min read

Proactive recruitment: the only strategy that still works?

Recruitment in 2024 calls for proactive strategies focusing on AI integration, skills-based hiring, and robust talent retention.

July 25, 2021
Yuma Heymans
December 31, 2023

Proactive recruitment is about the art of finding the untapped talent who are not looking for a job on job boards but who are open to new opportunities.

70% of the global workforce are passive candidates.

There are many benefits to proactive recruitment compared to being dependent on job boards and advertisements. Recruiters who focus on proactive recruitment have less competition for talent and a higher quality of hire, there's a major shift in the recruiting industry to the proactive strategy for recruitment. 83% of talent acquisition professionals see passive sourcing as an important source of hire.

Enough reason to dive deeper in the why and how of proactive recruitment.

An introduction to proactive recruitment

As we move deeper into an era of constant change and innovation, the world of recruitment is transforming.

Employers are no longer sitting back and waiting for talent to come to them. Instead, they are actively seeking out potential candidates, even before a vacancy arises. This method, known as proactive recruitment, is becoming an indispensable strategy in the competitive job market of 2023.

Let's delve into the intricacies of this approach, its phases, the benefits it brings, and the strategies that can be effectively implemented.

What is Proactive Recruitment?

At its core, proactive recruitment is about sourcing, engaging, and attracting candidates ahead of hiring demand. Unlike the traditional reactive model, which waits for applicants to respond to job postings, this strategy involves seeking out potential hires before an immediate need arises. It's about building relationships and generating interest in your company as a desirable place to work, well in advance​​.

Why is Proactive Recruitment Essential in 2024?

The job market is constantly evolving, with 70% of the global workforce being passive candidates. These individuals aren't actively seeking new jobs but are open to compelling opportunities.

This dynamic puts employers under pressure to not only find but also to attract and retain the right talent. A proactive approach can address these challenges by allowing employers to tap into a wider talent pool, including those passive candidates who might be the perfect fit for future roles​​. When recruiters focus their efforts on passive sourcing, 73% of them find higher quality candidates.

What are the trends powering proactive recruitment?

2023 witnessed fluctuations in the job market. The tech industry alone lost over 240,000 jobs, a 50% increase from 2022. This led to a surge in available tech talent, yet there was still a significant shortage of skills, especially in cybersecurity, big data analytics, and software architecture. 62% of CIOs believe they will never have sufficient talent to meet the demands for speed, innovation, and efficiency. Additionally, companies are struggling with a shortage of candidates possessing strong soft skills like problem-solving, cognitive reasoning, and creative thinking. Also in many non-tech related domains hard to find talent constantly moves around.

The 2024 recruitment landscape is undeniably transforming into a more strategic and technologically advanced field. At the forefront, Artificial Intelligence in recruitment is not just an emerging trend, but a foundational element, with tools enhancing everything from CV screening to interview scheduling.

The innovative use of Virtual Reality in candidate assessments allows for a more interactive and immersive evaluation process. Meanwhile, chatbots are becoming an integral part of the screening process, providing immediate interaction and engagement with candidates.

Also a major factor is that the gig economy is still on the rise, reflecting a shift in work dynamics and necessitating a more flexible and innovative approach to talent acquisition and retention. Coupled with this is the expansion of AI and ML in recruitment, which allows for a more efficient and data-driven approach to candidate selection.

The power of social media in hiring has become more pronounced, particularly for building employer brand and connecting with the younger workforce. In a world where work knows no boundaries, the emphasis on global talent diversity is stronger than ever, with remote work policies enabling the recruitment of diverse teams from all over the globe.

Automation advancements in recruitment are gaining momentum, introducing automated resume screening and chatbot pre-qualification, thereby enhancing candidate experiences and streamlining the recruitment process.

How to do proactive recruitment

So let's get to work.

This guide breaks down each phase, offering practical steps and tools to enhance your recruitment efforts, from market research and job crafting to candidate engagement and relationship management. Perfect for recruiters at any level, it aims to streamline your process and help you attract and secure the best candidates effectively.

