Human Resource professionals in every industry are responsive to the needs of their institution; when there’s a vacancy, they spring into action, working diligently to fill the opening with the best talent in the shortest amount of time. Recruitment has been a reactive function for as long as there has been HR. But what if recruitment could be proactive – ready with talent on deck to feed needs even before they happen? That is proactive recruitment: anticipating need and having reserves ready.
Making time to be proactive
Technology continues to ease the burden on HR professionals in a myriad of ways. Job boards refine candidate searches to niche and specialty markets, reducing the volume of excessive resumes received. Applicant tracking software screens candidates more quickly and efficiently than we ever could, putting top talent at the beginning of our qualified candidate pile. Chatbots and other technology are helping with phone interviews, scheduling, and more. As HR rids itself of these arduous, time-draining tasks, more time is available to be proactive. But how do you start?
The wealth of data all these technologies have afforded you are a gold mine of information. While few recruiters take the time to use them, they can be an invaluable resource. One easy way is to analyze trends. A few to look out for:
When are you searching for a particular type of hire? Is it cyclical to your facility or industry-wide? If it’s particular to your facility, you can plan to recruit for those openings before they come available – before the next cycle begins. If the cycle is industry-wide, can you get a jump on the competition by starting your search earlier in the process?
When are your searches most successful? Analyze which searches resulted in fast, successful hires and which did not. For those that were successful, delve deeper into the data. What sources netted the best applicant pool? Did time to hire affect success rates? Where did cooperation from hiring managers and department heads enhance success?
For searches that didn’t result in hires, even more data analysis is required. Why were sources ineffective? Were there time drains throughout the process that cost you candidates? How can you improve on those? Planning ahead could assure you don’t miss out on top talent the next time around.
You likely participate in a host of hiring opportunities for new graduates in every discipline your facility serves, but can you work more proactively to put your institution top of mind with potential grads? Connecting with them directly, or with their advisers, can put your facility in a position to offer conditional hiring contracts long before they don the cap and gown.
Are there employees poised for promotion whose loss will mean a vacancy? If staffers are closing in on a promotion, plan to start recruiting in the months before the change becomes effective. Is someone looking into a sabbatical, considering maternity leave or any other change in his or her work situation? Work with hiring managers; they have the information you need to plan ahead and assure full coverage, no matter what the circumstance. Have them contact you with any potential loss so you can be proactive in hiring before the need arises.
Build a Network of Subs
Substitute teachers have been the norm in the education system for decades. Knowing that coverage will be needed at some point, these employees are on hand when necessary. Most institutions can build their own network of standby workers, as well. Anticipating need could include an on-premises floating staff, ready to fill in wherever necessary. It could also include creating opportunities for substitutes from a host of sources.
Exit interviews can result in invaluable leads. Whenever a quality employee leaves, ask if he or she might be available for standby or part-time work. They may be looking to reduce hours to spend more time with family but would welcome an occasional boost to their finances with work that isn’t permanent.
Second Choice Candidates
Candidates who were second choice when a permanent position was filled may also be interested in standby openings, and you could offer them the next vacancy in their desired department when it becomes available.
With all the information available to HR professionals today, becoming proactive in hiring is simply a question of analyzing data and building on the relationships you already have. You could position your facility as never being short-staffed, with some careful planning and cultivating.