Learning to recruit passive candidates is a different ballgame than recruiting active ones. While an active candidate is someone who is currently looking for a new job, a passive candidate tends to be the opposite. Passive candidates are either already working or not looking to work. So, instead of these candidates coming to you, you’ll have to find them and reach out to them first.
When is Engaging a Passive Candidate the Right Option?
When you are planning for the open position in your company, you’ll need to decide whether you plan to recruit active candidates, passive candidates or both. While there are some strategies that could cater to both, your most effective strategies will only target one group. So when deciding on whether you should target active or passive candidates, these are three things you should take into consideration.
If the position you are filling requires a highly skilled individual in a labor market where the skill is rare, then you may need to tap into your passive candidate pool. That way, you can have direct access to people with the skills you are looking for.
The Risk is High
Some hiring decisions can have catastrophic effects. If that isn’t enough pressure, you can never get back the time, energy, and resources it takes to find the right candidate. So, if a bad hiring decision can have dire consequences, then targeting passive candidates may be the move. With this, you can directly target high-level candidates AND increase your hiring confidence.
The Position is a High-Level Position
If you are hiring for an executive-level position, then you don’t want your candidate pool to be too large. Too many applicants could muddy the water, and you run the risk of sorting through hundreds of applicants that aren’t even qualified enough. You want to be able to select a great candidate from a niche, handpicked group of professionals.
Where Do Passive Candidates Usually Hang Out?
When you make the decision to target passive candidates, your first question is likely:
“Where can I find these candidates?”
At times, the answer to this question can be highly dependent on the industry or position you are recruiting. For example, you likely wouldn’t keep your eyes peeled for talent at a marketing conference if you are looking for someone to code the backend of your website. While it’s possible, you’ll have more luck targeting tech conferences, tech chats, and other “techy spots” where talent likes to hang out.
On the other hand, there are “common areas” and places right under your nose where you can find great passive candidates. Generally, you have the obvious options, which are social media channels, like LinkedIn, networking events, or your own employees. Then you have the not-so-obvious options, such as employee referrals and data on your previous candidates.
3 Strategies to Source and Engage Passive Candidates
Invest in Automation
Data and artificial intelligence tools are very beneficial in targeting passive candidates. These tools have the ability to locate passive candidates by analyzing data from across the web. You’ll have the scoop on which candidates are open to potentially switching jobs in the future. Additionally, AI uses algorithms to predict hiring success so you don’t blindly recruit passive candidates that may not fit your culture or your job requirements.
Referral programs are a tried-and-true method of sourcing passive candidates, yet it is so underutilized. As a company, your employee’s networks become your own network. This is beneficial because your employees not only know what it takes to work at your company, but they also know some highly skilled individuals that they would like to work alongside. With this method, you don’t even have to source candidates yourself – your employees drop them right off at your doorstep. Your only job is to screen, interview, and hire.
Identify What You Can Do For Them
Here is where things get tricky. As a recruiter, you know the importance of selling the job to prospective candidates. Sometimes you have to make the top candidates choose YOU. The same goes for convincing passive candidates, except you’ll have to try a little harder. Passive candidates are likely settled into their jobs, but there may be one or two things that could make them more prone to leaving their current job for a new one. Your goal is to figure out what can sway that candidate into saying yes. Ultimately, that will take some research and some intuition.
Check out our guide on How to Effectively Recruit Employees for more recruiting and hiring tips to make your process more organized and efficient.