Proactive Recruitment Strategies

What do you do when you have low numbers of candidates applying for open roles?

In this challenging job market, it’s important to invest in recruitment, practice proactive recruitment strategies, and remember the basics. While everyone’s situation is different, the structure and dynamics of the market have not changed, and the ways in which people seek employment are still the same.

7 Proactive Recruitment Strategies

 1. Rally & recruit your internal network.

Leverage your existing team who already know you’re an awesome company.

A highly engaged team are your best spokespeople, especially if your engagement survey scores – the Net Promoter system for employees – are an excellent north of 50.

Ask each member of your team to come up with two or three potential candidates and create a little competitive peer pressure.

A great time to do this is when you’ve just recruited awesome people from other companies, and they can bring friends and colleagues along.

Let’s talk about referral incentives.

Incentives can be a ‘thank you’ but after testing in many different companies, we have found they won’t drive behaviour. Financial incentives don’t move the needle. If people love you, they don’t need to be bribed.

Supportive peer pressure usually works better because most people aren’t coin operated – they are pride operated. Results are driven by rallying people, alignment, accountability, making the challenge fun and exciting, then giving them space and time to think and act.

 2. Make it easy for people to recruit for you.

Tell them exactly what you are looking for and arm them with copy for draft messages, job descriptions, and links.


When a US company we work with needed to recruit a lot of people, they rallied the team. Each department, given a target of generating 15 possible candidates a month over the quarter, brainstormed ideas – including drafting brief messages, with brief job descriptions and links to find out more – to make it easy for the team to reach out to their network. They got amazing results.

Another client, in the Middle East, created a Wild West theme to put people ‘behind bars’, complete with ‘Wanted’ posters. The fun, company-wide theme and engagement, with team-based accountabilities, drove people to contact their networks to recruit candidates.

 3. Proactively leverage your external network.

Prospecting for talent is no different than prospecting for customers. Put yourself into a different bubble to leverage other people’s networks.

  • Invite greatness to join you. It can help to give people a script like this one…

Hey, Kevin, we’re on a growth trajectory, and we know that you deal with people just like us all the time. I’m just wondering who might be the best person, you’ve seen or heard about, you think might be an awesome fit for us?

If you repeat that across your networks, you could get 10, 20 or 30 candidates.

As you go, build a database of the best referred people in the business.

  • Make the time.

Everyone is busy and know they need to carve out time to recruit people. But no one does.


One client with 750 employees stops strategic planning sessions for recruitment.

For half an hour, everyone brings up LinkedIn on their laptop, with three key open roles in mind, to identify and contact people. They also include inactive contacts who now run in different circles. This works well, and we’ve hired some great people this way.

 4. Get more muscle.

Double down on internal recruiters or external recruiters.

For many roles, it’s worth paying the extra cost to hire an external, or an additional/part-time recruiter, depending on the scale of your business.

The quantity of candidates in an external recruiter’s database can be of great value, but they don’t know everyone, so make sure you cast a wider net to capture all potential candidates in the market.

Tip: Choose a recruiter who takes an active role to open doors and chase people in targeted companies – not just recycle their existing database.

 5. Put on your marketing hat

Get creative with your ad to sell the opportunity, stand out from the crowd and reflect who you are. Be compelling.

  • What need are you solving for candidates?
  • What’s unique about what you have to offer?

Leverage your marketing team

  • Allocate more marketing dollars to get talent.
  • Use social platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok, job sites and LinkedIn – and good old Google search and other strategies – to reach out to people who either don’t know you or haven’t thought about you recently. Invite them to see what you’re about and what you have to offer.

Note: Check out Episode 67 of The Growth Whisperers in which we talk about why

anyone should come work for you, at the same salary as your competitors.

 6. Ask everyone, everywhere.

Talk to friends, neighbours, college roommates or professors, the coach of your kid’s baseball team who is in a similar industry.


Apple employees are given a business-size card to give to anyone they come across, who provides excellent service. The copy on the card acknowledges their exceptional service and invites them to chat with Apple, if they ever want to move.

 7. Do the Web work.

Make sure your company website and Jobs page is awesome.

  • Does it reflect what you want people to know about you?
    • Does it reflect your culture and uniqueness?
    • Why should anyone work for you at the same salary as your competitors?
  • Are you SEO friendly?

The Challenge

  • If you have open roles for which you need more candidates, which of the ideas above might help?
  • How can you work with your team(s) to get them working?

Want to hear more? Listen to Episode 103 of The Growth Whisperers.

Learn more about Proactive Recruitment Strategies.

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