How to Recruit Passive Candidates

This article was originally published on Quick Sprout

There is no avoiding it–the best candidate for your open position is often already employed. And they may not be looking for a new job right now.

Recruiting passive candidates does have more challenges than active candidate recruitment. After all, someone who is satisfied with their job won’t often apply for an open role just for the heck of it. They also don’t spend much time perusing job boards for available opportunities.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in a great opportunity.

With the right approach and recruitment software on your side, you can easily source high-quality passive candidates for your company.

Today, we’re going to share with you the key steps you need to take to successfully source and entice passive candidates to apply for your open job.

The Easy Parts of Recruiting Passive Candidates

Most people think that recruiting passive candidates is the hardest part of the recruitment process. But in today’s digital world, finding passive candidates is easier than ever.

There are multiple platforms you can use to put your open job role in front of high-quality applicants, letting them come to you. It’s also easy to create a rewarding employee referral program to tap into your employee’s networks.

If you prefer to contact passive candidates directly, you won’t have to spend hours sifting through potential candidate profiles to pitch on LinkedIn when you enlist the help of AI recruitment tools.

Workable is one of the best recruitment tools out there, especially when sourcing passive candidates.

It automates your sourcing efforts by providing you with a list of 50 best-fit passive candidates every single time you post an open role. It also puts your customized job advertisement in front of passive candidates, wherever they are–including Facebook and Instagram.

Make your recruitment process a breeze with Workable today.

The Difficult Parts of Recruiting Passive Candidates

The biggest challenge involved in recruiting passive candidates is enticing them away from their current position. Passive candidates are already employed. They’re most likely pretty content and engaged with their current role and are being paid well for what they do.

With this in mind, appealing to passive candidates is much harder than appealing to those actively searching for a new job. It’s certainly not impossible, though.

The key to successfully recruiting passive candidates is to entice them to your company with opportunities to grow, more responsibility, and fantastic perks.

Nurturing passive candidates through the recruitment process can also take longer than an active candidate. You have to be careful not to come on too pushy or approach them on the wrong platform. And they may not have time to go through a standard interview process.

However, when you put the right information at the right time in front of a passive candidate, most of these objections can fall away relatively quickly. It’s all in the delivery.

Today, we’re going to give you a step-by-step process to ensure you target suitable passive candidates at the right time to navigate your recruitment process successfully.

Step 1: Clearly Outline Your Objectives

A clear list of requirements is a good starting point for any effective recruitment strategy. But when it comes to recruiting passive candidates, it’s essential.

The last thing you want to be doing is drawing a candidate away from their current employer when they aren’t going to fit your requirements anyway. With this in mind, there are a few things to consider when outlining your objectives.

Outline Candidate Requirements

What experience does the ideal candidate have that your business wants? Are there any non-negotiable requirements that passive candidates should possess for you to approach them? Perhaps there are no essential skills the candidate must show, but general qualities instead.

Think about management or leadership skills and other soft skills that aren’t always listed on resumes and in job descriptions. Are they critical thinkers? Do they have excellent communication skills? You can often find evidence of these skills when reviewing a passive candidate’s LinkedIn profile or other sources.

Knowing exactly what you need from a candidate is the most crucial task in this step, as your answers will affect who you approach.

Review the Role Requirements

Hiring for need is an important part of any recruitment process. But when you are recruiting passive candidates, you have further opportunity to adjust the role within business parameters, to suit the ideal candidate.

Consider whether any aspects of the role could be accentuated and or removed to make the position more appealing to the candidate. Align these considerations with your business objectives to ensure your key requirements will still be met.

Know What You’re Offering

A passive candidate is already comfortably employed. They’re not necessarily searching for a new position. This means that knowing all the perks, benefits, and opportunities you can offer a new candidate is a vital part of the recruitment process.

You should emphasize growth potential and showcase company culture to entice the candidate to join you. You can also encourage employee advocacy to increase the chances of your company’s culture being well-known. If your company offers anything above and beyond, such as fully subsidized insurance plans or higher-than-average commission structures, the potential candidates should know about them.

There needs to be clear motivation in place for passive candidates to consider leaving their current position.

You must take the time to outline your thoughts and objectives on each of the above before you approach passive candidates. This will ensure you go in with clear communication and integrity, inspiring confidence in a potential candidate.

Step 2: Invest in Workable

Modern recruiting is made much easier with the help of comprehensive recruitment software. Enlisting the help of a good recruiting tool can help automate processes such as sourcing and attracting candidates, evaluating the applicants, and even hiring them.

There are tons of great recruitment tools available, but Workable is one of the best to recruit passive candidates.

Automatically Source Passive Candidates

Workable hosts 85 million candidates in 1.3 million jobs and then leverages this knowledge to make your passive recruitment a walk in the park.

Using AI Recruiter technology, Workable provides you a list of 50 best-fit passive candidates every time you post a job. It links keywords in your job description with key phrases in candidates’ online profiles to highlight them as good matches.

The great part is that this feature is a standard inclusion on every plan.