We'll walk you through the main activities for proactive recruitment based on these stages:

  1. Search
  2. Engage
  3. Convince

1. Search

In the first stage of proactive recruitment, the focus is on understanding the candidate market, crafting a compelling job description, and finding the right talent. Here's how you can approach each step in detail, using various platforms to enhance your search.

Candidate Market Research

Understanding the market is crucial to know where to look for talent and how to appeal to them.

  • Industry Trends and Talent Insights: Begin with platforms like LinkedIn Insights to get a grasp of hiring trends, salary benchmarks, and in-demand skills. Tools like Glassdoor can offer insights into what candidates care about in potential employers.
  • Competitor Analysis: Use tools like Owler to see where competitors are finding their talent. Understanding their strategies can help you identify gaps in your approach and potential areas to target.
  • Candidate Availability: Platforms like Indeed provide reports and insights into the job seeker market, giving you an idea of the availability of the talent you're seeking.

Job Description

A well-crafted job description is your first point of contact with potential candidates.

  • Role Clarity: Clearly define the role, responsibilities, required skills, and qualifications. Use the insights from your market research to align the description with what candidates are looking for.
  • Company Culture and Benefits: Highlight what makes your company a great place to work. Include aspects of company culture, growth opportunities, and benefits that are important to your target audience.
  • Optimization Tools: Use platforms like Textio to ensure your job descriptions are inclusive and engaging. Textio helps optimize your language to appeal to a wider range of candidates and improve response rates.

Find Talent

With a solid understanding of the market and a compelling job description, you're ready to start searching for candidates.

  • Defining the Ideal Candidate: Based on the job description and market research, create a candidate persona outlining the skills, experience, and characteristics of your ideal candidate.
  • Advanced Search Techniques: Utilize advanced search features on HeroHunt.ai, Boolean search on Google, and specialized platforms relevant to your industry (like GitHub for developers or Dribbble for designers) to find candidates who fit your persona.
  • Engage with Passive Candidates: Platforms like HeroHunt.ai specialize in finding passive candidates. They can analyze multiple data points to find candidates who are more likely to be open to new opportunities. Also, they use AI to suggest potential candidates based on your criteria and previous successful hires. These platforms can save you time by pre-selecting candidates likely to be a good fit.
  • Talent Pools: Look into talent pools on platforms like Muse or AngelList, where you can find candidates who are actively interested in new opportunities and match your company's vibe and values.
  • Diversity Focused Platforms: If diversity is a key focus, platforms like Jopwell or WayUp can help you reach underrepresented candidates in various industries.
The new way of finding talent with RecruitGPT

Tracking and Organizing Candidates

Once you start identifying potential candidates, you need to track and organize them efficiently.

  • Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: Use CRM systems like Teamtailor or Beamery to keep track of the candidates you're interested in. These systems allow you to maintain a database of profiles, interactions, and notes.
  • Analytics: Use analytics from your CRM to understand which sourcing channels are most effective and how candidates move through your recruitment funnel.

2. Engage

Once you've identified potential candidates, the next step is to engage them effectively. This involves crafting personalized outreach messages, setting up a sequence of communications, and automating the outreach to manage your time efficiently. Here’s a detailed approach to each step using various platforms.

Write Outreach Messages

Crafting the right message is crucial to get a response from potential candidates, especially those who are not actively looking for new opportunities.

  • Personalization is Key: Use the information you've gathered during the Search stage to personalize your message. Mention specific aspects of their profile, work, or interests that align with the role or your company.
  • Craft a Compelling Narrative: Explain why you're reaching out and what makes the opportunity unique. Share insights about your company culture, the potential for growth, and how their skills and experience are a perfect fit.
  • Clear Call to Action: End with a clear and straightforward call to action. Whether it's to reply to your email, join a call, or visit a landing page for more information, make it easy for them to take the next step.
  • Tools for Crafting Messages: Use tools like Grammarly for error-free and impactful writing. Platforms like CrystalKnows can provide insights into the best way to communicate with different individuals based on their personality.

