Is reactive recruitment damaging your business?

Last updated:
February 26, 2021
December 20, 2021
min read
Bev Campling
Table of contents

Just a few years ago reactive recruitment was the norm, and many hiring managers haven’t changed pace yet. If you’re still using reactive hiring practices, it’s time to give some careful thought to why you need to change.

Before we go any further, let’s look at the core of what reactive recruitment is doing to your business: cost upon costs and more costs! Reactive hiring will cost your company big time in many ways!

That’s why it’s time for you to change your recruitment processes and strategy if you’re still into reactive hiring.

What is reactive recruitment?

Reactive recruitment occurs when the recruitment process is only initiated once a request for a new member of staff is made internally. Also known as passive recruitment, this method of recruitment often puts an unnecessary time-pressure on sourcing the right candidates for the position as the need for a replacement or new team member is immediate.

Old habits die hard. And sometimes we don’t even realize that what we’re doing is wrong or outdated and that there are far better ways of doing things. That’s the main reason many companies are still using reactive recruiting practices.

This is a typical reactive recruiting scenario that plays itself out in companies’ every day:

  • There’s a vacant position because an employee is leaving or a department is expanding.
  • The vacancy gets posted on the company job site and job boards.
  • Loads of applications flood in (or maybe hardly any).
  • Recruiters screen applications and select suitable candidates for interviews.
  • Line managers pressurize recruiters because the clock keeps ticking.
  • The interview process proceeds, and hopefully a great candidate is quickly identified.
  • On the other hand, the interview process drags on for weeks without results.
  • Shortlisted candidates must be referenced and verified before final selection.
  • An offer is made and accepted, but the candidate must work their notice period.

Reactive recruiting is time-consuming

Depending on the level of the vacancy and the required experience and skills, time to hire could be anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks, from advertising the vacancy to making an offer that’s accepted. And then the candidate probably still has to work their notice period which is usually between 2 to 4 weeks, at worst two to three months.

Reactive recruitment practices can easily leave a vacancy standing open for 16 weeks. During that time the job is either neglected, or the responsibilities are diverted to other staff members to do over and above their existing duties. Sometimes the situation can get so bad that a temporary contractor has to be appointed, often at a shocking price.

As time drags by, panic might set in and hiring managers can make bad hiring decisions in their desperation to fill the vacancy. Hiring in haste leads to repentance at leisure, and you will definitely end up paying the price.

See how readily reactive hiring increases costs that will invariably impact your business?

How to turn reactive recruitment into proactive hiring

If you recognize your hiring in the above scenario, it’s time to give your hiring process a significant overhaul.

First and foremost, what type of technology have you introduced to your HR department or hiring team? If you’re using software, but still mostly relying on hard copy records or even spreadsheet recruiting, it’s time to invest in an ATS immediately.

Reactive recruitment means that you don’t take any action on a vacancy or role until there’s a vacancy. The new proactive hiring mindset you need to adopt is about planning ahead and ensuring that long term solutions are readily available when needed.

With an ATS is place your management team needs to sit down and discuss what the business’s immediate situation is and where you’re heading in the short and long term. Future planning must be a team effort, and everyone involved in the hiring process must be included.

Think of it as a movie director or the manager of a pro sports team. They’re always planning ahead, weighing up and anticipating potential incidents and looking for new talent because they can’t afford to be missing a leading actor or key player.

5 Steps to eliminate reactive recruiting

  1. Get the entire hiring team involved in proactive hiring and invest in training if necessary.
  2. Share updates on progress and goals regularly as a management team; proactive hiring is a collaborative process.
  3. Use your ATS to implement hiring goals and processes and ensure that the entire hiring team is onboard and you have their buy-in.
  4. Make the mental leap from using gut feel and perception to relying on data analytics and data tracking in real-time; you’ll instantly eliminate costly human error.
  5. Invest in a good quality careers site that’s user-friendly, linked to social media platforms and job boards. It should also represent your employer brand superbly.

No company today can expect to attract top talent by using reactive recruiting tactics anymore. Top talent is what keeps your company competitive, evolving and successful, so no business should be settling for reactive recruitment methods either.

Attracting top talent must be afforded the same degree of expense and effort as acquiring new customers. Most businesses plow massive amounts of money and work into marketing and sales campaigns.

If you want to succeed in today’s competitive market, your business needs to approach sourcing quality staff in the same way. Attracting talent must become an exercise in marketing and promoting your employer brand.

6 gains of transition from reactive recruiting to proactive hiring

Proactive hiring is about engaging with suitable candidates before you have the right vacancy for them. That’s what’s known as building a talent pipeline! Don’t worry that candidates won’t appreciate your proactive efforts because that’s what today’s job seekers want and expect.

Candidates are very aware of the employer’s brand, and if your company is the type of business they’d like to work for, they want to be engaging with you and be in your talent pipeline. Research shows that 75% of candidates first consider the employer brand before they apply.

Here are some statistics on what having a great employer brand brings:

  • 28% reduction in staff turnover
  • 50% reduction in cost to hire
  • 50% more qualified candidates
  • Reduced time to hire

These improvements are because candidates carefully consider employer brands before they apply. If your employer brand is sought after, you’ll get the best candidates applying.

We live in a world that’s always connected and sharing information; that’s precisely what proactive hiring is all about – engagement! Here are some of the benefits:

  1. You’ll be better informed: real-time analytics and data tracking, as well as predictive analytics, mean that you won’t have to resort to scrambling for your next hire..
  2. Time to hire will be significantly reduced because you’ll have your active talent pipeline to contact when a new vacancy opens.
  3. The quality of your hires will improve because candidates in your talent pipeline have already engaged with you previously. You’ve confirmed that they’re a good fit, and they’ve indicated that they’re keen to work for your company.
  4. You’ll have far more control over your hiring process and there’s less chance of bad hiring decisions made under pressure.
  5. Your employer brand will build brand-love that will improve your company’s overall image (and possibly lead to increased sales and brand support).
  6. Your hiring costs will be far lower, productivity will increase, and your hiring team will be far happier.

Reactive recruitment belongs in a bygone era

If you’re still a reactive recruiter, you’re trying to compete in a new world with old world recruitment tools.  You can’t expect top talent to wait for your steam train to come chugging along when they have the option of hopping on a bullet train!

In 2019, introduce a couple of new recruitment techniques to bring your company into a new age! The way you recruit also says a lot about your company dynamics and whether your policies are proactive and evolving, or stagnant.

Top talent is looking for opportunities to grow and contribute to a company’s success. They want to work for an employer brand that has an impact in their industry.

Dead-end, unproductive candidates might choose a stagnant environment with the hope that they can hide in a corner and earn a salary for doing as little as possible.

Think about it: what type of candidates do you want to hire? Are you still okay with your reactive recruiting methods?

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