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What is Inbound Recruiting?

How your company can attract, engage, and hire top talent today.

Talent is a Business Priority...

Hiring is critical to every company’s future. Whether you’re a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you need the right people to grow your business. But finding top talent is hard; business leaders globally list hiring as their top concern (over both revenue and customer growth). The best employees out there aren’t always looking for a job, and if they are, they might not be considering your company as a place to grow their career. That’s why recruiting is no longer an HR priority, but a business priority.

...But Recruiting Has Changed

The way people find, research, and apply for jobs has changed. Companies used to be in control of the recruiting process, but now, over 75% of job seekers start their search on Google (CareerBuilder, 2015). It’s easier and faster than ever to discover what a workplace is like, which positions are available, and even find salary information. As a result, employer brand is paramount. Recruiters need to think more like marketers to create an engaging, helpful candidate experience.

What is Inbound Recruiting?

Inbound recruiting creates a remarkable candidate experience through employer brand content and marketing strategies that help companies build relationships with top talent. By taking an inbound marketing approach to recruiting, companies can connect with passive and active job seekers, engage with their network, and delight candidates throughout the application process.

Major Themes


Content Creation

Are you telling your employer brand story? Help job seekers answer questions and get an authentic look inside your organization by creating content that’s valuable for your candidate persona.

Lifecycle Marketing

What are the chances a top saleswoman or engineer applies for a job on their first visit to your site? Pretty low. Think like a marketer to nurture relationships and stay in touch over time.


Job seekers and passive candidates learn about your company from a variety of platforms and channels. Meet them where they are by taking your employer brand to them.


To understand how inbound recruiting impacts your company’s bottom line, you need the full, integrated picture of where your candidates are coming from. Dig into your recruiting analytics often.


Every organization has a unique set of values, motivations, and perspectives. Your company culture is your competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting, and it should be the true north of your inbound efforts.

Inbound Marketing Meets Recruiting

Does the inbound idea sound familiar? HubSpot coined the term inbound marketing over a decade ago to describe a new way of doing marketing. We realized that while advertisers used to be in control, consumers were tuning out traditional, interruptive marketing and going online to find what they were looking for. The marketing playbook was broken and HubSpot created a methodology and software to help businesses attract, engage, and delight their customers in this new world.
Today, tens of thousands of businesses globally use inbound marketing to grow and delight their customers. That's why the original inbound playbook is the blueprint for inbound recruiting.


The graphic above shows the four stages of inbound marketing. (Learn more about each stage here.) In the recruiting world, instead of attracting, engaging, and delighting customers, the goal is to attract, engage, and delight your candidates. Borrowing from the inbound methodology, below is the inbound recruiting methodology featuring the four stages of a candidate’s journey, and the interactions they can have with your employer brand along the way. (Note the tools are listed under the action where they first come into play, but that’s not the only place they’re applicable! Several tools, like events and Glassdoor, can be essential in several stages of the methodology.)



When looking at this graphic, think about your company’s candidate experience at each stage. How do job seekers first find out about your company? Maybe you have a careers blog that pulls your audience in, social media content that gets you on passive candidates' radars, or an up-to-date Glassdoor page. Once someone has visited your jobs site for the first time, are there opportunities for them to engage and interact? Subscribing to a careers blog or signing up for your talent network are examples of converting that interest into action.

Applying for a job is a big decision, so nurturing relationships with leads who have shown interest in your company is important. Emailing your leads helpful content about your culture and application process, inviting them to recruiting events, or giving them the opportunity to talk to someone at your company through live chat are all ways to provide value in the decision-making process.

Lastly, how can you turn candidates into promoters? Creating a remarkable interview and application experience, asking for feedback via surveys, and giving candidates who don't receive an offer the opportunity to stay in touch are steps to creating a community that will refer friends to your company or re-apply in the future.

See Inbound Recruiting in Action

Visit HubSpot’s jobs website to see how we're hoping to create a more engaging, helpful candidate experience using inbound.