Reverse Recruiting

Wendy Kelly
Wendy N. Kelly, MSHRM, PHR, SHRM-CP
It is easy for your organization to get left behind when you’re not keeping pace with the latest approaches to attracting talent. That is why you should consider reverse recruiting. Read more to learn what reverse recruiting is, it’s benefits and more.

Watch the world’s largest HR encyclopedia be built in real-time

Subscribe to get a weekly roundup email of all our new entries

What Is Reverse Recruiting?

Reverse recruitment is a recruitment model where organizations apply for candidates versus the other way around, reversing the recruitment process. This process is most commonly used in the tech industry.

What Are the Benefits of Reverse Recruiting?

Reverse recruitment provides an array of benefits, for example, increased candidate skill sets, less candidate competition and candidate diversity.

  • Skill Sets. Reverse recruiting allows organizations to strategically identify and connect with jobseekers who share/identify their strongest asset, their skills. Knowing the candidate’s skills beforehand allows employers to match the required qualifications to the job early in the hiring process.
  • Less Competition. Your candidate pool in the reverse recruiting process consists of those who are most likely not actively  seeking employment. Because of this, the potential candidate is not actively applying elsewhere and this reduces the competition over that potential candidate.
  • Diversity. Because reverse recruiting is a new concept, you are more likely to source candidates that you typically would not, providing for a more diverse candidate pool.

How Does Reverse Recruiting Work?

Reverse recruitment can be a challenge. You will want to think about your target market, your company brand, and what your strategy for approaching potential candidates will look like. We’ll explore each of these components below.


Keep in mind that the process of recruiting is now reversed. The candidate has not applied for employment with your organization. It is important to identify the skill set, experience required, monetary value and benefits of the open position early on in the reverse recruiting process so you can communicate why the candidate should consider your organization.


Having a reputable employer brand helps your organization recruit candidates and reduce hiring and marketing costs. Your brand is a key component to reverse recruiting. Your brand communicates to potential new employees who you are as an employer.


Hard-to-find talent and hard-to-fill jobs are constant. It is what some HR professionals have dubbed the war on talent. Review and revise your internal organization’s  recruitment strategy. Think about what is working and what is not. In addition, consider your candidates’ needs and wants and cater your message to them to make the open role an attractive option.

Metrics To Measure Reverse Recruiting Success

Measuring the success of your recruitment process can help you determine if your process is as effective as possible. There are a range of metrics you can use to measure the success of your reverse recruitment strategy, including time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and number of candidates.


This metric measures the number of days it takes to fill a position. The period measured is typically from the job requisition being requested to the offer being made to the candidate.

This metric can help you determine if your hiring process is taking too long.

To calculate:

  • Determine the time when you will being to measure (e.g. job posted)
  • Determine when you will end measuring the time (typically the day the candidate accepts the offer)

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports an average time-to-fill of 42 days.

Note time to fill calculations may vary from one organization to the next.


This metric measures the cost associated with the sourcing, recruiting and staffing activities. It is a ratio of the total dollars expended (in both external and internal costs) to the total number of hires in a specified time period. It measures how much it costs your organization to hire new employees, capturing the total amount of money invested in your reverse recruitment process.

To calculate, use the below formula:

CPH= (Internal Recruiting Costs + External Recruiting Cost) ÷ Total number of hires

Number of Candidates

LinkedIn Talent Solutions define sourcing channel effectiveness measures as how much each of your sourcing channels (e.g. job boards, recruitment ads, sourcing tools, professional social networks, etc.) are contributing to your pool of potential candidates.

By using this metric you’re able to determine which platforms are providing quality candidates, and the number of candidates from each platform.

To calculate:

  • Count the number of candidates generated during a particular time frame, comparing to each platform used to determine which method is generating the most candidates.
  • Next, count the quality of each candidate during the same period. Be sure to set the standard of quality that will be used to measure success.

Watch the world’s largest HR encyclopedia be built in real-time

Subscribe to get a weekly roundup email of all our new entries

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Reverse Recruiting

What is a disadvantage of reverse recruiting compared to other hiring methods?
A disadvantage of reverse recruiting compared to other hiring methods is that it is extremely time consuming.
Is the reverse recruiting method most effective in specific industries?
Yes, reverse recruitment is most effective in the tech industry.
Wendy Kelly
Wendy N. Kelly, MSHRM, PHR, SHRM-CP

Wendy is a HR professional with over 10 years of HR experience in education and health care, both in the private and non-profit sector. She is the owner of KHRServices, a full service HR management agency. She is also SHRM and HRCI certified, serves as a HRCI Ambassador, and voted 2021 Most Inclusive HR Influencer.

Want to contribute to our HR Encyclopedia?

Other Related Terms

Posts You Might Like

5 Recruitment Tips for Attracting Top Candidates​

5 Recruitment Tips for Attracting Top Candidates​

You want to attract the right people for the right job at your company—before the competition hires the best talent in the field. The hiring process, often involving recruiting, multiple screenings, assessments, and interviews, can take weeks or longer. An inefficient process may cause your company to lose out simply because candidates got another offer sooner. On the other hand, a poor hiring process can result in employees who are a poor fit for the culture or job requirements, causing expensive turnovers.

Read More »
5 HR and Hiring Practices You Need to Fire

5 HR and Hiring Practices You Need to Fire

Companies don’t usually have a problem letting people go who are stealing or consistently underperforming and showing no signs of improvement. Why are we so much more lenient with HR practices that cost a ton and don’t do what we need them to?

Read More »

Want to join our network of contributing HR professionals?

Scroll to Top

Submit a Question