There are more job openings today than there has been in nearly 20 years. However, most recruiters know that the unemployment rate is below 4%, leaving the battle for talent as one of the most challenging yet essential priorities of a growing business.

In today’s blog, we tackle the risks of reactive hiring and the benefits of creating a proactive recruitment process.

I. What is Reactive Hiring?

One of the most serious challenges for small and growing businesses is veering away from the culture of reactive hiring. Reactive hiring refers to the practice of initiating the recruitment process only when the HR department receives a request to fill an open position in the organization.

Reactive hiring is obviously in stark contrast to proactive recruitment, wherein HR is continuously looking for new talents even when there are no immediate job openings within the company. Proactive recruiters recognize the importance of anticipating future needs by having a talent pool that you can tap into at anytime.

Between the two, you can see how reactive hiring is the less optimal alternative. It doesn’t take into account the risks for your business when you suddenly have a vacant position as a result of an employee leaving or a department needing reinforcement. Nor does it look at the bigger picture, in which there’s a decreased number of candidates looking for jobs.

Reactive hiring exposes your business to these issues, creating a negative impact on your company’s bottom line.

II. What Are the Risks of Reactive Hiring and What Can You Do About Them?

Here is a more in-depth look at the risks involved when you allow the culture of reactive hiring to permeate your recruitment. Take note of the viable solutions you can implement.

  • Sluggish Time to Hire

The time to hire varies depending on several factors, such as the skills or experience required, your business industry, or where your company is located. However, the average time to hire for 80% of organizations can be anywhere from under a month to as long as two months.

With the talent acquisition landscape becoming more and more competitive, hiring periods can easily double or triple in length. Again, this is tied to the fact that there’s a very small percentage of candidates in today’s job market. 

Targeting a very limited population while competing with other companies hiring for the same positions can be highly challenging.  Your qualified candidates are going to be bombarded by multiple offers, which can further extend your negotiation stages.

And even if you get someone to accept your offer within the specified hiring period, your candidate still has to serve a notice period of a month or so with the previous company. 

Here are some strategies you can try instead:

Dedicated Sourcing Staff

HR departments can be extremely busy. They have their hands in many business processes simultaneously, and recruitment often becomes a delegated effort, falling to whoever is free at the moment.  

Because of this, there is sometimes no true owner of the recruitment process.  And even if there is dedicated hiring staff, they can only do so much while employing a reactive recruitment strategy.

However, dedicated sourcing teams can scour LinkedIn, reexamine applications in your applicant tracking system (ATS), and routinely post job ads for highly repeatable positions to keep the queue full at all times.

In addition to gathering large sums of qualified resumes, your sourcing team can proactively screen candidates and introduce your company, so that your hiring manager can request pre-qualified applicants as soon as a position opens up.

Imagine the impact on turnaround time if there was a dedicated team that only searched for qualified professionals within proximity to your business. The same team can constantly screen candidates and be proactive in making sure that your company is well known among the professionals that mattered.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Now, if for logistical or economic purposes, you cannot create a dedicated sourcing team, you still have options. You can tap companies that can build an offshore solution for sourcing professionals. These companies can consistently source, screen, and interview candidates daily. This will allow your internal recruitment team to focus and optimize on the larger recruitment process.

RPO companies in the Philippines, particularly, can help in overall business productivity and cost efficiency and will empower you to establish a proactive recruitment culture.

  • Compromised Talent Quality

If you only rely on passive hiring methods like job boards, the available position will likely be seen only by those who are either unemployed or already trying to leave their current employer. This ultimately limits your overall access to applicants as you are incidentally targeting only a tiny percentage of the talent pool.  

Additionally, the need to fill positions can create pressure for your hiring manager to rush the process and settle for candidates whom they would otherwise not be interested in. The choice here usually comes down to either settling for suboptimal talent or waiting for months for the right applicant to apply. Both of these options may put your company’s momentum off track.

Here are some strategies you can try instead:

Employee Referrals

If you have yet to introduce a referral program within your company, consider doing it to avoid making bad hires. When it’s your employees who are making candidate recommendations, you can more or less expect quality candidates. 

