Think that passive candidates aren’t where your best hew hires are waiting? Well according to LinkedIn’s 2015 US Recruiting Trends report, globally, 75% of professionals consider themselves “Passive.” Your next great hire might already be employed because, let’s face it, great talent doesn’t stay unemployed for long. A passive candidate might not be furiously searching for a new position, but if the right opportunity came their way at the right time they are more than willing to investigate!
“Passive candidates are not really as passive as they say they are,” said Steve Guine, National Director of Staffing at IIT. “Like active candidates, they are more than willing to listen. The big difference being, they are more selective.” They tend to be happy where they are, so what are you doing to connect with them and show them that you company has everything they didn’t even realize was missing from their current position?
Here are 4 ways to better connect with passive candidates:
Mine your existing ATS.
Jennifer Hasche, Lead Sourcer at Intuit, noted in a Dice interview in 2011 that Intuit had 230 submissions for one position in their ATS, but no one had looked at them! Before you start even working to get new resumes in the system check your ATS to be sure your dream candidate isn’t already sitting there. Someone that applied to your company in the past is more than likely willing to hear about a newly available position and perhaps they are now even better qualified than before! You passed on them for some reason back then, but with a few more years’ experience under their belt perhaps they are everything you could want in a new hire and more. If that passive candidate desperately wanted to work for your company then chances are that desire is still there.
Understand a passive candidate’s real motivations.
If things were perfect candidates would never consider leaving their current position. So what is missing that makes them more open to hearing about your job opening? Interestingly enough, it’s not usually money that makes someone a passive OR an active candidate. What quiet motivations are there whispering at them to move? Do they feel like they have plateaued at their current company and are looking for somewhere with more upward mobility? Have they spent 10 years working in corporate America and would prefer to work for a smaller company with less red tape? Or is it even something as simple as they want a job that allows them to work remotely a few days a week so they can spend more time with their family? When you better understand WHY a passive candidate might consider moving you are much more likely to catch their attention with something that really sticks.
Don’t lose touch.
A great candidate might cross your path (thanks to all your great recruitment marketing efforts!), but what if you just don’t have the position they are looking for? You can’t expect great talent to wait for a position to open up. But while you may have missed snatching them up this time don’t let that relationship fall through the cracks! Keep in touch with social network check-ins, individual emails, talent nurturing newsletters, events and more. Make sure that they don’t forget about you and ensure they know you haven’t forgotten about them! When the “perfect” job comes down the pipeline reach out to them personally and get the conversation going again.
Make it easy for candidates to interact with you on your career sites.
Simplify online applications and implement easy opt-in talent networks for those who like your company but may not see a job they are interested in or perhaps they just aren't ready to apply. Just like your marketing team optimizes its forms for minimal info/maximum conversion, a short form talent network opt-in (maybe just let them use their LinkedIn profile!) allows you to capture more information about passive candidates so that you can keep in contact, get to know them over time and more. And when a job becomes available, you can quickly reach out and invite them to apply.
Candidates aren’t’ necessarily untouchable when it comes to recruitment marketing. And if the LinkedIn research is correct, your next best hire probably falls under the passive talent headline! Focusing solely on active candidates sorely limits your talent pool. But you have to be willing to adjust your plan of attack to hit passive candidates with the message they want when it will have the best impact. Just like you customize your customer-facing messages and approaches to nurture prospective customers, you need to customize your recruitment marketing to better reach all candidates.