The Perks of Being a Proactive Recruiter

In the tech world, the bulk of hires are made through proactive outbound recruitment. The key word there is proactive. If you’re waiting for the right candidate to come to you, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of open positions to fill. This doesn’t mean recruiters should just hone in on one special candidate to chase, however. What it does mean is that talent acquisition teams should be actively pursuing opportunities to connect with the best employees and build their networks at all times. This allows teams to get ahead of hiring (as well as the competition) by creating pipelines and networks prior to open headcount. Here’s another way to think of it — proactive recruiting is like training. Just as you train as a way to prepare for the main event, you proactively recruit as a way to prepare for open headcount.

3 Tips for More Proactive Recruiting

To proactively recruit, focus on creating opportunities for candidate conversations every chance you get. Whether that’s conducting a networking call, scheduling an informational meeting, attending an event, or making a quick intro at a conference, be sure that you (and your teammates) are creating opportunities for conversation. In many of the roles and companies that I recruit for, even if a candidate is not actively looking, he or she will often take my call because of brand recognition or a prior conversation. Maybe they met a good sales rep who spoke highly of OpenView at a conference, or met a developer who did the same at a meetup. It’s impressive how far a 5-minute conversation can go. Interested in getting more proactive? Here are three tips to set you on your way:

1) Stop Looking for a Single Candidate

For each and every search, focus on cultivating relationships and building a pipeline for the long-term. If the timing isn’t right for your top candidate, send a response to keep them in your network, or have a short 10 minute introductory call. Develop and nurture that relationship. Even if it doesn’t result in a hire immediately, it can lead to good things further down the road.

2) Leverage Your Relationships and Always Ask for Referrals

Don’t be afraid to reach out to top candidates you have connected with to network. I do this for two reasons:

  1. The best people know the best people, and referrals are a great way to have a warm connection.
  2. Additional touch points help to establish better relationships with candidates.

3) Really Listen to Your Candidates

If you are talking to a great candidate who is not a match for the particular role you are currently recruiting for, ask them what opportunities they are looking for. When you have this information, keep it and share it. If you know of another company or opportunity out there that seems like a good fit, make an introduction. Don’t hold back simply because you want to hire them. There is always future opportunity, and you should always recruit with that in mind.

Key Benefits to Proactive Recruiting

  • A healthy future pipeline of great candidates
  • Discovery of go-to networkers in a practice area
  • Building your company’s brand
  • Referrals, referrals, referrals
  • Boomerang candidates who come back in the future with the intention and interest to make a move

In the competitive world of recruiting today, proactive recruiting is the way to secure top talent, and to build your talent network. Check out this article on for more tips on proactive recruiting. What else do you do to be proactive in your recruiting process? Share your ideas below!

Take the Next Step: Download our Free Recruiting Guide!

Get More Talent, Faster: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Recruiting Team Help your company overcome one of the greatest challenges to growing a successful business: acquiring top talent. Talent-Factory-web-cover-265x300Download this free eBook and learn how to:

  • Assemble and manage a successful, high-output talent team
  • Execute the 6 phases of an effective recruiting process
  • Leverage the best recruiting tools and technology in the industry
  • Establish the key metrics you need to measure to regularly improve your recruiting program


Carlie Smith
Carlie Smith
Director of Talent

Carlie Smith was the Senior Talent Manager, Sales & Marketing at OpenView. She worked directly with hiring managers and key stakeholders within OpenView and its portfolio to lead vital searches and provided process guidance on recruitment strategy, including talent identification, strategic sourcing, relationship building, and competitive intelligence. Currently, Carlie is the Director of Circle.
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