Tips for Finding Passive Candidates

By The Recruiting Division

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Is this happening in your company? Your recruiting process isn’t producing as many successful hires as you’d like, or it’s costing you more and more for fewer and fewer quality hires. Wonder why? Are you focusing on passive candidates?

Internationally known HR thought-leader, speaker, and author Dr. John Sullivan discusses the candidate-driven job market and its impact on recruiting when advising employers and recruiters on effective recruiting strategy. While many employers are still going after active candidates, Sullivan says the only way to be successful when the power has shifted to the candidate is to change your recruiting strategies, one of which is shifting your recruiting focus from active to passive candidates.
 

Why Focus on Passive Talent?

Not totally convinced? Look no further than CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study, which shows candidates today are more selective in the job search, use the same level of due diligence as when house or car shopping, and use an average of 18 different sources when looking for a job and a new employer. Does your recruiting strategy put your company and its open positions in at least 18 different recruiting and candidate engagement venues?

CareerBuilder’s survey found that 75 percent of passive candidates are open to or actively looking for new job opportunities. That is a lot of untapped talent interested in new opportunities, and if you’re not actively looking for and engaging them, you’re missing out on a huge population of talent with the current skills, knowledge, and experience that your company needs. If a focus on passive talent isn’t part of your recruiting strategy today, here’s how to add it now.
 

Add Passive Candidate Sourcing

Looking through your ATS and incoming resumes may show you who is actively looking for a job at your company, but it doesn’t show you candidates who are employed but may be open to an opportunity with your firm. For that, you have to actively source passive candidates. That means looking at who is active in industry forums, blogs, and social media. Look at social media profiles of those who match keywords from your job postings through Boolean search, or better yet use one of the new social aggregation tools like SwoopTalent, TalentBin, Gild, or HiringSolved.  From LinkedIn profiles, find out what LinkedIn groups top candidates are in and look at posts and comments, and post your openings to the groups where promising candidates participate. Look at industry and association forums to see who is active and contributing there and connect, including www.MeetUp.com, where you can find just about any group that will contain your target candidates.  You don’t necessarily have to physically go to meetups, as you can hang out with members online, and you can even message them. For IT candidates, specifically programmers, go to StackOverflow and GitHub, two of most popular social sites for software developers.
 

Get More Social

You may be on LinkedIn for recruiting purposes, but don’t limit your social media recruiting efforts to one or two platforms. Bump out your recruiting efforts and messaging to as many social media outlets as makes sense for your company, positions, and industry. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are just some of the social platforms to sell your company’s open positions, tell your company’s story, and engage passive candidates to convince them that your company is the best place for them. Don’t keep your company’s employees a secret either. Encourage them to talk about your openings in their own social media networks and let you know if they think someone is a good fit to follow up with.  If you happen to also be in the market for a corporate-side applicant tracking system, then consider JobVite, as it also has outstanding social recruiting functionality.
 

Highlight Growth and Opportunity

The days of the elevator speech are passing, and a better strategy to engage candidates, especially passive candidates, is with a sizzle sheet or sizzle statements. Sizzle sheets and statements tell quick stories and feature one-line statements about your openings and company. Great add-ons for recruiting sizzle sheets are hearing how current employees feel about working for your company. Testimonials from real employees sharing their stories about their work at your company are engaging and convincing for candidates open to change. Give people a way to see themselves in their careers with your company and you create a connection.  

When you change your recruiting focus to include passive candidates, you will start to see different results. You’ll get opportunities to engage candidates who are not coming in through traditional channels. You’ll see your recruiting message spread farther and your hiring success improve.

 

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