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January 31, 2019 10:19 AM

Reactive vs. Proactive Recruitment Strategy - Why It Always Pays To Be Proactive

In times gone by recruiters filled roles as and when they became available. When an employee handed in their notice, the search for suitable candidates began. But these days, with employers and recruiters understanding the value of a candidate pipeline bursting with talent, the game has changed somewhat, and we now take a more proactive approach with the idea that being prepared is everything.

But is there really such a big difference between the traditional reactive method and the more progressive proactive recruitment approach?

To put it simply, yes there is, and today we’re taking a look at why planning ahead pays dividends when the hunt for qualified candidates begins. But before we get to that let’s first take a quick look at why the outdated reactive model needs to be put out to pasture.

So what’s so bad about reactive recruitment?

Taking a reactive approach to anything work-related is fraught with dangers, and this is particularly true when it comes to hiring new employees. After all, recruitment is a stressful enough exercise without piling more pressure on your already weary shoulders.

You see, when we wait for roles to become vacant before actively seeking suitable candidates, we are putting unnecessary pressure on the recruitment team to deliver in a short space of time. And unless we’re extremely lucky to find the perfect candidate who just happens to be out of work at that moment, then our recruitment process may end up looking like this.

  • Employee leaves role/company expands workforce

  • Recruiters start looking for suitable candidates

  • Weeks go by

  • Employee notice period ends

  • Interviews start

  • Successful candidates begin their notice period

  • Weeks go by

  • New employee begins onboarding process

As you can see, it’s not an ideal scenario and one that will slow down the entire hiring process a great deal.

So what should we do instead?


Proactive recruitment is the way forward

A proactive recruitment strategy is when you actively seek candidates that may be suitable for roles within your company even when there are no roles to fill. You plan ahead for the eventuality that someone at some stage will inevitably leave the company or that the company may decide to create new departments or expand existing ones.

Typically, a proactive recruitment funnel looks something like this

  1. Source

  2. Engage

  3. Nurture

  4. Convert

In fact, the passive recruitment funnel is a perfect if slightly different example of proactive recruitment in practice and is one of the lesser known ways to accelerate your time to hire.

A few weeks ago we touched on this subject in our post on how to grow effectively grow your recruitment team. We mentioned that a proactive approach like the one we just outlined could have an incredibly positive effect on your efforts to fill unexpected vacancies in your recruitment team. And this is also true for every single position in your company (yes, even the CEO too.)  

Now let’s take a closer look at each of those components in our proactive funnel.

Sourcing the best talent

You reach out to the best potential candidates that not only possess the right skills and experience but that you also feel will fit in with your company’s work culture. As you are taking a proactive approach (no roles yet available), then the vast majority of these potential candidates will be of the passive variety. And as you may know, this is a very good thing indeed because passive candidates tend to be the best of the best.

Engaging with these potential candidates

Now, this is where it gets tricky because you’re not actually hiring at all so reaching out to passive candidates may feel a little awkward. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to reach out and engage with your prospects in some way but however you choose to do so, make sure that you make a personal connection. The last thing you want is for your potential candidate to feel like they’re a name on a list even though technically speaking, that’s kind of what they are.

Nurturing the relationship


But as you know, it’s not enough to simply add a candidate to your pipeline and leave them there until a role becomes available. You’ll need to nurture that relationship and keep those leads warm.

Occasional calls or messages will certainly help maintain their interest while you can also add them to a company newsletter subscriber list (with their permission of course.) You can also keep their curiosity in the company piqued by upping your social media game and sharing company or industry-related posts that may interest them.

Converting them when roles become available

If you’ve played your social media A game, then at this point you should have your candidates well-informed of the company work culture and how highly the company values their employees. And now that a role is available, converting your potential candidates to job applicants should be relatively simple and extremely fast.

So as you can see, there really is only one answer to the whole reactive vs. proactive question – Being proactive in your recruitment wins hands down each and every time.

As we just mentioned, by taking a proactive approach and planning for all eventualities you can accelerate your time to hire, reduce your cost per hire, and potentially attract higher quality candidates. And you can achieve all of this while making the entire hiring process a less stressful experience for both you and your recruitment team. Of course, there are times when you have no choice but to be reactive in your recruitment efforts, but these occasions should be few and far between.

Are you currently taking a more reactive approach to your company’s hiring needs? Or perhaps your proactive approach isn’t quite yielding the results you had hoped for. Either way, we think we can help. When it comes to proactive recruitment one of the most important steps of the funnel is candidate sourcing, and as you may have guessed, we know a thing or two about finding the right candidates. So be proactive and book your free no obligation demo today.


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