Go for the Gold: Deepen Your Talent Pool with Passive Candidates
Passive candidates are not looking for a new job, and probably not spending a lot of time researching new opportunities that might put them in contact with you—the recruiter or the hiring manager. Valuable for their experience and skill, passive candidates represent gold hidden in the existing workforce.
At BrightMove, we develop and deliver recruiting software to identify, attract, and manage leads for recruiters, outsource vendors, and enterprise. We started out as recruiters, and we understand the difficulty of establishing credible candidate leads and nurturing those leads until the right opportunities exist.
Technology continues to define and refine recruiting processes. Social marketing, recruiting and brand management pose new opportunities for HR and marketing to join forces to engage candidates and customers. Deep search capabilities make ATS more efficient at gleaning candidate intelligence and turning it into actionable leads.
While some of these efforts, particularly brand management, could impact customers who become candidates, passive candidates are largely left out of this picture. Yet, passive candidates can become lead applicants with the right care and process management.
Consider these tips for engaging the “just looking”
- Ramp up your brand: In many cases, another word for recruiting passive candidates is “poaching.” Companies need to sharpen their image with the understanding that even happily employed workers are always looking. Your top employee may be a passive candidate, just as high-quality talent employed by another company is the target of your recruiter or hiring department.
In both instances, the answer is to buff your brand to consumers and candidates. In addition to brand marketing and content management, ensure recruiting practices are not leaving the also-rans out in the cold. Individuals who interviewed and did not receive an offer could be the perfect fit for a position down the line.
Stay tuned to employee engagement. Satisfied employees offer high-quality internal referrals, often in the form of passive candidates who work elsewhere, but may be interested in a great workplace they hear about all the time.
A good engagement policy also takes into account signals or feedback that offer early warning of voluntary turnover. Structure employee feedback methods to give your company time and opportunity to try and resolve the issues of unhappy employees.
By the time a passive candidate in your ranks becomes the active applicant to another firm—it may be too late. Remember, some of the most valuable passive candidates already work for you.
- Accept no substitutes: There is no substitute for human outreach. As automated recruiting and targeted social media processes take a bigger part of the recruiting services pie, passive candidates are able to research companies and gather core data once only available to recruiters and hiring departments. Take time to tend to personal networks, offer and request personal referrals, and be patient when nurturing passive candidates toward their employment goal.
- Be conversant in your industry: Create relationships through industry groups, social media, former applicants, and others. Be knowledgeable and conversant in the industry position you are trying to sell. Although you are a recruiter or hiring manager you can express interest without pushing a job. When you identify a high-value candidate, inquire about interests, goals, and dislikes. Be willing to forego a hard sell in order to nurture the contact.
Passive candidates, like any job applicant, want to know others understand “where they are coming from.” And hopefully, when you have the right position available, you can help them get where they want to go.
Job candidates, both passive and active, are looking for their next best move. Use technology, strategy, and skillful interpersonal skills to improve your reach with passive candidates.