Proactive Recruitment Strategy: What’s the secret sauce?

Create a proactive recruitment strategy

Let me ask you a question. Do you feel like you’re putting out a job ad when really you need the person, like, yesterday? We get it, you realise you need someone so it’s time to approach the senior team for approval. Then you have to finalise the spec, contact your best performing agencies (it’s kind of too late to DIY this one), cross your fingers, say a prayer to the talent pipeline gods and hope that the perfect CV lands on your desk before a client deadline needs moved. It’s probably time to move towards a proactive recruitment strategy.


In other words, you need to load up your talent t-shirt gun, ready to shoot bums onto seats just when you need them. 

Proactively lining up candidates rather than reacting to attrition or a dip in capacity can be hard. Especially when there are a hundred thousand other *URGENT* things on the agenda. You’re literally half-recruiting people for jobs which may never come up. You’re planning for a zombie apocalypse. Except, they will come up. They always do. And you always wish you had a candidate in mind. 


For many of your dream candidates, at job advert time, it’s too late. They need to know who you are. They need to have a relationship with your company before you’re asking them to apply for a job. At the very least, they need to have a clue who you are. 84% candidates would only consider applying to a company with a good reputation. This means only 16% candidates would even think about applying for your rec if you’ve neglected your rep and I’ll make no representations about the potential quality of the 16%…


So you know you need a proactive recruitment strategy. “What is this secret sauce you speak of?” I hear you say. Well, there is more than one way to skin a cat (no feline friends were harmed in the making of this article) but, it’s important to balance optimizing the success of your strategy, with how much time you (realistically) have to devote to it. 

If you want to build a proactive recruitment strategy, this is the best place to start. 

Collecting (and optimizing) speculative CVs from candidates allows you to start building relationships with those people who really want to work for you. You’re letting them do the work. Literally. 

All you need to do is decide on how you’re going to collect CVs and start promoting it through your employer branding content (if you’re thinking ‘What employer branding content?’ – we need to talk!). You are simply asking candidates who have been keeping an eye on you, to raise their hand. 

Top tip: don’t forget to ask your legal eagles about the protocol for using this data and all that fun stuff! 

Here’s the catch.

There’s no point (whatsoever) in collecting CVs and asking candidates to introduce themselves to you if you aren’t going to nurture the relationship. It’s like swiping right and never messaging. Not cool. Not productive. 


You need to build on that trust. This can be as easy as you want it to be. Something as simple as an email every few weeks letting them know what you’re up to. You might even want to invite them for a coffee and see what they’re about. This will allow you to scope out where they could add most value, and will allow them to feel like the relationship is going somewhere. It’s a win-win.

So, if 2021 is the year of the proactive recruitment strategy for you, start by using speculative CVs in a meaningful way. It’s a simple step you can take right now to make the first move with your dream candidates.

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