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No vacancy? No problem. Try ongoing recruitment

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Filling a vacancy costs time, money and resources - even if you use a specialist recruitment agency that makes the process as efficient and simple as possible for you.

So should your business be attracting and meeting new candidates even when there are no vacancies to fill?

The smart thinking is yes - especially if you lie in a sector currently suffering from skills shortages with hard-to-fill roles.

Ongoing recruitment means developing relationships with candidates who could work with you further down the line, as well as doing all you can to make yourself an attractive employer all year round.

Whether you invite possible employees in for exploratory conversations (if they’re comfortable to be spotted in your workplace), or arrange coffee meetings off-site (if they’re not), it’s wise to get to know professionals who have the right skills and experience to add value to your organisation in the future. Here are some reasons why...

Reduce the time to recruit

Skills shortages in many technical sectors mean that job seekers are more able to pick and choose the jobs they want. So organisations able to streamline their recruitment process - ideally making job offers within 24 hours of interview - are more likely to snap up the best candidates.

Establishing a list of would-be applicants means that if the need arises, there are more candidates primed and ready to apply instantly.

Less risk of a bad hire

Hiring the wrong person can be an expensive error. Indeed, research by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation in 2017 suggested that someone on a salary of £42,000 who turns out to be a bad hire can cost a business over £132,000.

There are many reasons for poor recruitment choices, and time pressures to fill a critical vacancy can be one of them. But if you’ve already built up relationships with possible candidates over months (or even years) you’re more likely to be able to choose someone who’ll be a genuinely good fit for the role. 

Give top talent time to get to know you

Actively making ongoing recruitment a part of your talent strategy will naturally give you a chance to get to know strong candidates in the industry. Although many of these probably won’t be looking for a new role at that time, you’ll have the chance to start building relationships that hopefully pay off in the long term.

What also counts is the opinion would-be employees build up of you as an employer. These days, company culture plays a crucial role in attracting candidates to their next role.

So do all you can to sell the benefits of working in your team, and the opportunities you can offer - while staying in touch with the latest news to keep them engaged and interested in your business.

Showing your company culture and personality as an employer is always a positive move. Even if some of the top talent never end up working for you, they may refer others who do.

Be proactive, not reactive

Of course, it’s important to manage expectations and be upfront with any potential candidates that you’re not currently offering any vacancies.

It’s also wise to be transparent about any meetings with existing team members - they may need reassurance that their own jobs are safe.

But handled right, this kind of strategy can pay dividends. As we know through our work at RHL finding the right staff for professional and technical sectors, nurturing contacts plays a key role in building the best team. Ongoing recruitment is a prime example of this in action.