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3 Ways to Reach Passive Candidates

Posted by Kelly Painter

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According to today’s recruiting trends, it’s no longer a buyer’s market. As the need for skilled workers outpaces the supply, recruiters are working harder than ever to reach the right candidates before their competitors do.

But the talent crunch isn’t just changing the situation for the recruiters. It’s also changing the talent side as employees become more aware of the career opportunities swirling around them. This pool of “passive candidates” is massive.

As illustrated by a 2014 LinkedIn survey (gated content), only 12% of workforce members are actively looking for a job, but six times as many — 73% — are passive candidates who are casually looking, reaching out to their personal networks, or open to talking to a recruiter.

Knowing how to engage hidden candidates could transform your recruitment outcomes, but it won’t happen through previously “tried-and-true” channels such as job boards or career fairs. In short, these passive candidates won’t come to you. You’ll need to come to them, which will require new recruiting technology and social media recruiting strategies designed to entice employed candidates.

Here are three recruitment solutions for reaching passive candidates:
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Professional networks

According to the LinkedIn Talent Solutions Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report (gated content), social media recruitment through professional networks is now the top recruiting channel, edging ahead of Internet job boards.

While LinkedIn is the undisputed leader for recruiting through social media, it’s also worth researching specialized professional networks. For example, AfterCollege and Piazza focus on new college graduates. TechRepublic caters exclusively to IT specialists, and Doximity is the largest network of physicians and other healthcare professionals.
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Pro tip:

Avoid spamming the network with job postings. Instead, focus on contributing meaningfully to the online conversation and becoming a trusted member of the community. Your objective is to build awareness and to enhance the visibility of your company rather than simply generate job applications.
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Social networks

Jobvite’s 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study found that among job seekers who use social media, more use Facebook (67%) and Twitter (45%) than LinkedIn (40%). While it may feel strange to do your social media recruitment alongside funny cat videos and humorous hashtags, it’s worth it.

In fact, with the right social media recruiting strategy in place, even the unlikeliest platforms can be used to engage passive candidates.

For example, the Oslo branch of DDB, a marketing communications network, used Snapchat to create “The Snapchat Pitch.” This ongoing contest allows students to pitch their ideas in 10 seconds or less to the company’s creative department. Those who submit winning ideas are flown to Oslo for a job interview.

With this type of social recruiting, you can get your organization in front of passive candidates who would never get to know you through job boards or other recruitment-focused channels.

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Pro tip:

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when developing your social recruiting strategies. Do your research and find out where your ideal candidates like to hang out, then look for ways to engage them that by making the most of the platform’s unique capabilities. For example, Pinterest often attracts women in their 30s with young children, so it would make sense to limit recruiting on Pinterest to female-dominated professions such as nursing, teaching, or HR.
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Passive-candidate portals

A dedicated portal can be the perfect complement to your passive talent acquisition strategies because it offers a way to stay connected to candidates who aren’t ready to apply for a position.

While the traditional recruitment pathway begins when a candidate submits an application, specialized recruitment solutions such as iCIMS Connect starts the engagement process sooner. Instead of scaring candidates away by requiring them to submit a resume or apply for a job, this type of portal lets candidates stay connected to your company by sharing professional details from their social media profiles.

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Pro tip:

Make it easy for passive candidates to connect. For example, replace lengthy application forms with simple, one-click sharing mechanisms that pull their professional details from existing social profiles. Remember, because these candidates aren’t actively seeking employment, they’re less likely to jump through hoops to connect with you.
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New tools, new mindset

While adopting these technologies and social media recruitment tools can help your organization engage and cultivate relationships with passive candidates, it’s also important to adopt a new mindset. Start seeing your mission as a marathon rather than a sprint. Converting passive candidates into applicants can take months or sometimes years, but the payoff is worth it. By reaching quality candidates sooner and earning their trust, you’ll be the first person they contact when they’re ready for their next career move.

Register for our ‘>webinar to learn more about how to identify and attract top talent and how skills assessments can start and speed up the engagement process.

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About Kelly Painter

Author

Kelly Painter, Vice President of Sales, has over 12 years of experience working in talent management.

3 COMMENTS Join the discussion
  • Piper A. March, 21, 2016

    Recruiters have reported a big skills gap and rising costs for training new employees and turning them into an asset for their company. It is surprising that passive candidates are so seldom approached by HR departments with offers that might get them on board. Your tips are much appreciated!

  • Nicole S. March, 25, 2016

    Great article for those recruiters who are faced with very few qualified people in their industries. Finding passive candidates and converting them into interested people is a lengthy process, but it may be the only option.

  • Valerie April, 08, 2016

    The internet is full of advice on how to grab the best active candidates, but there is very little information on how to find and attract those who aren’t looking for a job. Considering how big the pool for those candidates is, HR will need to start “poaching.”

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Guest April, 08, 2016