Outbound Recruiting in 2023: Everything You Need to Know

Dylan Weiss

Dylan Weiss

8 min read

While recruitment has always been challenging, the pandemic shook the employment landscape, making it harder to find quality talent. Various economic circumstances like mass lay-offs and The Great Resignation have disrupted the labor market's demand and supply of candidates and jobs.

However, the sudden change in circumstances has encouraged recruiters to discover newer ways to find and retain quality candidates.

Since 73% of the global workforce is passive talent, there is some untapped potential that hiring managers can tap into. Since there are more open positions and a shortage of suitable candidates, recruiters today must shift from inbound recruiting to outbound recruiting to overcome their obstacles and meet their hiring goals.

This blog will provide an exhaustive rundown of outbound recruiting, when to leverage outbound hiring, and 10 effective outbound recruitment strategies to attract top talent.

What is Outbound Recruiting?

Outbound recruiting is a focused approach in which recruiters actively seek out and engage candidates for a new position. Instead of waiting for candidates to apply for job postings, recruiters directly reach out to them with the role.

Outbound recruiting gives hiring managers a chance to alter their recruiting strategy and focus on building a scalable action plan. Recruiters must apply a viable action plan  to prevent all the recruiting challenges brought on by the current economy.

All hiring managers should remember that the best talents will not apply to their open positions. Hence if you want to scout the best candidates, you need to kick things up a notch. While many talent acquisition specialists still rely on inbound recruiting, outbound hiring can get you the perfect candidate without depending on the conventional methods of candidate selection.

But first, before you employ outbound recruitment strategies: let's understand the key differences between inbound and outbound recruitment.

Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Recruiting

Inbound and outbound hiring processes are two major recruiting strategies used in talent acquisition. But what do they mean, and which form of recruiting is better for your company? Here's a quick breakdown of both concepts with their key differences:

Inbound Recruiting

  • Recruiters can attract talent through job postings
  • Hiring teams wait for the right talent to apply
  • Lesser qualified candidates in the pipeline
  • It is a candidate-centric process

Outbound Recruiting

  • Involves recruiters reaching out to candidates for the role
  • Recruiters take control and contact the candidates
  • More qualified candidates in the talent pipeline
  • Recruiters have control over the process

To summarize: inbound recruitment is a traditional approach to hiring, whereas outbound recruiting enables recruiters to take control of the hiring strategy and only select the best-suited candidates for the role in a competitive and candidate-driven labor market.

When Should You Leverage Outbound Recruitment?

To avoid lagging in today's struggle for top talent, recruiters and companies may have to shift from inbound to outbound hiring once they face these challenges:

Predicting your talent pipeline metric becomes a struggle.

You cannot predict when an employee will resign because he landed a lucrative job. You are unsure of the number of applicants in your database or whether the candidates in your database would still have an interest in the role.

It is difficult to predict pipeline numbers when a recruiting process solely depends on the applicant flow, especially if your company is relatively unknown.

However, outbound recruitment puts you in control by empowering you to discover the suitable candidates you require and when you need them.

Search for qualified applicants becomes difficult.

The dilemma with inbound recruitment is that you can't always be sure that the candidates who apply will have relevant experience. Not all candidates tick off the list of every criterion in a job description. Having said that, you cannot consider underqualified candidates for specific roles.

On the other hand, with an outbound recruitment approach, you can target best-fit talents and engage with them, keeping in mind multiple parameters such as location, skill set, job title, past or current company, etc.

Need to achieve a shorter time-to-hire process.

When a company has a job opening, it doesn't always mean that you always will have a sea of applications; sometimes, there will be fewer applicants than you expected. Candidates may postpone or cancel interviews and calls or delay decisions for multiple reasons.

In this scenario, the outbound hiring approach is the best way to shorten this period without affecting the candidate experience.

Desire to strengthen the culture of diversity in the workplace.

One of the toughest yet in-demand recruitment trends in 2022 is maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Outbound recruiting can come in handy when addressing diversity gaps. You can target certain sections in your search or use blind hiring techniques to eliminate unconscious bias.

Unfamiliarity with the candidate market.

The talent market is unpredictable, with swift changes or trends within the industry. Not being able to read the candidate market and not keeping up with its ever-changing trend could result in wasting time and resources.

The outbound recruiting strategy goes hand in hand with market exploration. You can build the most successful search strategy with insights from the talent pool's aggregated data.

How to Use Outbound Recruiting to Speed Up Hiring Processes

Outbound recruitment is similar to sales because many of the variables involved in sales and outbound recruitment operate on the same principles, such as contacting a prospect via cold outreach and encouraging them to consider your offer.

When a recruiter implements an outbound recruitment campaign, there are two main steps:

  1. Building a Talent Pool through various job platforms
  2. Reaching out via cold emailing

Create a talent pool to speed up outbound recruitment.

Before you begin conducting candidate outreach, it's crucial to prioritize building a quality talent pool. Creating the perfect talent pool starts with understanding the job and making an ideal candidate persona. Creating a reliable talent pool takes years of sincerely fostering and nurturing relationships and high-level social sourcing expertise. Here are a few steps to get a headstart:

Determine the perfect platform.

