4 Ways to Get Passive Job Candidates to Come to You

In LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report, nearly 85% of talent leaders said that finding top talent is their number one priority. However, with 5% unemployment today, along with shrinking talent pools, and 95% of executives admitting to making bad hires every year, getting strategic hires right is only getting harder.

Furthermore, we are facing arguably the fiercest competition over talent in more than a decade, so it’s more important than ever for business leaders to pursue candidates who are not actively ‘looking’, but who might be open to ‘listening’. These passive job seekers make up approximately 75% of the workforce, but convincing them to ‘jump ship’ can be a challenge.

Too often, however, even the savviest of companies lack a coherent strategy to pursue passive candidates. Instead, they sift through incoming resumes from candidates who are unemployed or always looking to move. While it is unfair to generalize, these are less likely to be the best performers.

Here are 4 ways to find the best candidates hiding among passive job seekers and to convince them to join your firm.

1) Commit to becoming a ‘Best Place to Work’ and actively promote your status. Money is not the only deciding factor. Glassdoor reported that 84% of employees would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation. Today’s candidates—millennials or otherwise—seek career opportunities, compensation & benefits, culture & values, senior management mentoring and work-life balance. In the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends study, nearly 80% of executives rated employee experience ‘very important’ or ‘important’.

“Follow LEADING organizations such as Facebook and Netflix, which allow you to simply upload your resume and cover letter with a couple of clicks.”

Top companies such as Bain & Co., Google and Facebook offer perks such as free meals, on-site gyms, massages, free laundry services and generous parental leave. Moreover, Glassdoor Community Expert Scott Dobroski recently said, “We see employees talking favorably about working for companies with mission-driven company cultures, working for senior leaders who embrace and practice transparency, and doing interesting work that has a greater impact, career growth opportunities, and competitive pay.”

Wise business leaders adopt these philosophies and policies because employees become their biggest brand ambassadors. In addition to organic positive publicity, companies should proactively submit applications for ‘Best Places to Work’ rankings. These are now offered by many national publications, as well as local business journals.

2) Ensure that your company’s application process is seamless and optimized. Unemployed candidates have one focus, and that is to apply for jobs. Passive job seekers, on the other hand, have other priorities, and as we said previously, job hunting is not one of them. If they happen to stumble across your job ad, it is critical that your application process is compelling and seamless. If not, you may lose out on a great candidate. Encourage your CHRO to seek feedback from new employees. Setting metrics and goals would ensure process improvements are met.

Follow the lead of emerging SaaS organizations that offer one-click apply options, or online organizations such as Facebook and Netflix, which allow you to simply upload your resume and cover letter with a couple of clicks. A laborious online application process will severely hinder your firm’s ability to compete effectively among passive job seekers.

In addition to speed, your application process must be optimized for any device. A Glassdoor survey revealed that nine out of 10 job seekers are job hunting on mobile. And a Global Web Index (GWI) study found that, on average, people own 3.64 connected devices each. Passive job seekers, who only may have a few minutes to browse career opportunities, must be able to apply on the go on any device.

3) Invest in a third-party recruiter to avoid a poaching war. This is best way to approach passive candidates neutrally. While some leaders believe that lateral recruitment is controversial, many believe poaching from a competitor is ethically sound and a smart business move. Just as companies compete for clients, they need to be prepared to compete for top employees too.

Zappos, the popular online shoe and clothing shop, prides itself on recruiting passive candidates. “Everyone is really struggling for technology people,” says Christa Foley, Senior HR Manager at Zappos. “When we’re competing from a tech candidate standpoint with the Bay Area and Seattle and Austin … we definitely have to seek passive candidates for those roles.”

4) Use social media to network. When Mark Zuckerberg first launched Facemash, the “hot or not” predecessor to Facebook, it is doubtful he was thinking of job recruiting, but the evolution of social media has made scouting out potential candidates invariably easier. The number-one reason HR professionals use social media is to recruit passive candidates, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Use multiple channels. The most popular include Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and YouTube. In addition to sending cold messages—which is absolutely fine—so long as they are targeted and individually customized—ensure that your HR leader is joining groups relevant to your industry and sharing content that will contribute and elevate the discourse. This will make A-players more likely to hear your pitch and may even drive them to you.

In 2017, having a best-in-class recruiting program is no longer optional, it is critical to the success of your organization. In the current climate, having a robust strategy to target passive candidates is more important than ever and the tips above will help put your company on a path to success.

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Keith Johnstone
Keith Johnstone is the Head of Marketing at Peak Sales Recruiting, a leading B2B sales recruiting company launched in 2006. Keith leads all marketing activities and has successfully grown revenue and lead volume every quarter. He plays a key role in driving Peak Sales Recruiting which leads the industry with a success rate 50% higher than the industry average, working with a wide-range of clients including boutique, mid-size and world-class companies including P&G, Gartner, Deloitte, Merck, Taser and others. Follow @KJ_Peak

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