Although most job candidates are currently employed, it doesn’t mean they have to be out of reach for recruiters or businesses looking for talent. Of the 79 percent of candidates that are employed, at least 61 percent are open to a change of employer, according to a recent report by Jobcast.
Admittedly, passive candidates are more difficult to source, but they are still potential hires. Ignoring these candidates can both diminish the overall quality and quantity of your talent pool. Additionally, it can rule out some of the potentially highest caliber talent available. While often more difficult to recruit, passive candidates typically make for better quality employees on the long-term, according to research by LinkedIn. They tend to have more drive than active candidates once hired and are nearly 20 percent less likely to need skills development. Still, recruiting passive candidate requires a different approach and strategy compared to recruiting active candidates.
It requires additional salesmanship, research and outreach on the recruiting side. When it comes to recruiting passive candidates, it’s not about selling them on how amazing your open job is; it’s about creating a situation where candidates are selling you on why they’re qualified, according to Lou Adler, CEO of the Adler Group. In this blog we will explore 5 strategies you can leverage to effectively engage and attract passive candidates.
Create and Grow an Inbound Recruitment Strategy
Passive candidates are less likely to contact you for job opportunities, so finding creative ways to attract them is key. You can make your company easier to discover by creating a strong online presence through thought leadership, digital marketing and lead generation tactics. By creating content passive candidates may be interested in, actively managing social media and engaging on sites like LinkedIn, you can make candidates care enough to click. Instead of simply advertising jobs, you can stand out from the competition by adding value and treating your candidates as consumers of career content. Top talent may be ready for a career change, but might not even know that they are looking for jobs yet. Your content can be the enlightenment that motivates them to do it.
Promote Your Jobs as Positive Career Moves
Top talent, both active and passive, will often be turned off by traditional job descriptions that list a catalog of required skills, experiences, academic degrees and personality traits. Instead, consider describing the job more as a series of a few performance objectives that include potential challenges and the overall impact of the role. Employees want to understand the value proposition, why the job is important and the benefit to them if they are hired. By articulating your job as more than just a list of skills, you can motivate passive candidates to take action.
Nurture Your Network and Talent Pipeline
When you communicate with a passive candidate, you should initiate the first point of contact and keep in mind it may be a challenge to sell your company’s open position. Sending messages tailored towards each particular candidate and getting to know can help you better understand if they are a culture and skill match for your open job, if they fit into your hiring goals and whether or not they can fill any potential talent gaps.
You can create regular candidate touch points and ensure consistent communication with your talent community in order to stay top of mind with passive candidates. Send regular communication to keep them updated on open positions, industry events and networking opportunities. When sending communications, be sure to highlight lesser-known company perks because passive candidates aren’t actively looking to leave their jobs immediately. By highlighting additional benefits outside of job responsibilities, benefits and pay, you can encourage candidates to actually see the value in switching jobs. For example you could highlight your company’s unique benefits package, growth opportunities, flexibility and any other benefits that aren’t exactly surface level.
Leverage Employee Referrals
Organizations make over half of their new hires through employee referrals, according to an article published by EreMedia. Research also shows that referred candidates can be hired much faster than traditional candidates. While a traditional candidate takes an average of 39 days to hire, a referred candidate takes about 29 days to hire. Along with significant time-saving advantages, a referred candidate is also cheaper to hire compared to hiring an agency or paying for a job board posting.
With referred candidates, there is also a higher rate of retention. Research shows that 46 percent of referred employees stay for at least one year after they are hired, compared to only 22 percent of non-referred talent hired through job boards. Studies consistently show that referred candidates tend to stay with the company longer. Employee referrals are one of the most effective ways to source and hire passive candidates. If your organization does not already have an employee referral program, now is the time to build one. Still, sometimes there is simply not enough time to devote to sourcing and recruiting. At that point, it’s a good decision to consider hiring a recruiting firm.
Work with a Recruiting Firm
With the help of a recruiting agency, you reach further into specialized markets and give your hiring team more insight into what is happening. Recruiters are well connected and should ideally know the available talent, where they are and how to reach them. Additionally, they should have extensive knowledge of salary rates, career expectations, available skill-sets and current hiring complexities. The best recruiters act as collaborators and partners, becoming your eyes and ears in the market.
Candidates can be hard to find, especially passive candidates. And because passive candidates are oftentimes the strongest talent out there, sometimes working with a recruiter is the only way to reach them. When candidates are very selective, don’t respond to job advertisements, or are too busy to search for jobs, there is still a chance that they have relationships with recruiters in your company’s industry. Even if a candidate isn’t active, the best recruiters will know who they are and how to reach them. Reaching passive candidates is hard enough, and actually enticing them to make a job switch is even more difficult. With a recruiter on your side, you can access to key strategic skills and the finest talent available, whether they happen to be looking for a job or not.
–> For instant access to Versique’s blogs, great career how-to articles, and industry trends, follow us on Twitter at @Versique and on LinkedIn!
Chris Dardis / About Author
Chris Dardis is the Vice President of Versique HR Executive Search and consulting. Chris has more than 15 years of combined experience within corporate HR leadership positions and the executive search & consulting industry. In addition to Chris’s current contributions to Versique, he has previously launched a HR consulting and search division at a multi-billion dollar recruiting company, and served as a Dir of Talent Acquisitions at the Schwan Food Company. This experience allows Chris the unique ability to truly understand his clients’ human capital needs and offer strategic solutions.