How to Create a Proactive Hiring Strategy

Too often, hiring and recruitment follow these steps:

  1. A company is humming along comfortably. All or most job positions are filled, and production is meeting demand.
  2. Employees leave the company (because they found another job, retired, were terminated, or were promoted.) Or, business ticks up significantly.
  3. Multiple business-critical roles are suddenly open.
  4. The hiring process begins.

This is reactive hiring and recruitment. It’s a common strategy—or, non-strategy to be more accurate—and it’s bad for business. When hiring begins only after the need arises, it sets off a domino effect of negative repercussions. Important roles are left unfilled, which costs companies money as important tasks and projects fall to the wayside. Morale drops within departments or across the entire company as fellow employees take on heavier workloads. Hiring becomes rushed, which can lead to costly bad hires and time wasted on training new hires who are not right for the role.

What is a Proactive Hiring Strategy?

A proactive hiring strategy anticipates and plans for future open job roles. Often, companies are so busy with day-to-day operations, and filling existing positions, that planning for future open jobs gets pushed down the to-do list. But finding the time and resources to prepare for long-term recruitment needs is invaluable. The benefits of a proactive workforce plan include:

  • Streamlines the hiring process
  • Reduces hiring time
  • Reduces hiring costs
  • Improves access to qualified candidates
  • Improves employee retention
  • Improves the candidate experience

Think of a proactive hiring strategy as analogous to an organized household getting ready to start the day. With breakfast, clothes, and morning tasks assigned and prepared in advance, the process goes smoothly and you begin your day peacefully. When tasks and needed items aren’t organized, you race around getting ready and start the day frazzled. Being proactive doesn’t mean things will always go perfectly, but being disorganized is always a recipe for trouble and frustration.

Tips for Proactive Recruitment and Workforce Planning

Building a proactive workforce strategy isn’t like flipping a switch. It will take some thought and time. But once you have one in place, you’ll no doubt wish you’d adopted the strategy earlier. Here are some key steps to take:

Assess your current hiring strategy. Executives and hiring managers should spend time discussing what’s working and not working in your company’s recruitment process. Talk to team leaders to learn if there are consistent skills shortfalls among new hires. Review your job postings to see if the language is authentic and clear. This is also an important time to establish that you are making changes to your hiring strategy so you have buy-in from leadership at every level of your organization—which is critical to successful changes in workforce planning.

Refresh Your Employer Brand. Candidates today research your company thoroughly to decide whether or not they would be a good fit. Your employer brand is how you share your company culture, attract job seekers, and retain top employees. It is communicated through your company careers website, through your presence on professional sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, through social media, and through the workplace experiences of your current employees.

If you don’t already have one, spend time creating your employee value proposition. What do candidates gain from working for your organization? Whether it’s valuable skills, a supportive team environment, a clear career path, mentoring in a fast-growing industry, exceptional benefits and perks, or a combination of any of these—ensure you are sharing this in your external and internal communications.

Create a Talent Pipeline. Today, the strongest recruitment strategies are built through authentic relationships with candidates, and tapping existing employees for referrals. These relationships can be established through online professional networks, professional recruitment and staffing partnerships, and in-person networking events and business conferences.

As an example of a proactive talent pipeline, imagine a logistics company that is building a new supply chain hub. Well in advance, this company puts the word out to existing employees and recruitment partners about the number and types of roles they need to fill at the new location. Employees interested in relocating have time to step up and determine if they can add the required skills in time, while recruiters assess active candidates in the region and gauge passive candidate interest. This measured approach ensures that a strong, engaged workforce is in place when the hub opens for business.

Engage and Repeat. Despite a growing understanding that business success directly correlates with hiring success, recruitment strategies continue to get short shrift. But when decision makers pay attention to hiring as the critical business function it is, the results are powerful. Shift the hiring mindset of your organization by discussing recruitment goals regularly, holding hiring managers and recruitment partners accountable for results, and making it a part of day-to-day operations.

Recruitment functions that often need extra attention:

  • Hiring manager interview training, to improve skills and keep current with candidate expectations.
  • Internal referral programs.
  • Candidate communication and engagement.

Successful and effective hiring is a long game. As you design a proactive hiring strategy, assess what’s working and be flexible enough to change what isn’t working as you go.

Need assistance building a proactive hiring strategy? Contact LINK Staffing today.