Passive Talent Recruitment: What Do They Want?

January 16th, 2015

What do passive job candidates really want? When you think about it, the term itself is an oxymoron, because when all is said and done, they can be sold on making a career move. But it takes a slow, methodical process. And before you can recruit passive candidates, you have to find them.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, passive candidates comprise 84 percent of today’s potential workforce. And their wants are well known. LinkedIn recently surveyed 18,000 full-time employees across all industries and 26 different countries. They learned that the leading requirements of passive job hunters are:

  • More money.
  • Greater opportunities for professional advancement.
  • A better work/life balance.

The key to sourcing, attracting and landing passive candidates is to build a relationship with them, find their career-related pain points, and subtly offer them a solution.

Sell the Discussion

After your recruiting partner has vetted and submitted candidates to you, orchestrate an ongoing information-sharing process that moves candidates towards making a long-term career decision. Sell the discussion, not the specific job.

  • Connect with candidates on their preferred media. This may be on LinkedIn, email or the phone. The more engagement you have, the better chance you have of getting their attention.
  • Follow your online engagement with an in person-meeting. This usually is in the form of an interview your recruiter will set up, but be sure to follow interviewing best practices. Start off informally, with coffee or a drink. Keep building the relationship by presenting engaging questions and letting their response guide you. This will not only help candidates feel more at ease (and might help them open up more), it may help you uncover information you otherwise wouldn’t have learned.
  • Take it slowly. Once a candidate comes for an interview, don’t immediately start selling the merits of your open job. Instead, learn all you can about them and what their next career move might look like. Even if your position is a perfect fit, don’t rush it. Instead, suggest another call and if that goes well, move towards an exploratory conversation with your hiring manager. It takes hours of evaluation and dialogue over multiple meetings before a true passive candidate will decide to change jobs. Your recruiting partner with play a crucial role in helping sell a candidate on your open role, so be sure that you are in constant communication and giving frequent feedback to them about the candidates.

Where to Find Them

Passive candidates’ motivations vary. The trigger that incites them to make a move may be as simple as better training opportunities or a desire to be closer to home. They’re not passive because they love their jobs, but because they have a comfortable balance. Can you make it even better? Get out there and find them so you can launch your strategy.

  • Turn to your recruiter. Your recruiting firm has a great database of qualified, passive candidates. Let them know what type of individual you are looking for and they will be able to cross-reference their database to find qualified talent.
  • People engage around relevant, value-added content. Present yourself as a subject matter expert; this will help talent understand more about your organization, expertise, and even company culture. If they read something on your blog that intrigues them, they may be more receptive to applying for a job.
  • Use your employee ambassadors. The best passive candidates may be friends or colleagues of your current team members. Start by treating your own people as though you were recruiting them. If you want employees to speak positively about your organization, they need to actually like working there. Be sure that they know when and for what roles you are hiring. Let them tout your culture and refer their social connections into the community for your hiring consideration.

An ongoing relationship with a recruitment firm is among your best tactics for drawing in passive candidates. These top-performing professionals typically have an interest in maintaining such a partnership, so it becomes a win-win situation for both sides. Contact the Select Group, Inc., recruiting team to learn more.

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