshipping them, finding out their desires and what they want from us. Don’t pray to them though!

further reading

If you want to learn how to create a buyer persona for recruitment, read this blog!

3 Inbound Fundamentals for Recruitment Firms

  1. Inbound starts with the leader - A business’s core values are communicated through its leader. If you’re a stressed out, uptight CEO that hates his job and sees customers as pound signs, what will your employees and customers believe? Inbound changes that approach, see your customers as people that need your help. If you do that, your consultants will deliver a service that’s human and your customers will view you as someone they can trust. Inbound isn't marketing tactic, it’s a business level decision. You’re saying ‘we’re open, we want to help you and we’re willing to listen’.
  2. Know what you’re great at, and how it helps people - If your answer is making money, you’re on the wrong page! If your answer is recruitment services, you’re wrong! What does your company offer that nobody else does, and what do you clients say about you? If you save your clients time and money, helping them increase revenue with skilled members of staff, that’s what you do! And that’s what you should be showing your inbound clients.
  3. Have a vision - The best inbound companies have a strong vision. Uhhm. Ahh. We don’t know. If you can’t tell your customers your vision, how do you expect any of them to buy into it? This is why it’s absolutely essential you buy into the inbound method, it’s harder to sell if nobody believes in your philosophy.

How Do I ‘Do’ Inbound Marketing for Recruiters?

Great, you understand the principles of inbound marketing for recruiters, and if you’ve come this far, you must be intrigued! There are lots of tactics to implement inbound into your recruitment business development plan, blogs, social media and recruitment videos. But remember, adopting a few tactics won’t work, you have to commit!

inbound marketing template

Share This