Recruiting passive candidates isn’t an overnight solution to hiring. It takes strategy and time, but for some industries can be the most effective type of hire because it traditionally provides higher retention rates over the long term, says Jena Brown, an independent recruiting operations and brand strategist.
“The very first thing to keep in mind is that relationships matter,” says Brown. “You’ll need to leverage them, create them and maintain them over time to turn a passive candidate into a hire.”
The reality of today’s recruiting world was pointed out in the Accountemps guide to recruiting passive job candidates: Your pool of potential candidates extends far beyond the stacks of resumes you receive in response to job postings, the article stated. “There are plenty of highly skilled workers who are not actively seeking work, but who would jump at the chance if the right position came long. Most managers will attempt to recruit passive candidates at some point, but these waters are tricky to navigate. How can you identify passive candidates? And once you do, how can you tactfully broach the topic of jumping ship and joining your team?”
To keep yourself on track and truly measure your efforts, you’ll want to start by developing a strategy, programs and KPI’s surrounding only passive recruiting, says Brown, who points out these five ways to find passive candidates:
- Employee referrals
- Industry events
- Online campaigns (such as a “get to know” us series)
- Host dial and learn webinars or other presentations
Many passive candidates turn out to be long-term hires, says Brown. The main reason is simple:
“Passive candidates who turn into hires usually come with several different touch points with your company, its culture and values,” says Brown. “If you execute your passive candidate strategy well, the candidate enters your company with a certain level of trust and familiarity and can visualize working for you. This often results in new hires who come up to speed, immerse themselves in the company culture and add value more quickly which nurtures an a higher performer.”
When you contact a passive candidate, don’t give them a pitch right off the bat, stated the experts at Accountemps. This is a longer-term game, so you want to make a personal connection first. Because they’re not actively seeking a new job, they might need to be “warmed up” before you give them the hard sell. Be patient and build the relationship. If you do make an approach and get a definitive “no,” consider asking for recommendations of others who might be interested. If nothing else, you’ll expand your network.
“Passive hires take more time to explore their options, determine what’s important to them and align the company values and culture to their own requirements before accepting an offer,” says Brown. “They come in fully knowing what they left behind and are looking forward to what’s ahead of them with your organization.”
But only 61% of employers currently have a strategy in place to recruit passive candidates, according to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends survey.
“In a candidate driven market, passive recruitment must be a priority,” says Kurt Rakos, founder and Partner at SkyWater Search Partners, a search firm dedicated to the placement of Sales, Marketing, IT, Accounting/Finance and HR related personnel.
Smart employers are ramping up their talent retention strategies and with counter offers on the rise, companies must find more innovative ways of engaging with sought after talent.
“Passive candidates aren’t actively seeking a new position but will explore an opportunity when approached by a specialist recruiter,” says Rakos. “The majority of organizations are either ignoring this talent pool or don’t know where to begin.”
Seven ways to recruit passive candidates
Rakos and his team at Skywater Search Partners offer these seven ways to passively recruit passive candidates:
- Boost your brand:Why do your top performers stay with your company? Understand that and you have the key to attracting talent to your brand. The employment landscape is changing. Generation Y isn’t interested in a “job.” Millennials are looking for meaning in their career choice. Passive candidates want to work for a company that values its employees and promotes a positive culture. If your brand doesn’t match the aspiration of those candidates, you’ll fail to attract the high achievers you need.
- Get noticed:Passive candidates want to work for the best employers. Whether it’s a “Best Place to Work” award or positive ratings on LinkedIn, working hard on your culture will attract the interest of the top performers.
- Get onto social media:Create your own talent community by engaging with potential hires on social media. Share the latest news and issues affecting your industry and be ready to respond quickly to questions.
“Companies which demonstrate authenticity in their communication and interact with passive candidates on social media will create a ready-made talent pool to tap into for their next vacancy,” says Rakos. “Be patient; successful engagement requires commitment. It’s not an overnight fix.”
- Design an effective employee referral program: Employee referral programs should be the number one source of your quality hires. Who better to recruit or identify potential new employees than your existing team? Design a program that responds quickly to referrals and incentivizes employees to get involved.
- Take advantage of technology:Use the latest in technology to support and streamline your recruiting efforts, allowing your HR team to focus on finding the best available talent. Pay special attention to the candidate experience. A lengthy application process, long-winded registration forms and slow responses to applicants guarantees that passive candidates will leave your pipeline long before you reach the interview stage. Don’t lose out on the chance to hire qualified candidates by hanging on to outdated processes and technology.
- Always be ready to hire quickly:Talent won’t hang around. If you find a potential top performer be ready to hire them before your competition snaps them up. The risk will be rewarded and show you are serious about hiring the best people to meet your business objectives.
- Work with a specialist recruiter: Creating a successful talent acquisition strategy takes time and effort. If you need to hire quickly, consider working with a specialist recruiter who understands your industry. Headhunters are in contacting with passive talent on a daily basis and have direct access to the candidates you need to propel your organization forward.