Proactive Recruitment

What is proactive recruiting?

Proactive recruitment is the process of identifying and engaging high quality candidates before there is an available role. When the position becomes available, you have a prioritized list of qualified candidates who can fill the role quickly.

Proactive recruitment focuses on attracting, sourcing and engaging candidates even before there is a hiring demand.

Proactive recruitment has the following benefits:

  • Since you are ahead of time, you have more time to source and screen candidates. So you are less likely to make a bad hire.
  • You are less susceptible to staff shortages causing productivity losses because you are well prepared in advance.
  • You have more choice in terms of finding candidates who are fit for the role and company, as opposed to hiring from the available pool at a given moment.

The role of proactive recruiters is similar to that of marketeers/ sales people because it is focused on building relationships and closing when the time is right.

Recruitment in companies is typically of two forms: proactive or reactive.

Reactive recruitment focuses on the here and now, where the recruitment team reacts to the companies requirements by starting to hunt for candidates either due to an employee leaving or the creation of a new position. There is no anticipation of requirements in advance, as the team is always focused on the needs of today (or yesterday).

Depending on the nature of open roles, it often makes sense for recruiters to adopt a proactive recruitment strategy, and stay on top of the business's hiring needs. That way, when a position becomes available there is a pipeline of pre-screened candidates who can fill the role.

Companies that adopt a proactive strategy often keep their application open year long, or have open applications with no fixed requirements so they always have a pool of candidates in their database that they can tap into, as soon as there is a requirement.

Phases of proactive recruitment

  1. Find
    The first phase is to look for candidates who have the potential to be hired in the company. You want to start with developing an understanding of the talent requirements at your company and creating the ideal candidate persona based on your conversations with the hiring managers. Once you've narrowed it down to the type of candidates you are looking for, you want to start your search with job boards, internal databases, recruitment agencies, social media, communities etc.
  2. Engage
    Once we've found someone who we think might be a good fit, we need to engage them. Remember that at this point, they probably do not know that your company exists and very likely have no interest in joining. So you do not want to drive them away with recruiter spam. You want to send a well thought out, personalized message about what the company does and why you think they might be a good fit.
  3. Nurture
    As a proactive recruiter, your role is very similar to that of a salesperson. Just like salespeople nurture their relationships with potential customers, you need to nurture your relationships with potential employees. This makes sure that when they are considering a job switch, you are top of mind. Automation tools like recruitment CRMs can help you share interesting content with occasional but well-timed emails.
  4. Attract
    If you've laid the foundations right with the first 3 steps, the next step is to attract the candidates who have a high chance of converting. At this stage, you can send them information regarding the open roles in your company with a personalized pitch, and capture their interest for the role.
  5. Close
    Hopefully you've done everything right, and some of the candidates in your pool have shown interest by applying to open roles. At this stage, your typical interview process kicks in, but make sure to maintain a close relationship and provide a delightful candidate experience. It is important to maintain open communication with them at every step of the recruitment process, and keep the relationship alive even if they get rejected. Having access to a talent pool that is engaged is a crucial step to stay ahead in the competition for top talent.

Proactive recruitment strategies that you can use

  • Open application
    Having an active talent community is one of the biggest talent advantages you can have as a company. An open application basically lists no specific requirements and asks talented candidates who are keen on learning more to apply. Depending upon the profile of the candidate, their interests and the requirements of the business, companies often design a role to cater to the candidate.
  • Careers website
    A compelling careers site says a lot about your company and culture, and can do wonders for your talent brand. According to a CareerArc study, 63% of jobs seekers reported that they look at the careers website after learning about a job opportunity. Check out some of the top careers pages for 2020 for some inspiration.

    Make sure your careers website is optimized for all screen sizes- laptops, desktops, iPads and mobile devices.  This Indeed study found that 78% of millennials and 73% of gen Xers use their mobile devices for job searches.
  • Social media presence
    Any efforts to boost SEO and social media marketing helps your online visibility to talent. There are several recruitment tools on the market to help you with this. Online visibility can play the difference between good candidates never hearing about your company and them applying and get hired at your company.
  • Networking/ hackathons and meetups
    In today's day and age, meetups, conferences and hackathons are not the only way to network. There are also networking opportunities online on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Slack communities, and these can be a great way to start a relationship with potential candidates. Reddit is another place where a lot of talent, especially developers like to hang. Depending on the type of talent you are looking for, there might be several other niche communities, that are less competitive.
  • Straight-forward application process with clear requirements
    Are you asking your candidates to jump through hoops to be able to apply to your company? This is one of the first things you should check- having clear job descriptions and straight-forward application processes is important.

Hiring is an art more than a science, but having a long term vision for talent brand and a proactive recruitment strategy can help companies stay competitive in today's candidate focused market. With the recruitment tools of today, companies can offer a personalized candidate experience while reducing time to hire.