Referrals are more likely to come from similar backgrounds to your employees. Additionally, your employees can vouch whether or not the candidate can get the job done and will stick around. It’s also likely that your referring employee has already done some of the screening for you to assess the potential success of their colleague in your organization. Take note that  88% of employers report that referrals are the best source for above-average applicants

Data Tracking and Analytics

Maximize your ATS’ predictive analytics so that you can identify your ideal candidates based on skills, experience, attitude, and other vital insights. Data and algorithms are also helpful in preventing bias, which may be present in your recruitment team. 

READ THIS RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Crucial Recruitment Metrics You Should Be Tracking ASAP

  • Increased Costs

The costs of reactive hiring can range from loss of productivity to accumulating unnecessary hiring expenses. Until you’re able to fill a job vacancy, that position is left hanging with no one attending to the tasks that have piled up along the way. Delegating the responsibility to other team members may work for a while. But remember that they also have their own duties to think about. 

You run the risk of human error when the people you put in charge eventually feel the burden of working beyond what they signed up for.

Here are some strategies you can try instead:

Independent contractors

Hiring independent contractors may be a feasible option, provided they don’t add to your overall hiring or training costs. Communicate that payment is on a per-project basis rather than hourly or weekly, and that they need to provide their own equipment, tools, or workspace—as the case may be.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

There are several RPO companies found in countries where recruitment process outsourcing services are more affordable than where you are located. RPO companies in the Philippines, for instance, allow you to reduce your sourcing staff cost by 30–40% or more. 


III. What is Proactive Hiring and Why Do You Need It? 

As briefly mentioned earlier, proactive recruitment refers to the practice of identifying and engaging with candidates even before a position becomes available. 

If reactive hiring brings nothing to the table, but risks and disadvantages, proactive recruitment is the complete opposite. Here are some of the benefits you get to enjoy by building proactive recruiting pipelines:

  • Reduced time to hire—You’ve already done a lot of the recruitment tasks before the position opened up. You no longer have to post job ads, wait for applications to come in, screen and shortlist candidates, and so on. You get to skip several steps, which means you cut your hiring period by a significant amount of time. You only need to reconnect with your ideal candidate once you get the green light to increase headcount.
  • Relationship-based hiring—Proactive recruitment allows you to build relationships with your candidates instead of treating the hiring process as purely transactional. Relationship-based hiring enables you to make a good impression on them and gives them a sneak peek of the positive kind of candidate experience you can offer.
  • Improved quality of hires—You can use the pre-hiring engagements with your talent pool to see whether they’re the right fit for your company. You can also assess these engagements to see how keen they are in working for your organization. And since you’re not pressured to fill a position with candidates that don’t make the cut, you can make better hiring decisions. 

Altogether, these things eliminate the risks of making bad hires and decrease your employee attrition rate. 

READ THIS RELATED ARTICLE: How to Engage and Win Over Passive Candidates

Here are a couple more ideas you can try to get started with proactive recruitment:

  • Position yourself as an excellent employer through marketing. Boost your employer brand on your website, including careers page and social media. Join recruitment events and job fairs on campuses and online channels. These techniques can make your brand name stay with potential candidates.
  • Turn your talent acquisition teams into talent advisors. As talent advisors, their duty goes beyond accepting employee requisitions. Instead, they work closely with your managers in taking concrete steps to avoid having talent gaps, circuitous hiring process, counterproductive policies in recruitment, and so on.

Future-Proof Your Business with Proactive Recruitment

Hopefully, you’re no longer sitting on the fence trying to get rid of reactive hiring practices in your organization. A reactive hiring culture is inefficient, unprofitable, and faulty. Whereas, proactive recruitment can help you engage top talent at the right time with the least costs for your business.

As you turn from being reactive to a proactive recruiter, consider investing in SuperStaff’s recruitment process outsourcing solutions

Contact us and let our recruitment experts sustain your business growth all year round. 

Engage and capture top talents
SuperStaff offers highly responsive and effective solutions for meeting your evolving personnel needs.
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