Set Up Message Sequence

Establishing a sequence of follow-up messages is important to stay on top of potential candidates' minds without being intrusive.

  • Plan Your Sequence: Decide on the number of follow-ups and the interval between them. A typical sequence might include an initial message, a follow-up if there's no response, and a final check-in.
  • Automate Follow-Ups: Use email automation tools like Mailchimp or Outreach to schedule and send your follow-up messages. These tools can also track open and response rates to help you refine your approach.
  • Adjust Based on Engagement: Monitor how candidates respond to different messages. If someone engages more with a particular type of message (e.g., more information-rich, personal stories, company achievements), use this style more in your subsequent communications.

Automate Outreach

Automating your outreach helps manage your time more efficiently and ensures no potential candidate slips through the cracks.

  • Bulk Messaging with Personalization: Platforms like LinkedIn's InMail, Indeed, or Hiretual allow you to send personalized messages in bulk. They often include templates and scheduling features to streamline the process.
  • Tracking and Analytics: Use the analytics from these platforms to understand which messages and strategies are most effective. Look at metrics like open rates, response rates, and engagement levels.
  • Refine and Iterate: Continuously refine your messages and outreach strategy based on the analytics. Test different messages, subject lines, and call-to-actions to see what works best with your target audience.
  • CRM Integration: Ensure your outreach tools are integrated with your Candidate Relationship Management system. This keeps all your candidate information and interactions in one place, making it easier to track your relationship with each candidate over time.
Automated outreach in HeroHunt.ai

3. Convince

Once you've successfully engaged a candidate, the conversation stage is where you deepen that connection, assess their fit, and facilitate the process towards a potential hire. This involves screening candidates with AI, automating scheduling for interviews, and managing profile data efficiently.

Screen Talent with AI

Using AI to screen candidates can save time and help you focus on the most promising prospects

  • Initial AI Screening: Tools like Harver use AI to assess blue collar candidates' suitability based on their skills, personality, and work style. Integrate these assessments early in the conversation to ensure you're investing time in the right candidates.
  • Behavioral Insights: Platforms like CrystalKnows provide insights into candidates' communication and work styles. Use this information to tailor your conversation and understand how they might fit into your team.
  • Continuous Learning: AI tools learn from each interaction. Regularly review the insights and feedback they provide to refine your understanding of what makes a successful candidate for different roles within your company.

Automate Scheduling

Coordinating interviews can be time-consuming. Automating this process ensures a smooth experience for both you and the candidate.

  • Integration with Calendars: Use scheduling tools like Calendly or Goodtime, which integrate with your calendar and allow candidates to pick an interview time that works for both of you.
  • Automated Reminders: Ensure your scheduling tool sends automated reminders to both you and the candidate to reduce no-shows. Tools like these often allow for personalized reminders, making the experience more engaging.
  • Feedback Post-Interview: After the interview, use automated surveys to collect feedback on the experience from both candidates and interviewers. This can help improve the process continuously.

Manage Profile Data

Keeping track of detailed candidate information and interactions helps in making informed decisions and provides a personalized experience.

  • Candidate Relationship Management (CRM): Platforms like Greenhouse not only track applicants but also store notes, interactions, and interview feedback. This centralized data helps maintain a holistic view of each candidate.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Use the data from your CRM to compare candidates objectively. Look at their skills, experience, interview feedback, and any assessments or tests they've completed.
  • Personalized Follow-Up: Based on the collected data, personalize your follow-up messages. Refer to specific points discussed in the interview, provide additional information they requested, or simply check in to keep the conversation going.
  • Integration with Other Tools: Ensure your CRM integrates with your other tools (like your AI screening tools, email, and calendar) for a seamless flow of information. This reduces the chances of missing out on crucial candidate data.

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