Employer Insights

Proactive Vs Reactive Hiring: Pros and Cons

Ettienne Gioia

Principal Consultant | Architecture & Planning

Feb 14, 2023

The age-old question. The chicken and egg scenario. When is the right time to hire?

It’s no shock that a new hire is an investment. You are not only investing in a salary but also a pension; your time and energy in the recruitment process; tax costs and often a recruitment fee.

Only time will tell if this pays off, and often, the financial benefits of a new hire will not be immediately apparent when considering a new employee’s return to the business.

However, when making a new hire, this can take the form of two approaches:

  1. Proactive
  2. Reactive.

A proactive hire is one that is made in preparation for a time of sustained and continuous growth. Ahead of the curve and occurring ahead of a trigger moment of panic.

A reactive hire is a knee jerk reaction. Perhaps an unexpected resignation in the team or a pivotal new project dropping sooner than expected.

There are most definitely pros and cons to both, and there is no one size fits all – growth strategy is no easy feat and it’s difficult to hit the nail on the head all the time.

We thought we’d break things down for you, inspired by our collective experience across recruiting within Property Sectors, on the observed benefits and drawbacks to both proactive and reactive hiring and to perhaps shed some light on your past and future hires.

The Proactive Hire

Organised. Ahead of the game. Ready for anything. Perhaps an element of risk?


You alleviate the risk of being caught short when you are most in need. An unexpected resignation, a huge new project dropping ahead of schedule, or a promotion leaving an undeniable resource gap in the team can cause a sudden change in dynamic? You’ve got it covered.

Not being prepared for such events can lead to a sudden change in workload for existing staff to achieve the same results, which ultimately can lead to dismay among staff. If you’re ahead of the curve, and prepared for this, the great resignation cycle is subsequently cut short.


Again, circling back to the chicken and egg scenario. It is an expensive investment for something that may not pay off, or you may not need in the short term.

The Reactive Hire

Cost cutting. Cautious. Perhaps an element of risk 2.0?


Cheaper in the short term.

No need to pay a salary and recruitment fee until you are in absolute need. It could therefore by seen as a little more financially safe than a proactive hire.


With the labour market being in its current state - jobs a plenty, yet candidates a little more wary on moving than before, you run the risk of a prolonged period unable to fill your vacancy.

During this prolonged period of searching for the ‘right fit’ in your replacement, you run the risk of overworking your current staff, in some cases doubling workloads, or impeding the progression of junior staff as their mentors are too busy picking up the deficit in work.

Question marks over why there has been no consideration to promoting existing staff may arise. And no surprises here, but remaining staff may also start to become fed up and look elsewhere, in turn creating an even bigger gap to fill with short notice.

Additionally, a time of desperation could also lead to pouncing on the first available individual and rushing through the process to get them through the door without delay.

This could work out. However, it could also fizzle out, with failed probation periods, a poor team fit, or even a mismatch of skillset for the needs of the role.

In sum, there is a clear argument for both approaches to hiring, largely dependent on your needs. Yes, a proactive hire can have an element of financial risk in the short term, but the negative implications of a reactive hire seems to supersede this.

One thing that is clear is that the act of hiring is not a stand-alone occurrence, and trickles down from the top to the very floor that keeps your firm afloat. Be cautious with decisions, but also be wise, and remember to contextualise the magnitude that a hiring process can have on your firm.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on this. Get in touch with us today, contact information found below.

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Principal Consultant | Architecture & Planning

Ettienne Gioia

Ettie’s open, honest nature is something that clients and candidates alike respond to. She’s empathetic and takes a genuine interest in the lives of her candidates. Fiercely intelligent, Ettie knows her industry back to front, but is always open to learning and growing. Open-minded, caring, and loyal, you know you’ve struck gold when Ettie is the one guiding your job search.

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