Dangers of Reactive Hiring

Reactive hiring is another riches-to-rags story in the modern business environment. When employers had their pick of great talent, starting the hiring process after a position opened up was an effective recruiting strategy. Not so today, when candidate shortages are the new normal. Reactive hiring is risky on a number of fronts: 

Lower talent quality – waiting until positions open to start your search means you’re limiting your talent quality to just those candidates available at that time. It could work out if your recruitment efforts happen to coincide with a high-performer just starting his or her job search. The odds are against it, though. Top candidates are off the market within an average of 10 days, which is a small window that’s easy to miss if your timing is off. With reactive hiring, you’re less likely to hire one of the top candidates in your industry.

Risk of a poor hire – in situations where you’re under pressure to fill a position quickly, “good enough” hiring is more likely to happen. Worse, the risk of making a poor hire increases.

Transactional hiring – time-to-fill pressure can have other negative impacts, too. There’s less time to spend building relationships, which can leave a poor impression with your entire candidate pool and damage your employer brand. Reactive hiring is highly transactional. Candidates who’ve experienced relationship-based hiring will notice the difference.

Slower hiring – recruiting that starts after a need becomes known actually stretches out time to hire, especially if you’re firm about waiting for the right candidate to become available.

Increased costs – reactive hiring costs both your TA function and your organization as a whole. Starting recruitment from scratch requires more time and resources from your team. The indirect hiring costs range from loss of productivity due to unfilled positions to expenditures for temporary or contract workers.

In the current environment of intense competition for talent and changing candidate preferences for the hiring experience, reactive hiring is going the way of the dinosaur.

Benchmark yourself against other TA Leaders

3 strategies for moving to proactive hiring

Proactive hiring means actively seeking and hiring candidates, even when there are no open positions. TA teams are also building communities of talent with candidates who’ve expressed their interest in being hired. They’re ready with qualified candidates from this pool as soon as a requisition comes in. Many companies need a blend of proactive and reactive hiring because unanticipated changes in the workforce do come up. To move toward more proactive hiring, consider these strategies:

  1. A strong employer brand is one of the cornerstones of proactive hiring. You can build awareness of your employer brand with your careers site, by raising your profile on social media, and by participating in campus recruiting events and virtual career fairs. To discover how your employer brand measures up, read our blog.
  2. TA teams are transitioning recruiters into talent advisors who are empowered to implement data-driven hiring. The goal is for talent advisors to forecast future talent gaps based on relevant data, such as historical turnover rates for specific positions and time-to-fill projections based on available candidates per open position in a specific geographic market. Then, they approach hiring managers with recommendations for proactive hiring. Rather than simply filling requisitions, these TA teams are delivering added value as a business partner to the entire organization. Some teams take this level of collaboration even a step further by training hiring managers on expectations for their role in the proactive process.
  3. Another key strategy for proactive hiring is an investment in HR technology. An interviewing platform that’s designed for enterprise hiring can
    • Support candidate engagement through enhanced communication and a mobile-first process
    • Integrate hiring assessments to help inform smarter decision-making
    • Enable you to leverage AI technologies and recruiting automation
    • Improve your collaboration with hiring managers

Successful proactive hiring requires on a modern, branded candidate experience that keeps candidates engaged at every stage in your hiring workflow. If you’re unsure about the quality of your candidate experience, take our brief quiz to benchmark it against the Talent Board’s CandE Award winners. You’ll get immediate results and some ideas for elevating your candidate experience to support proactive hiring.