Many recruiters primarily choose to use LinkedIn Search to scout prospective talent. However, this generally doesn't work very well because, aside from you, tons of other recruiters are probably shortlisting the same candidates on LinkedIn. Hence, there is immense competition for that one great candidate on LinkedIn.

However, several qualified candidates today are present on various other platforms that they use regularly. Your candidate persona will help you find these platforms and then find the relevant candidates present.

A few examples of platforms apart from LinkedIn consisting of qualified candidates:

Apart from the platforms above, you can also look at relevant talent communities formed, such as LinkedIn groups and slack channels, to source prospective candidates.

Leverage AI Sourcing.

While Boolean search is an effective way to find relevant candidates on various platforms across the web, using AI sourcing tools makes the need to learn Boolean search obsolete.

Given that it can take years to master the art of Boolean search, AI sourcing drastically and instantaneously reduces a recruiter's workload, helping them obtain results like the most expert-level writers of Boolean strings. This makes AI a superior way of sourcing candidates for most recruiters.

Covey is an augmented sourcing tool that will help you get quality candidates weekly with configurable custom preferences to accelerate your sourcing process.

Schedule a demo with us to find out more.

Find Contact Information.

Once you have determined the platform and used the ideal sourcing tool to find a relevant candidate, the last step to building a talent pool is gathering the contact details, such as email, phone, etc., to establish contact. Several profiles on platforms like Dribble, StackOverflow, GitHub, and LinkedIn contain email addresses that can be used. You can also look at the company-specific email addresses and try to guess the prospect's email.

Reaching out to boost conversions.

Sourcing quality candidates is one part of the process but getting a response from a passive candidate is a different story altogether. An effective outreach strategy helps you increase conversions. Cold emailing is incredibly effective and beneficial for connecting with prospective candidates.

However, the average cold email response rate is 1%, which means out of 100, only 1 person will open your email, and the other 99 may not even give it a second glance.

Following are some things to remember while reaching out to prospective candidates:

Personalize your emails.

Never send a generic email message to all candidates. Keep personalizing your emails as you send them to various candidates. Research their previous work and mention it in your emails while keeping it concise and to the point. The candidate will feel important, and the chances of getting a response will increase.

Follow up.

Always follow up on your first email if there is no response. The highest response rate of candidates is when you send the second or third email. Ensure your follow-up email is not aggressive. Send the email in the same thread so the candidate knows the first email they probably missed.

Track metrics.

Track email opens, link clicks, and time spent on links (if possible). It will help you optimize your content and ultimately improve your response rates.

Use tools to streamline the process.

Cold emailing and Cold DMing on LinkedIn can be lengthy and time-consuming, especially when sending out messages manually.

With recruitment automation tools available, you can launch outbound recruitment campaigns at scale and reach out to multiple qualified candidates in just a few simple steps without spending too much time or money.

Covey's One-click Outreach feature allows you to outreach more in half the time. You can discover emails, then create sequencing or email drip campaigns for cold outreach.

Book a Demo with us to see Covey in action.

10 Tips to Run a Successful Outbound Recruiting Campaign

Now that you know the importance of outbound hiring in today's recruitment landscape, Here are ten fail-proof tips for running an outbound recruitment campaign:

Shift your mindset from reactive to proactive.

The key to running a successful outbound recruiting campaign is to focus on changing your perspective. It's about moving from the "post and pray" inbound approach to a more proactive, strategic, and scalable process. A successful outbound recruiter needs to think strategically about how they can find, engage and attract that talent. It's all about crafting and executing a campaign plan to successfully bring jobs to the right candidate instead of waiting for them to find those jobs.

Source the Right Candidates.

Your campaign's overall success mainly depends on the talent you are sourcing. Suppose you are conducting outreach by emailing everyone on your email list; in that case, your efforts will be unsuccessful. Plus, if you end up with too many bounced emails, you risk your sender's reputation, and your domain could be blacklisted.

Instead, leverage platforms like Linkedin to build your email list. By mindfully selecting the potential candidates based on your criteria, you can easily personalize your emails, boosting your chances of engagement.

After collecting information on the potential candidates, you can use email finder tools to find and verify email addresses. For instance, Covey is an excellent LinkedIn prospecting tool that can provide verified information such as personal and professional emails about LinkedIn users.

While in the sourcing phase of your campaign, try to find instances to interact with potential candidates. You may have a mutual connection that can help you along the way. Or you can engage with their recent posts to express your interest.

Reaching out to prospective candidates via building relatability can dramatically increase the chances of your email standing out in their inboxes.

Do Your Research.

Before reaching out to candidates; you need to analyze their professional work experience and dive deeply into their background, interests, industry experience, etc.

This step is crucial because if you accidentally email someone for a software developer job when their niche is in data engineering, that email will instantly be deleted or, worse, marked as spam, which impacts your sender's reputation.

Here are a few questions to answer when you're researching potential candidates:

  • What are their skills and qualifications?
  • Does their work experience align with the role's requirements?
  • What is their current employment status?
  • What might their career trajectory look like in the long run?

