Proactive recruitment – get ahead of your hiring

The approach that we take for our hiring is to build deep talent pools of candidates who are pre-vetted, and ready to start at short notice.


A company-wide memo gets circulated about a new project that one of the Partners has just brought in. It’s huge and could be a game changer for the business. The only team that’s not celebrating is HR because they know that it’ll fall to them to quickly find a dozen subject matter experts to start ASAP or the project will be doomed to failure. It means weeks of stress, frayed nerves, and extraordinarily high agency fees.


Or does it?


This piece of insight from our Director Felix outlines the approach that we take at Instant Impact to building deep talent pools of candidates who are interested, pre-vetted, and ready to start projects at short notice without sitting on the payroll.

We call it proactive recruitment.

What is it?

Most businesses operate recruitment as a reactive function - only really thinking about hiring when there is a vacancy or an urgent need. A role for a new salesperson crops up, the hiring manager starts the process, 5 weeks later they have a new hire.

The very best in-house recruitment functions don’t just react to business needs but do their best to get ahead of it.

Understanding the demand

To move to a world of proactive recruitment it’s first critical to forecasting your long-term hiring requirements. If your business isn’t already working towards long-term hiring plans, there are 3 key factors that a high performing recruitment team can use to develop a pretty accurate expectation of future needs:

1. The Business Plan:

Using their understanding of your business goals they can project any hires for growth;

2. Attrition:

They can analyse and predict churn to estimate the need for replacement hires (read our article on understanding attrition to find out more); and,

3. Focus on difficult hires:

Over index on your most challenging vacancies as they are often the slowest to recruit for and departments may be open to hiring based on the talent available rather than vacancies needed.

What next?

Once you’ve estimated the need of the business you can start taking proactive steps to get in front of the demand.

Identify and engage

Start mapping and understanding the talent that you’re looking to attract and where you can find them (typically on LinkedIn)

At this stage your objective is to build awareness of your business as a potential employer so reach out to the very best candidates with high quality thought leadership (you can probably get this from your marketing team).

You need the right technology:

  • LinkedIn will allow you to build project folders on LinkedIn Recruiter to track relevant candidates ready to reach out when the time is right
  • LinkedIn automation tools can automate building your network amongst target candidates and run nurture campaigns to provide them with high quality content and relevant business updates
  • Your ATS will let you tag high quality applicants so that you can reconnect with them should a relevant role open up
  • Your careers page should allow candidates to register their interest in future roles if they don’t see an immediately relevant position.

(Click here for a more detailed article on Recruitment Technology )

Have your in-house team make contact with the very best candidates and have informal career conversations. You’ll become their first call when they think of moving and, if you need to approach them directly about an opportunity, they’re much more likely to respond, apply and accept your offer if you have a pre-existing relationship.


When the business is ready to hire, your in-house recruiters will have a diverse and carefully nurtured pool of candidates ready to call. Used properly this approach can be the difference between a business making 80% of hires with direct candidates and 100%.


Of course, no matter how well you anticipate and prepare for hiring needs, there are always likely to be unexpected changes. A high performing in-house team should be able to adjust to make the high quality diverse hires you need when you need them.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out how Proactive recruitment could work for your business.