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Reverse Recruiting: What It Is and How It Works

Reverse recruiting will see you taking apart and putting back together the entire hiring process to understand your candidates’ needs and the best way to approach them. Naturally, the deeper your recruitment experience, the better results you’ll get.
Daniel Zacharias

Erick Cardenas

March 3, 2023
reverse recruiting

The battle for the brightest minds is fiercer than ever. Companies, especially tech companies, need to come up with new recruitment ideas if they don’t want to be left behind in the race for talent, especially now that there’s a global shortage of qualified candidates. That’s one of the biggest recruitment challenges of our times!

Companies typically recruit new employees through advertisements, job boards, or social networking sites like LinkedIn or Indeed. Other companies may prefer to use recruitment software or hire a company like Code Power to access experienced professionals.

However, the recruitment battlefield is becoming more and more demanding, as it feels like the best talent always ends up in the hands of the highest bidders: i.e., the companies that manage to sell themselves or attract them in the best way. 

As 9 out of 10 jobseekers will evaluate the employer’s brand and reputation before applying for a job, the company’s own image is now more important than ever to capture the attention of candidates. Furthermore, workers are also picky about the hiring process, to the point that 50% would turn down a job offer if the hiring experience is bad.

In this context, new and innovative methods for recruiting candidates are emerging in an attempt to make the process more efficient and motivating for both parties. One approach to this is reverse recruiting. It relies on reverse engineering to overcome the difficulties encountered in the search for quality talent. 

Reverse recruiting: What does it mean?

Reverse recruitment is a better way to recruit people in the new era we’re living in. It’s a shift from the classic personnel recruiting process to a new one where the company presents its candidacy to potential new employees. This new paradigm focuses on seducing new generations, such as Gen-Z and Gen Alpha, who demand new ways to connect.

How does this change classic recruiting?

Now, HR managers will have to possess more sales and people marketing skills to make their company stand out. They’ll have to present the advantages of their corporate culture and the excitement of their job offers in an attractive way. They also need to be prepared to respond assertively to questions from target candidates. 

In addition, it’s important to understand that the process’s final decision will be up to the candidate. This is mainly because there are multiple candidates vying for the same people. This multiplies the opportunities for workers, who now have the possibility to pick between offers depending on a myriad of factors, not just based on money. 

Finding talent with reverse recruitment

Turning the tables and initiating a reverse recruitment process offers several advantages, including the following.

More accurate efforts

With this approach, you won’t waste time. It’s unlikely that a candidate who’s open to being contacted will put you on hold or misplace your message. 

Less screening time

By reversing the process, you’ll already clearly know the candidate’s requirements, what position they’re looking for in their new job, how much they expect to earn, and other useful data. Having clarity in these aspects avoids many candidate filtering processes.

Greater visibility and fewer competitors

As this methodology is relatively new, being at the forefront allows you to have few companies that can compete. This means that you’ll be able to attract more candidates. Furthermore, you’ll be experienced enough by the time this recruitment methodology becomes an industry standard.

How to start reverse recruiting

Remember that, in order to switch to this new perspective, your recruiting team must be ready to show open-mindedness and flexibility. Understand that the new paradigm means the company is the one that seeks, and not the one that’s being sought.

Then, it’s crucial to increase the degree of personalization in classic communications, i.e., by personalizing email messages or including company photos or videos. Also, you must provide people with relevant information such as flexible working hours, hybrid models, training, development, sustainability and environment, etc. In addition, you must complement this strategy with active presence on channels and platforms used by target candidates. 

Is reverse recruiting a good fit for your company?

Reverse engineering is the act of taking an object apart to see how it works. It’s primarily used for gaining insight into how something works. However, it’s also often used to duplicate or improve the object. 

Similarly, reverse recruiting will see you taking apart and putting back together the entire hiring process to understand your candidates’ needs and the best way to approach them. Naturally, the deeper your recruitment experience, the better results you’ll get.  

This experience will help you understand what it’s like to be on the other side of the counter. You’ll understand what’s it like to be the one from whom skills, courses, qualifications, assignments and interviews are demanded. You’ll be the one who is analyzed, scrutinized, evaluated, and compared to others.  You have to reverse-engineer all of the experience you already have to find the pieces of information that are useful to you now. 

This new modality puts you in job-search-mode. Now you’re the one who (conceptually) must bathe, put on the best perfume, dress in the best suit, and print the final version of the resumé to present to the new applicant. Considering this, and depending on how you feel in that position, you’ll be able to understand whether or not reverse recruiting is right for your company.

However, if you think this method works for you, here are three practical tips which you can use to improve the process of reverse recruiting by following the concepts of reverse engineering:

Become a collector

The first step in initiating a successful reverse collection process is learning to collect other such examples that are exceptional and worthy of analysis.

Spot the difference

Compare your chosen examples with others that seemed mediocre. Do this to identify the critical elements that make them distinctive and better than the rest.

Rate your performance

Develop metrics to evaluate your own performance as you take on reverse recruiting. Then compare it to the examples from your collection. Metrics to consider might include time to hire, cost per hire, and number of qualified candidates.

Reverse recruitment can really change the way in which you seek and hire new team members. Fortunately, you don’t need that much to get started. Using your past recruitment data and outlining a plan on how to handle it, is enough to put you in the right path. And given that this practice is fairly new, you might get an edge over your competitors if you start applying it. So, what are you waiting for?

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