Show Up Where Passive Candidates Are

Passive recruitment requires out-of-the-box thinking regarding getting your open job role in front of as many people as possible. After all, passive candidates are not sifting through job boards looking for their perfect job and applying to open roles.

Instead, you need to enlist the help of social media advertising. Workable will find your audience and customize your ads, helping you to put your open job role in front of passive candidates, where they are. This includes their Instagram stories and Facebook feeds.

Workable promises to find you 10 to 20 qualified applicants in just one week of posting these targeted ad campaigns.

Don’t spend hours manually searching for top-level passive candidates or scratching your head over which social media platform to share your open job role on. Let Workable cover that for you, leaving you time to focus on enticing the candidate to join your company.

Step 3: Tap Into Your Network

Often, you can find an ideal candidate within your existing network. Referrals are a great recruiting source, especially for passive candidates.

Establish a Referral Program

Every one of your employees has their own network full of personal connections. And these connections are usually filled with high-quality passive candidates. Establishing an employee referral program is a great way to incentivize your employees to recruit new talent.

Workable’s engaging employee referral platform makes it easy for your employees to refer their friends, ex-colleagues, and connections. It will notify your employees when an opening is available, and each employee will receive a unique sharing link.

Employees can also track their referrals and review any rewards you offer in return for successful hires. Rewards could be monetary, extra vacation days, gift cards, and more.

Revisit Previous Applicants

Rejected candidates from the past can make great candidates in the future. Workable’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) allows you to revisit an abundance of candidate profiles when searching for new talent.

Just because these candidates were rejected by your company previously doesn’t mean that they’re not still interested in an opportunity to join the company. They simply may not have been the right fit for that particular position. Some candidates may have even been rejected in the final stage of the hiring process.

In the meantime, it’s likely they’ve found new jobs, gained further skills and experience, and would now make a fantastic addition to your team. Or perhaps they are simply better suited to the new position you have available than the one they originally applied to.

Step 4: Recruit with Caution

Passive candidates aren’t looking for a job, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in new opportunities. However, their lack of actively searching for a job does mean you need to handle communication with a little more caution.

Approach Passive Candidates Carefully

If you plan to contact passive candidates directly, you need to be careful in your method of approach. For example, most professionals who use LinkedIn to stay connected with their network are already used to recruiters approaching with new job opportunities.

But when you start approaching passive candidates on more personal platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, it may come across as weird or intrusive for the candidate.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t use these platforms. You just need to be careful in the way you craft your message. Honesty and simplicity are vital to winning passive candidates over.

If you’re not getting a response, it’s likely that they’re not interested and just don’t know how to tell you. As a rule of thumb, reaching out three times is a good maximum guideline before moving on to another candidate.

Send Personalized Sourcing Emails

If you were content with your job role and received a bulk sourcing email from a recruiter, would you reply? Not likely.

The best way to draw in passive candidates is to earn their trust and pique their interest with a personalized email, not a mass message or template.

Crafting a personalized email naturally takes more time, but it can be used to address key talking points. These may include what drew you to the candidate’s profile and what impressed you about their accomplishments. If it is a previously rejected candidate, take the time to explain why you think this new role could be a better fit for them.

Make sure to include some details of what you’re offering. Don’t go too overboard. Keep it short and sweet and give them just enough detail to start a discussion.

Sell Yourself

Just because you’re approaching candidates with caution and keeping things concise doesn’t mean you can’t sell yourself. To grab candidates’ attention right off the bat, it’s a good idea to include the details that most candidates want to know first.

Highlight the company’s culture and values. Drop notable perks and benefits that come with being a part of your company. Mention the office location and whether remote work is an option. Talk about the higher compensation if you know about what they are making now.

Remember that you’re enticing the candidate away from a comfortable role. It’s important to make sure you don’t sell yourself short in an effort not to appear overbearing.

Step 5: Hiring Passive Candidates

With all the passive recruitment methods mentioned above, it’s likely you’ve successfully attracted talented passive candidates. But until you have signed paperwork on your desk, you still need to nurture these candidates throughout the hiring process.

Offer Flexible Interviewing

One of the main objections passive candidates have in applying for a new role is that they don’t have time to go through the interview process. It’s unlikely they want to share their movements with their current employer, so taking multiple days off to meet with you is not possible.

Instead, offer candidates a flexible interview process. Modern technology means there are several ways you can meet with your candidate virtually at any time.

Workable supports integration with the most popular live, two-way video apps, including Google Hangouts and Zoom, meaning you can continue using Workable to support the recruitment process.

Eventually, you’ll need to meet the candidate in person. By this stage, the candidate will have a good idea of whether or not they want to join your organization.

Setting a Start Date

When hiring passive candidates, the final thing to consider is that their start date will be dictated by how much notice they need to give their existing employer. Depending on the extent of their relationship with the employer and whether they’re working on particular projects, the notice period may be drawn out further than the usual two weeks.

It’s important to keep this in mind when you start the recruitment process if you’re looking to fill the position swiftly. Be open and honest with the candidate about the ideal start date. They may be completely open to it and excited to get started with your company as soon as possible. But if possible, be flexible with their start date to accommodate their needs when leaving their current position.

This article was written by Lars Lofgren

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