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As the job market continues to change, the recruitment process must evolve and adapt to meet employers’ and job seekers’ needs. Companies need to be sure that they are finding job candidates with the correct skills and qualifications that will allow them to step into a role and succeed as quickly as possible. 

Every business and industry goes through periods where the hiring level is low, and the majority of 2020 is just such a period for many organizations. Fortunately, hiring managers are learning about the benefits of proactive recruitment for businesses of all types, even when there are few hires to be made.

What is Proactive Recruitment?

Proactive recruitment is the process of searching for the most skilled and qualified candidates before a job role officially becomes available. Hire managers and recruiters who practice proactive recruitment understand the skills and qualifications required in any job role that is likely to be filled, and compiles a list of possible candidates preemptively. 

This allows for a more thorough and thoughtful recruitment process, which can be performed even while hiring levels are low. 

There are several important benefits to proactive recruitment, as it allows hiring managers and recruiters to:

  • Follow job market trends.
  • Adapt to changing candidate demands.
  • Make HR changes to keep the workplace current.
  • Take advantage of the virtual office.
  • Build a database of qualified candidates.
  • Stay prepared.

Follow Job Market Trends

The job market can fluctuate dramatically over 12 months, even during a typical year, especially in 2020. Effective hiring managers and recruiters must track these job trends. Without doing so, they will be working from an outdated perspective, which will be immediately apparent to qualified candidates currently navigating the job market. This could make a recruiter and their business seem out of touch and could even call into question the grasp of their industry’s business realities.

Hiring managers who practice proactive recruitment understand that the job market will impact which candidates will possibly be available for recruitment when hiring can begin again. These trends will affect entire industries and sectors of the economy, and companies must understand what they need to do to stand out from their peers and competitors in the job market when it is possible to hire once again.

Adapt to Changing Candidate Demands

A major HR trend over the past few years has been the gradual shifting of power dynamics during the recruitment process in favor of job candidates. This is partially due to due generational change as each new group of young people enters the workforce with different priorities and demands. Young people entering the job market in 2020 look for job opportunities are vastly different from what job seekers looked for in 2010, let alone earlier.

Proactive recruitment is based on the principle of identifying candidates who are most qualified to excel in a job role and finding out what exactly will incentivize them to join an organization. 

While a job seeker from 10 years may have prioritized benefits packages with large salaries, a job seeker in 2020 will likely place greater emphasis on flexible scheduling to maintain a proper work/life balance. When researching job candidates and recruiting proactively also provides an opportunity to learn what these candidates look for from a job.

Successful HR Director

Make HR Changes to Keep Workplace Current

It is vitally important that every workplace have strong HR rules, policies, and procedures in place so that each employee knows that they are supported, protected, and respected. These policies cannot be stagnant but rather continue to be updated to reflect the changing nature of the workplace and adapt to employees’ needs.

Proactive recruitment serves as a reminder that workplaces must still evolve, even when hiring is low, or there is not hiring at all. With proactive recruitment, hiring managers and recruiters continue to think about employees’ future needs and commit to growth in the workplace. 

A work environment with up-to-date HR policies and attitudes will appeal to prospective job candidates, who will see that they will receive the support they need to work at their best.

Take Advantage of the Virtual Office

Remote work and telecommuting were already rising, but the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated its widespread adoption. During the spring of 2020, an estimated 5 million employees in Canada alone switched to working from home, and offices quickly adjusted to the virtual work environment. With a growing number of companies announcing that they are offering permanent remote work positions, it’s clear that the virtual office is here to stay.

Proactive recruitment will allow businesses to take advantage of the hiring opportunities provided by the virtual office. Now that systems and processes are in place to make working and collaborating remotely as efficient as possible, it is possible to greatly expand the candidate search when hiring for new job roles. 

When proactively recruiting, HR managers and recruiters can search for qualified candidates worldwide without being limited by geography, forming a productive international virtual office.

Build a Database of Qualified Candidates

Typical hiring and recruiting can be a protracted process. Once a position becomes available, it takes Canadian companies an average of 20 days to find, interview, and hire a qualified job candidate. This is a significant amount of time, even without considering the training and onboarding period that occurs before a new hire performs at their best.

Proactive recruitment is based on the idea of identifying potential job candidates who have all the necessary qualifications, skills, and experiences before a role becomes available. This database can include resumes, cover letters, and other sources of information regarding potential candidates. 

