Some of the very best candidates for your open position are probably already employed. It makes sense: After all, it's unlikely that the most qualified and talented candidates will remain on the proverbial shelf for very long. But just because your dream candidates are happily working elsewhere, doesn't mean that your human resources department can't make an effort to woo them.
Indeed, a majority of the workforce is composed of what are known as "passive candidates." As LinkedIn detailed, this term refers to workers who are currently employed elsewhere and are not searching for new opportunities. Passive candidates are, however, open to the idea of at least learning about a new opportunity. This means that there is a chance that they can be convinced to interview with and possibly even join your organization. The source noted roughly 75 percent of the current employed workforce can be regarded as passive candidates.
Passive candidates are of course the opposite of active candidates, LinkedIn noted. Active candidates will be looking for and applying to new job opportunities. They may or may not be currently unemployed. Most positions are filled with active candidates, although this isn't always a good thing. As mentioned, sometimes the very best person for the job is already employed.
"75% of employed workers are passive candidates."
Are you and your human resources department looking to implement new strategies for attracting passive candidates? If so, check out the list of seven tips below:
1. Introduce an employee referral program
This system is highly beneficial for everyone involved. An employee referral program will reward your staff members who use their personal professional network to suggest candidates for open positions. Rewards for the employee will typical involve some kind of monetary bonus. The strategy works well in terms of finding passive candidates, because employees will usually reach out to friends or former colleagues who are typically already employed. The quality of the candidate sourced through this method is also usually much higher, as your employees will likely only recommend individuals who they know will be able to perform well in the position.
2. Promote opportunities on social media
In a similar vein to advertising your organization's services, you should promote job opportunities widely online, across an array of social media platforms. Put another way, too many organizations believe that the best candidates will come to them, and they will fail to make an effort to really sell their open positions and the company culture. Skilled Up explained that using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to discuss new opportunities and develop a brand voice is a great way to grab the attention of stellar candidates who may not actively be looking for a new job.
3. Reach out
While many companies may introduce initiatives to spark the interest of passive candidates, they may be reticent to actually reach out to prospective workers and make the first introduction. As Spark Hire explained, this is usually out of a fear of appearing desperate or overbearing. Such concerns are usually counterproductive to success, however. While reaching out to passive candidates should be handled with care, it's still an advisable strategy. As the source noted, failing to make the first move means that your team could miss a prime opportunity to recruit great talent. In other words, don't be too proud to reach out first.
4. Attend networking events
Networking is a great way to make new connections and build a talent acquisition pipeline that can be tapped at a later date when a new position becomes available. If you are looking to build a solid professional network, attend as many networking events as possible. Be sure to bring your business card! Also keep in mind that networking is a fine art – don't attend an event and openly brag about your organization and the opportunities available. Instead use the event to make an initial introduction, and then build on the relationship over a period of time. For example, keep in touch routinely via email or professional platforms such as LinkedIn.
5. Focus on your careers page
If passive candidates arrive on your website it should be as easy as possible for them to access your careers page. Ideally, you'll have a bold and visible call to action on your home page, stating something to the effect of "check out our job opportunities now." Indeed, passive candidates will be more inclined to check out the opportunities you have on offer if the link is right in front of them. ERE Media advised that the page should be accessible in just one click, or there is an increased chance that boredom will set in and they will stop looking.
Your careers page should also be easy to navigate and featuring compelling content. ERE Media suggested uploading brief videos that give visitors a feel your organization in terms of the company culture and opportunities on offer. Put another way, your careers page is the perfect place to promote your brand and attract new talent.
6. Create a new opportunity
This strategy should only be employed in exceptional circumstances, but sometimes it's necessary. Say, for example, you have been engaging regularly with a C-Suite executive who you believe would be an ideal fit for your organization, but he or she can't be tempted away with any of your open positions. Recruiter.com advised creating a brand-new role to tempt the candidate even further. Tailor the role around the candidate's strengths and career goals. Such a move will likely increase your chances of onboarding the individual.
7. Be gentle and discreet
As Spark Hire noted, there is a good chance that many passive candidates are more than happy in their current positions, and therefore wouldn't welcome extensive contact from recruiters elsewhere. Certainly, if you come across as heavy handed, it reflects poorly on not only you, but the company as a whole. A better recruitment process is to build professional relationships slowly. Sure, this isn't helpful if you are looking to fill a position immediately, but it could pay off at a later date. As mentioned above, sometimes networking with passive candidates is simply a great way to build up your talent pipeline.
If you do manage to spark the interest of passive candidate, keep in mind that discretion is key. After all, he or she is already employed and will likely have to keep the information from higher management. Be flexible and allow the candidate to interview after hours, and absolutely never call him or her at work, or email using his or her work address.