Your research must help gather relevant information about the candidate for the position. By gaining clarity on a prospect's background, you can ensure that you are reaching out to the right person.

Clean Your Email List.

It's important to clear out and verify your email list to get the best results for the campaign. Your email list could be a problem while outbound recruiting if filled with spam traps or incorrect/inactive email addresses. Such issues cause your email deliverability to suffer.

Email verification is validating the accuracy and quality of the email addresses on your list. The email verification process begins by checking the syntax of the email address and deleting the emails that no longer bear relevance to the campaign.

Personalize Your Subject Line and Body Text.

Personalizing your outbound recruitment campaign will increase your response rate. If you use a cookie-cutter approach, it will seem impersonal, and as a result, your engagement rate will suffer. Thus, writing an effective outreach email is vital to getting a response from your prospective candidate.

You need to tailor your subject line and email content accordingly; this is where your research comes in handy. For instance, mention how their current or previous job responsibilities align with your role.

Every email you send out will strengthen your connection with the candidate. If the candidate has published articles or LinkedIn posts, invest the time to read them and mention that you found the read insightful.

When the candidate feels like you actually care about them and have taken the time to do your homework, they will feel appreciated. Remember not to overlook the subject line since it plays a huge role in the campaign’s success.

Here are a few factors to consider when crafting the perfect subject line:

  • Crisp and Clear
  • Personalization by adding their name
  • Non-spammy language

A candidate's overall experience determines the success of your recruiting efforts. Besides that, their interaction with you also gives you an idea of the image they form of your organization, directly impacting how they will talk about your organization in the future.

Continue Refining Your Strategy.

Your outbound recruitment strategy should constantly be evolving. Implementing A/B testing is an excellent approach to maximizing your efforts.

Once you have data from the campaign, analyze what's working and what's not. Your strategy should keep evolving once you get deeper insights. Regardless, here are 5 essential features that your strategy must have:

  • Establish an initial connection with the potential candidate. Carefully explain the role you want, and provide clear job descriptions and details.
  • Expand upon the job description to increase intrigue. Explain the responsibilities in detail so they know what the job entails.
  • Showcase your corporate brand by highlighting company culture.
  • If they aren't interested in the role, don't appear pushy, as this may put them off from applying to your company entirely.

Highlight the Benefits Of The Job.

When crafting your cold email, consider what your potential candidate would find exciting about the role. It would help if you showcased your value proposition, i.e., why they should care about your email or organization in the first place.

When writing a recruitment email, you try to "sell" that particular position to them. So before you begin, ask yourself, "why should they care?" Ensure you include the position's benefits (higher salary, health insurance, monthly allowance, remote work model, etc.)

As a recruiter, you must establish your organization's uniqueness to the candidate so the candidate feels comfortable in making the decision to join your organization.

Add a CTA at the end.

Your email should include the next step for the candidate, and a good call-to-action is vital for a cold email.

Some examples of effective CTAs include:

  • Can we set up a quick call to discuss this further?
  • If you are interested, let's schedule a meeting.
  • Reply to this email in case you have any questions.

Don't overcomplicate your CTA by including unnecessary items such as 'Add me on LinkedIn,' 'Read our company history here,' 'Click here to learn more about the job,' and 'Watch this video on our company culture.’ Too many CTAs will confuse the candidate, and they might click away entirely: that’s not the action you want them to take!

Once you have built trust with the candidate and gauged their interest level, you can add more CTAs you know they will engage with.

Focus On Analytics.

Numbers are everything! You can optimize your outbound recruiting efforts by continuously checking your campaign analytics: no. of sends, no. of opens, no. of replies, and conversion rates (indicated interest in openrole).

Outbound recruitment requires patience and constant effort. For example, if you observe candidates are more responsive when you use visuals than emails with no visuals, use more visuals in your content. A/B testing is an excellent way to determine what works for your campaign.

Include A Follow-Up Email.

Your prospective candidate might have missed your email due to receiving too many in a day. Follow-up emails can dramatically increase reply rates. Do not over-complicate the emails or include large chunks of text.

Here is how you can make your follow-up emails more effective by guaranteeing responses:

  • Mention your previous touchpoint
  • Offer additional details about your organization and the position
  • Express your interest in the candidate and highlight the skills that make them a good fit for the role

How can Covey help in Outbound Recruitment?

Outbound sourcing is a must-add to your recruitment engine. If you aim to run a successful outbound hiring campaign, A/B test with different sourcing strategies and ensure you keep a record of your findings to perfect your outbound recruitment strategy. You can use a solution like Covey to automate these processes.

With Covey's Augmented Sourcing, scale up recruiting resources quickly without relying on contingency agencies or adding a heavy load of full-time sourcing hires.

You can give your hiring team and leadership complete visibility into candidate pipeline progress, recruiting team performance, and diversity goals. Covey also makes it easy to contact potential hires with our name-drop templates for significantly enhanced reply rates.

Want to see Covey in action? Schedule a demo with us now and streamline your outbound sourcing efforts.

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