Proactive hiring in a candidate-driven market requires a complete transformation of the recruiting process. Blame the skills gap or the abundance of unfilled jobs, but today’s candidates have more options than ever. Traditional hiring won’t capture the hearts and minds of today’s talent pool. Today’s candidates are smart, empowered, and entrepreneurially driven. They have a different set of expectations. Proactive hiring adjusts the process by the individual. It identifies and engages with candidates that have the required skills and then uses those connections when a hiring need arises.
Use these tips to navigate and manage your talent network.
Identify Target Market
You must always identify talent for all positions in the company. Start this process by anticipating when you’ll see a spike in hiring. Do this by asking yourself a few questions:
- Is the company growing?
- Are there specific positions that experience high turnover?
- Are key players in the executive team planning to retire sometime soon?
- Do you know which candidates could potentially take their place?
Break down your target audience’s demographics, interests, and other key information to find the best way to reach and engage. Strategic hiring starts with understanding your ideal candidates. You must figure out how to communicate on a level unique from your competitors.
Develop an Engagement Strategy
Once you’ve successfully identified your target candidates, it’s time to begin developing an effective engagement and networking strategy. Engagement is anything from following candidates on social media to inviting select candidates to a company networking event. Your goal is to engage and develop a relationship over time. Remember, each interaction with a candidate makes an impression on you and the company you represent. Make sure you follow-up, respond when appropriate, and find ways to impress your network.
Build Relationships: Acquire, maintain, and grow.
Don’t waste a single interaction with an applicant, even if they’re not qualified for that specific position. Candidates who take the time to follow your hiring process have valuable feedback about their experience. And who knows, they may be a good fit in the future! A key to building a relationship is to focus on being proactive and to be transparent. When you start building relationships with industry contacts let them know you are interested in working with them. Even if the candidate turns you down, they will appreciate that you’re showing interest. The initial turndown is not the end of a conversation. But, it’s the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship. Find points of interest and common ground to help break into a relevant discussion.
Track Results: Inspect what you expect: If it’s trackable, track it!
Track how many applicants you received, which candidates initiated contact, and identify the method(s) that led to engagement. Review everything you can to determine which engagement strategy works best. Mix it up and use different tactics in your next interaction.
The hardest part of a proactive hiring process is having the time and resources available to gain and maintain relationships. If you have the resources use these steps to begin a proactive talent pipeline. If other duties prevent this type of hiring structure, you have options. Use a third-party staffing firm that specializes in your industry, such as JSG, and take advantage of pre-established connections. Before you make a choice answer this question, “What does HR’s hiring process say about your company culture?”