• Seven Paths to Passive Candidates

    Posted by Sean Bain on January 18th, 2018


    Passive candidates are an often overlooked source of top talent. Just because someone is not actively seeking a new job doesn’t mean that he or she is any less of a perfect fit than an active job seeker. But exactly how do you reach these candidates when they seem to be hidden from view? Consider these approaches:

    1. Explore current resources

    Don’t overlook the obvious. One of the best sources for passive candidates can be your current resources, such as an ATS, CRM, Talent Network or any sort of database that has been established, as well as your LinkedIn followers. Be sure to review the “silver-medalist” candidates in your ATS, and reengage them.

    2. Enhance your networks

    Leverage your current employee base via an Employee Referral Program, which can be one of the most effective and cost-efficient methods for recruitment. Have your employees mine candidates through social connections, and ask them to LIKE or forward certain company activities that place your organization in a positive light.

    3. Mix it up on social media

    Be sure to leverage Twitter’s and Facebook’s treasure trove of users. You can use Twitter’s advanced search capability for hashtags that can lead to passive candidates, e.g. #Engineering. Also, engage in Twitter chats and check out tweets from professionals who make compelling observations and follow them. They may become viable passive candidates.

    If you are looking for candidates with specific requirements, such as discipline, tenure and location, you can use Facebook’s graph search to provide you with a group that matches your criteria.

    Also, get out of the same ruts you are in to enhance your game. Rather than continually relying on a few different “go-to” sites that most recruiters find familiar or comfortable – or simply that they are subscribed to – look to utilize those not-so-common venues like Xing, Instagram and Reddit. Use different social media, free distribution tools and alternate resources. When you go back to your comfort zone, you can become too dependent.

    4. Ensure your TA team is on the same page

    Make sure your Recruiting/Talent Acquisition team continues to sharpen their own sourcing capabilities while working very closely with hiring managers and understanding what expectations need to be met. Fine-tune their outreach efforts so that they are not invasive or aggressive. Have your team share what their intent is when engaging such an audience. Don’t forget, the candidates are passive in nature at this stage, and your communications need to be as well.

    5. Have “Meet-ups”

    There is nothing more personal and helpful for a candidate to understand a company’s brand, culture, resources and people than in-person meeting. Be sure to have your best and brightest employees from the specific job family on hand to share their experiences and engage candidates.

    6. Be Proactive

    There is always the need to source – even well ahead of the perceived hiring time. There is nothing wrong with warming up great (and passive) candidates prior to an opening or expansion. That’s what pipelining is all about. Be honest with the candidates, but lay the groundwork and be proactive in the process. Take the time to have a conversation with the candidate, focusing on: “How I found you. Why I’m interested in you. What I can offer you.”

    7. Ask again

    Follow up with candidates, leads, referrals and even ask them for referrals. But don’t send out mass emails. If there is not enough one-on-one outreach, you will lose your brand’s effect, as well as the personal touch, and dilute your message.

    Passive candidates should be a key part of any recruitment marketing strategy. Make them a priority and you’ll surely see the results.


    Sean Bain

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