Once this database of qualified candidates has been created, as soon as a new job position becomes available, it will be possible to review them. This will drastically reduce the time needed for hiring and recruitment and because they already have an identified aptitude for the role could potentially speed up the onboarding process. 

Through establishing a database of qualified job candidates, proactive recruitment will streamline the hiring process itself.

Human Resources

Improve Recruitment Times

Recruiting qualified job candidates takes time. It takes an average of 36 days for a recruiter or hiring manager to recruit, interview, and hire a new employee. That is not even taking the length of the training and onboarding process into account. If the process is rushed, it greatly increases the chances that someone who is not quite right for the role will be hired. 

Instead of rushing the recruitment process and selecting someone who seems right for the job at a limited glance, proactive recruitment is a way to increase the recruitment process’s speed without sacrificing the quality and compatibility of job candidates.

Proactive recruitment allows hiring managers to gather information on prospective employees before the hiring process officially kicks off. By taking the time to identify candidates that have the right skills, abilities, and aptitudes to excel in a potential role before that role needs to be filled, it makes it more likely that the correct person will be hired when a position becomes available.

There is even a good chance that the official hiring process’s time can be reduced through proactive recruitment, as recruiters already know that these candidates meet the skill and personality requirements. This saves time by avoiding having to do the initial research to establish credentials and qualifications.

Hire For Specific Skills and Abilities

Certain job positions require that the people hired have specific skills and abilities to perform them correctly and effectively. Typically, recruiters and hiring managers will go over the resumes and cover letters they have received to identify skill keywords from the initial job posting. 

Any resume that makes specific mention of these keywords and backs up these skills with specific examples will stand out, and the job candidate will then likely be called in for an interview. This process takes additional time and still involves whittling down a long list of applicants to find the few that seem qualified.

By recruiting proactively, recruiters, and hiring managers search for specific skillsets from the outset. This form of skills-based hiring is quickly gaining popularity, with a 2018 survey finding that more than half of surveyed companies consider implementing skill-based hiring policies or have done so already.

Searching for people who have the experience and credentials to prove their abilities creates a list of candidates that already meet the job’s fundamental requirements. 

If a startup knows they will be expanding their IT team to include those who specialize in maintaining Linux-based servers, the HR department can find potential candidates who already satisfy this requirement instead of looking through a pool of applicants to identify which ones have these credentials. 

Knowing that all the job candidates have the necessary skills and abilities, they will be free to recruit based on work attitude, experiences, and other factors to select the candidate who will be the best fit.

Find the Right Attitudes and Personalities

Not every person is right for every job, and vice versa. The truth is that it takes more than skills and abilities to excel in a job role truly. Of course, having a specific skill set is important, but having the right attitude can really make the difference in a successful hiring process. 

Recruiters and hiring managers need to be acutely aware of a job applicant’s attitudes and personality traits. These will be the foundation that allows them to grow and evolve if they are hired.

For instance, what type of mindset does the applicant possess? If they have a fixed mindset, they will arrive with the skills needed to do the job but will likely have a great deal of difficulty adapting to changes in the industry and the workplace. If a new hire arrives with a growth mindset, the abilities they bring into the organization on day one are merely the beginning. They will be prepared to grow, learn, and evolve as the company changes to meet customers’ needs and the market. In this case, having the right attitude and mindset can make all the difference.

The process of proactive recruitment acknowledges the importance that attitudes and personalities can have in the workplace. Placing greater emphasis on identifying potential job candidates before there is an immediate hiring need leaves more time to explore the different attitudes among job candidates. 

Recruiters can even choose to utilize personality assessments as part of their proactive recruitment to find the key traits they are searching for in an applicant. This process will allow them to identify people with the personality and mindset needed to step into a work environment and succeed as soon as possible. 

Stay Prepared

The only thing that can be accurately predicted about the job market in 2020 is that it will be unpredictable and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. The very social conditions that make work possible are changing on a near-daily basis

With so much out of their control, organizations must do whatever they can to adapt to these changing conditions, not only for their employees and customers’ safety but also for their own survival as a business.

Proactive recruitment is one way that businesses can stay prepared. With a list of qualified candidates, as soon as it is possible to expand a workforce safely and effectively respond to customer needs, HR managers will be prepared to contact people with the ability to step into a role and perform at their best quickly. Businesses may not be able to predict the future, but proactive recruitment is one way to be prepared to address the issue of recruitment and hiring effectively.

Written By
Matt Dodge is the Marketing Content Specialist at Jobillico.com, the largest Canadian job network. He is part of a team dedicated to improving the hiring and recruitment process for both employers and job seekers.

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