"When we see someone special, we bring them onboard whether we have a job or not," says Karen Niovitch Davis, partner and chief human resources officer at New York-based Prosek Partners, a public relations firm. "This allows us to gather some of the best talent in the industry. If you look for candidates only when you have a need, you'll have to compromise, since the right person may not be available at that time."
Firms may want to lock into so-called true believers. Outreach, a Seattle-based sales engagement platform, decided to hire a man who it pursued as a customer after that person learned about the company and asked to be part of the team. "It was flattering, but scary. We wondered if we were making a mistake," says Outreach CEO Manny Medina. "But the measurable impact on our business has been undeniable."
That hire worked in sales and was instrumental in developing that department's culture, Medina says. The company also has made its quarterly goal targets since that hire.
Startups that may quickly face challenges if they experience fast growth, it is especially important to be proactive with hiring. "Given the competition for highly-skilled labor pools, companies today need to be more proactive in their hiring approaches," says Leela Srinivasan, chief marketing officer for San Francisco-based Lever, a recruiting platform. "If they sit back and rely on applicants to come to them, or wait too late to open up that role, they'll never hit their targets."