Being proactive is better than being reactive, particularly when it comes to hiring. The best time to be recruiting is all the time, not just when a position becomes vacant. If you wait until someone submits their notice, you are already behind when it comes to filling that position. Especially when it comes to key positions, you really want to ensure that you have a pipeline of warm potential candidates ready to have a serious conversation with.
Many world-class organizations abide by the Always Be Recruiting (ABR) principle. This principle implies that recruiting is happening constantly at the organization, whether or not there are roles open. When your recruiting team is always finding and engaging with top talent, especially executive talent, then you are more likely to find the right candidate at the right time when you have that vacant role. Following this principle makes you less likely to scramble and settle, out of desperation, for a mediocre or bad fit.
As we mentioned previously when discussing succession planning, the “always-on” recruiting strategy is something you can build into your current hiring strategy.
Here are 3 reasons why you should always be recruiting.
1. Recruiting Quicker
To put it simply, it is far better to fill a vacant position quickly with a great person than to leave it empty for a while as you search for the right person from scratch. If you are always recruiting and selling the value propositions of your company, and why great people should work for your organization, then you should have a pool of talented people to at least start a conversation with.
Most high-performing employees are not currently looking for a role and passing out résumés. They are already employed and probably reasonably happy. They are busy with their professional and personal responsibilities and not actively seeking a new position. Nevertheless, they are often not unwilling to hear about alternate opportunities that might offer more challenge, perhaps better compensation and maybe a better lifestyle fit (e.g. closer to home).
Think of recruiting like lead generation, except that instead of developing a sales funnel of potential customers, you are developing a funnel of potential employees. Just as is the case with potential customers, you need to have built a trusting relationship with your brand and then build an engaged relationship with these people before you try to sell them something. If you have a good, strong network of candidates, then chances are you can put feelers out when an important role opens up and get a few bites from this talent pool.
This means that you can fill a spot much quicker than starting from scratch with a job posting. You can be proactive about who you would like to fill certain roles, and it can all be part of that succession planning strategy we keep mentioning.
2 Hire Candidates Before Your Competition Does
If you are always working hard to win over the best people and keep them in your pool, when someone does start actively looking for a new role, there is a greater chance that they will come to you first over your competition. An “always-on” recruiting strategy means that you are constantly building relationships with people. Sure, many candidates in the pool will not be job hunting at any particular point in time. But, the moment they do, you will want them to come to you.
Not only that, but while you are building relationships with key potential team members, you are also keeping track of what is going on in the industry. You can get a better understanding of what these key people are looking for, what other jobs are being offered, and what is top of mind for them.
This information is incredibly valuable as it allows you to keep your offers agile and ensures that when you are conducting something like an executive search, your benefits, salary, and methods are better targeted than your competition so that you are more likely to win over a key team member.
3. Find the Right Fit (And Avoid Costly Bad Hires) When Recruiting
Another advantage of having a consistent pool of warm candidates is that when you do have an open role, you will know exactly who to tap on the shoulder to apply. Making a bad hire or just a mediocre hire can be costly to a company. Rushing to fill a position can mean that your hiring process is clouded and more open to mistakes.
You want to make sure that you find the absolute best candidate for the job, and you can be better informed if you have a pool of people that you already have a relationship with. This way, you understand the personalities of each potential candidate, and can match them with the right role because personality is often just (or more) important than specific experience in the role.
Especially when it comes to leadership positions, talented people can often fit into many different roles as their success in the position is often a result of their interpersonal relations skills more than their specific technical skills. Think out of the box when considering a talented candidate for a role can often pay big dividends rather than being trapped by narrow thinking as to the tight requirements that a candidate must have to qualify for consideration. You can only have these insights if you have a pool of candidates that you know well and continuously refresh.
Recruiting Intentionally, Not Reactively
Having an “always on” recruitment strategy, means that you can make informed hiring decisions. If you need to change out a poor performer, or someone you think is on the way out anyway, then you can make that decision and tap into your pool of candidates. You can avoid sitting with an open role for too long or beginning your candidate search from scratch.
Teams perform better when they have talented leadership and clear direction. Leaving a position open too long or leaving a not-so-great employee in the role for too long because you are scrambling to find a solution, can impact business objectives and results.
You also want to stay ahead of your competition when it comes to talent, and being intentional about your “always-on” recruiting strategy will give you a leg up over other companies in your industry. You can attract the best talent and know how to retain them. This will have a positive impact on your organization in the long run because your team can always have access to high performers when a position opens.
Remember: strategy is everything. Your “always-on” recruiting strategy should be thought out and intentional as well. Who do you want in your pool? What talent does your company need? What makes a well-rounded team? What positions do you see opening up at your company in the short and long term? All of these questions can inform your “always-on” strategy. From there, grow your pool and reap the benefits!
Kathbern Management is an executive search consultancy based in Toronto, helping companies find the executives and senior managers who not only have the experience and credentials to fulfill their responsibilities, but also have the emotional and “fit” requirements that will enable them to be successful in a particular environment. We simplify the process and, through our deep research, are able to bring more and better candidates forward than would ever be possible through a do-it-yourself passive advertising campaign.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your key person search.