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Supervillain #1: A Reactive Recruitment Process

Marketing segmentation and targeting

What exactly is a reactive recruitment process?  Well, it’s one that lacks strategy around recruiting new talent beyond,“Hey Magnus, Jose in IT just quit. Can you find us a new database administrator?  Oh also, we need someone yesterday…”  Seriously?  Magnus is either an overworked internal recruiter, your lead HR person (who right now is trying to work through the ACA, the new exempt employee guidelines, as well as 97 other priorities…), or worse – – someone who was just given the recruitment task at the last minute just because no one else was available.   In a tight labor market like we have today, this a dangerous scenario.  Having a pro-active recruitment strategy and plan is critical to staying competitive. 

While the above mentioned Magnus may have a cool, superhero sounding name; the truth is he isn’t.  What he has been asked to do will either require him to acquire superpowers (which aren’t real- sorry…), get very lucky in finding someone.  Short of superpowers and luck, this will take far longer and be more painful for his organization than anyone anticipates.

So how do you avoid putting Magnus and his good buddy Jose in such dire circumstances?  It’s cliché, but it starts with a plan and being proactive.

  • First- identify the key roles and departments that require continuous staffing to operate smoothly.  What roles will have a significant business impact if a person resigns or is unable to work?

For example, many IT/ IS roles are critical for most companies in 2016.  Sales and customer care are mission critical in the service industry.  Server and cook roles must be staffed on a daily basis for a hospitality business to succeed.  Which roles are your critical ones?


  • Second- determine the reasons for turnover.  Defeating turnover can be a challenge, but gaining a strategic advantage starts with understanding root causes.  Some causes can be systematic within your business – -like seasonal fluctuations, some can be lack of advancement opportunity, poor working conditions and etc.  When you understand the causes, you will be able to isolate the ones that can be improved. For example, you’ll never be able to control issues a family faces, but you can improve working conditions and perhaps even offer opportunities for advancement.

  • Third- determine how proactive recruiting capabilities can be incorporated to support your organizational needs. Now you know the roles you need to maintain without interruption, and you better understand why employee’s leave. Some turnover is expected, even for career advancement scenarios, so it’s best to keep an active pipeline of high caliber candidates to fill important roles. To do this you may need to add an additional recruiting resource.  This resource could be a dedicated, full-time recruiting position, a staffing and recruiting firm, enhanced job board technology or a combination of all of above.

Clearly each of these comes with a cost.  As an example, utilizing a staffing or recruiting firm means you are going to either pay a markup on top of the hourly wage or a placement fee.  The trade-off is that you get the added benefit of having a dedicated recruiting team sourcing for you and providing candidates proactively, without adding headcount. 

  • The fourth and final piece– do all you can to build a pool of qualified candidates either on your own through internal recruiting efforts, employee referrals, networking, or through partnering with a staffing or recruiting firm.


Even when you do not have open positions continue to engage with these candidates

 The cool trendy term in recruiting circles for this is “building a community.”  Engage with them through social media, invite them to company functions, and communicate with them often through company news or direct conversations..  Big and small companies are building active communities, so consider ways that you can take advantage of opportunity to engage with your future talent even before you need them.


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