Based on his research of companies that went from good to great, author Jim Collins advocates for keeping a position open rather than hiring a person who isn’t perfect for it. A bad hire simply costs a company too much—as much as or more than $17,000. 

Finding the right hire in an industry with a skills gap requires a two-pronged approach: undertaking long-term measures to eliminate the gap and adopting inbound recruiting strategies to fill positions in the short term. 

Strategies to address the skills gap include building out pipelines, developing apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs, and increasing diversity efforts. But when a business can’t wait years to fill a position, inbound recruiting can more quickly attract prospective hires. 

Think of how much effort firms put into finding customers. The sales team generates new leads and nurtures customer relationships. Senior staff members likely devote significant effort to promoting the visibility of the company and maintaining customer relationships. 

The marketing team cultivates the brand and builds a community that may be interested in the company’s products and services. 

Many of the strategies used to market to prospective clients also apply to reaching prospective employees. That’s the power of inbound recruiting. Here’s how to do it. 

Set Objectives 
An inbound recruiting campaign has to begin with goals and objectives. It’s impossible to know if inbound recruiting efforts have been successful without first identifying the hiring goals. 

Understand the Audience 
What does a project manager or engineer want in a workplace? Where do prospective hires spend their time, both online and offline? What events do they attend? Which people or organizations do they respect? 

The better a company understands the people it wants to hire, the more likely it’ll be able to reach them and demonstrate why the company is the right place for them to work. 

Create a Marketing Plan 
Develop a plan that will position the company to reach prospective hires. 

Use online content, such as blog posts, videos and social media posts, to demonstrate why the company is a great place to work. Profile employees. Give examples of how the company is changing people’s lives. If the firm’s existing social networks don’t include the type of prospective hires it’s looking for, guest blog for a site that audience frequents. 

If there is a conference prospective hires go to, get a staff member to speak at it. Offer to sponsor a meetup group for industry professionals. These in-person activities will go a long way in building the firm’s networks with prospective hires.  

Just as email remains an important way to convert prospects into sales, it’s an important way of turning talent into employees. 

Capture Prospective Hire Information 
Content that’s attractive to the target audience will drive people to visit the company’s website. Encourage prospective employees to sign up for a newsletter and follow the firm on social media so they’re aware when a job opens up. 

Create an online signup form for candidates interested in hearing about new positions, and segment them in the firm’s email list to make sure it knows who to contact during hiring procedures.

Give Some Love to the Recruitment Page
The company’s jobs page should be more than just a place to stick PDFs of job openings. It should sell the company to prospective hires, just as a sales page sells a product to customers. Turn it into a compelling recruitment page that will make it clear why the company is a great place to work.

Consider Adopting an ‘Always Open’ Application Process
In a competitive hiring market, don’t miss out on hearing from a promising candidate just because there isn’t a current job posting. For companies not regulated by the Office of Federal Contract compliance Programs, consider allowing prospects to send in their résumés any time to maintain a steady pool of potential candidates. For companies that are regulated, consider having a community sign-up instead.

Evaluate Efforts 
After implementing the plan, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Use tools like Google Analytics to see how people are finding the recruitment page. Examine what blog content is most popular with each audience. 

This may seem like a lot of effort, but having prospective hires approach a company rather than having to seek them out will save an incredible amount of time and energy. 

Chris Lennon is vice president of product management at BirdDogHR. For more information, visit birddoghr.com.