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The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing for Recruiters

Posted On Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Author: David Armitage (Technical Director)

There are a multitude of different ways to segment, divide and taxonomize marketing up into categories. Online or offline, organic or paid, and as we will discuss in this article - inbound and outbound.

Every recruitment should have a strong strategy in place for both, which we will discuss, but first we need to look at what the differences between inbound and outbound marketing are.

What is the main difference?

As is always the way, the naming itself gives clues to the difference. Inbound marketing is more about passively attracting people to your business while outbound marketing is more about proactively reaching out to potential clients and candidates.

So what is inbound marketing?

With inbound marketing, the idea is to almost organically attract people to your business and gain their trust and pique their interest by exhibiting authority in your industry through the sharing of thoughts and ideas. This is mainly achieved through content marketing. Writing blog articles that solve your prospects problems, answer their questions or just generally entertain them with relevant news or information.

Being helpful is the aim of the game here. You are not trying to force a job placement down their throat or convince them that they need to hire someone and must enlist you to hire this person. What you are trying to achieve is brand building and gaining mindshare with them.

It is best to think of inbound marketing as more of a long game. You want to become a valuable resource to people that they can turn to when they need information, news or inspiration and eventually take up your services down the line.

You are gently guiding them down the path to being your client by proving yourself worthy through free offerings. Think blog articles or videos that address common pain points, one’s that will answer the questions they are punching into Google. You also want to be the source they turn to when they want to read up on what is new in the industry and get advice from in the form of articles or again, videos.

Inbound marketing is not about trying to push your services down their throats but building up a trusting audience.

Outbound marketing

As you can imagine by the antonymous naming, this is pretty much the opposite. In outbound marketing you are proactively seeking out clients and candidates.

Think more about traditional marketing like advertising, job posting and even cold communications such as calling out or emailing prospective clients to introduce yourself.

Disruption plays a big part in outbound marketing. You want to grab their attention, hold it and try to convert it into a custom. In this day and age this would most prominently be done using social media advertising for targeting prospective clients or candidates, whether it be paid or posting in groups and forums. In the olden days, print, visual and audio ads would have been the route to take. Of course, these are still available to you, but inferior.

While outbound marketing, when done well, can be extremely effective, it is hard to pull off because people’s eyes and minds are getting sharp to identifying and dismissing it. For this reason, if you are going to go down the outbound marketing route then you really need to make sure that you are doing so in a unique way that doesn’t alert the part of the viewers brain responsible for ad blindness.


Author: David Armitage (Technical Director)

10 Years+ experience building software, job boards, and websites for the recruitment industry.

Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation, a technical review of your website, or information regarding the services we offer.

You can reach me at or find me on LinkedIn.