Recruiting Passive Candidates: How to Find Hidden Talent

recruiting passive candidatesIf you are looking for the highest quality talent to fill jobs at your company, you should consider recruiting passive candidates if you haven’t already.  Passive candidates are job candidates that are not actively looking for work.  Most of them currently have a job, and are pretty satisfied with it.  This fact makes these candidates more of a challenge to recruit, but passive candidates are more likely to have the skills and experience you are seeking.

According to a recent global Talent Trends research report from LinkedIn, 85% of the workforce would be open to exploring opportunities if the right one came along, and consider themselves passive candidates.  With unemployment so low these days, companies have less talent to choose from.  In some cases, passive candidates may be the only option to fill a position.  But since these candidates aren’t looking for work, passive recruiting requires a completely different approach.  You need to consider different methods of recruiting, and different ways to entice the candidates.  Here are some tips for recruiting passive candidates:

1)  Encourage employee referrals

The best way to get a passive candidate’s attention is through someone they know very well and trust.  Your employees know firsthand why your company is a good place to work.  If they are happy, they are likely to spread the word to their family and friends.  And if they are hard-working and talented employees, they are likely to be an excellent resource for recruiting passive candidates that will perform in the same capacity.  In fact, according to a recent report from talent acquisition network CareerXRoads, candidates found through referrals are 3-4 times more likely to be hired.  What’s more, employee referrals have a 46% retention rate after one year, according to the Theundercoverrecruiter.com.  This is the highest retention rate of all recruiting avenues.

To encourage employees to assist you with passive recruiting, it’s best to create an incentives program.  Offering employees cash bonuses or other rewards like free meals, gift cards or fun events to attend are great ways to inspire them to start looking around their professional networks.  And if you work on making your company culture as strong as it can possibly can be, your employees will carry a natural excitement about their jobs that will rub off on those around them.

2)  Utilize Social Media

Passive candidates are less likely to read or respond to job advertisements since they are not actively looking for work.  Social media is a very effective tool for recruiting passive candidates.  Make sure your company takes full advantage of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  In a survey from software and recruiting company Jobvite, 56% of recruiters reported they find some of their best candidates through social media. Social media networks, particularly LinkedIn, are useful for finding information on candidates and making sure they have the right skills and experience.  When you find passive candidates you want to add to your talent pipeline, you can connect with them and stay abreast of changes in their professional lives.

Make sure to share all job postings on social networks, as well as updates on company news, awards and new products.  You can also look into other social media sites, such as Instagram, Pinterest and industry specific networks.  Relationship building is essential to recruiting passive candidates.  Allow them to slowly get to know what your company is about, so when the right time comes along for them they will already have your company in mind.  Find strategic ways to reach out to candidates at the right times.  But be sure not to pester or oversell your company to passive candidates on social media.  They might not respond to you right away, and it could be years before they are ready to explore opportunities with your company.  Just stay patient and work on growing your social network and attracting quality talent.

3)  Make sure your application process isn’t a headache

When you do spark the interest of a passive candidate, you don’t want them giving up because your application process is grueling.  When recruiting passive candidates, its best to forgo the online application process you would require from active candidates you aren’t already familiar with.  Make sure your company website, social media sites and any other online content your company has is mobile friendly, and loads quickly and easily on multiple channels.  This will help create a smoother process for building relationships with passive candidates.

4)  Focus on what your company can offer

In job advertisements or e-mails you send to passive candidates, you should structure the job description differently than you would for candidates actively looking for work.  You already know these candidates have the skills and experience you are looking for, so just get right to the point.  Concentrate less on the job requirements, and sell them on your company culture, interesting projects going on, and ways they can grow in the organization.  In passive recruiting, show candidates what they can gain from working from you.  This could range from new skills to a better retirement plan to schedule flexibility.

Author: Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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Recruiting Passive Candidates: How to Find Hidden Talent
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Recruiting Passive Candidates: How to Find Hidden Talent
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Passive candidates are job candidates that are not actively looking for work. Most of them currently have a job, and are pretty satisfied with it. This fact makes these candidates more of a challenge to recruit, but passive candidates are more likely to have the skills and experience you are seeking. Here are some tips for recruiting passive candidates.
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