How to Recruit Passive Candidates

January 28, 2022

In today's highly competitive job market, recruiters must look for candidates with a wide range of interests and backgrounds.

This requires writing interesting job postings and conducting interviews with individuals who are enthusiastic about the role. Many of the applicants that apply for your job opening will be a good match for the role and will be a valuable addition to your organization for many years.

Due to their determined attempts to apply for a new job, these workers are known as active applicants.

When it comes to hiring new employees, there is another kind of applicants that should not be overlooked: passive prospects.

What are passive candidates and what do they mean?

Workers who are passive candidates are individuals who are not actively looking for a job move. They are content with their current situation and see no cause to change it.

These workers are frequently outstanding at what they do for this (and many other reasons). They could be a perfect match for the position you're hiring for, and you'd love nothing more than for them to apply.

However, they have little interest in changing jobs and may even be upset if you approach them with a job offer (unless you present the opportunity in just the right way).

Why is it so important to look for passive candidates?

According to studies, nearly two-thirds of all job applicants are passive. Because these applicants make up such a large portion of the applicant pool, it's critical to include them into your recruiting approach.

In periods when skilled workers are scarce, these people are often sought for for jobs requiring technical expertise. Many of these passive applicants will also be interviewing for managerial roles and other positions that are critical to a company's overall success.

Is it worthwhile to pursue active candidates?

You will nearly always discover active prospects no matter what business you operate in. Employees who are yearning for a new job or a career change are continually refreshing their LinkedIn and Indeed sites in the hopes of finding a position similar to the one you've advertised.

Many excellent workers, in fact, may begin as active applicants. It’s important to have folks who are thrilled about finding a new job and want to work for your firm. When looking into active prospects, though, it's necessary to be cautious.

While these candidates may be brilliant, they may also bring a lot of baggage with them. They might be searching for a new job because they don't get along with their colleagues, aren't doing well in their present role, or any number of other reasons.

So, there's no need to exclude out active prospects from your hiring process; just keep in mind that they may not be as qualified as a great passive candidate.

Identifying and recruiting passive candidates

So you've identified a terrific job applicant who isn't actively looking for a new job and would probably reject you if you contacted him or her about a position; what do you do now?

You might try phoning them directly, but they will very certainly ignore you.

Using technology such as email, social media, and a recruiting app, often known as an Applicant Tracking System, is a far better way (ATS).

By starting the dialogue with a thoughtful email or social media message, the candidate will be able to see that:

  1. You are not a spam bot, for starters.
  2. You represent a reputable business that has a job opening.

The passive candidate may then make an educated choice, which you should respect regardless of their decision.

They may deny your invitation in many instances, and you should not urge them any more. They have your contact information and may contact you if they have second thoughts.

In other cases, you may be able to strike up a lengthy chat with a prospect who had no idea your job opening existed.

All of this is feasible thanks to the usage of a recruiting software!

Finding passive candidates: best practices

Make no mistake: finding and interviewing active prospects is significantly simpler. After all, people approach you rather than the other way around.

Again, these active applicants may be excellent matches for the roles you have open, and employing them might result in a long-term positive outcome.

If you're having trouble discovering the proper skill or fit among your active applicants, you'll need to learn how to efficiently search out passive prospects. Here are some pointers for locating and employing passive candidates for your business.

1. Make effective use of social media

Nearly half of the world's population has at least one social media account, with many having two or more. Certain social networking platforms may be a better choice for obtaining passive applicants depending on your sector.

If you're hiring for a firm that deals with art, for example, you could rely more on platforms like Instagram or YouTube.

If you represent a legal firm, on the other hand, your prospective passive candidates are likely to use LinkedIn or even Twitter more regularly than the other social networking platforms.

However, these aren't hard and fast rules, and you should look into candidates on all social media networks. Of course, this will take a significant amount of time and effort, and the process will be quite tiresome.

You'll probably spend hours, if not weeks, sifting through hashtags, keywords, and contacting prospects, all of which will lead to nothing.

However, if you locate the ideal individual, all of your efforts will be worthwhile in the end.

2. Rely on word-of-mouth

Many times, recommendations will come from inside your own organization. Every sector has its own "small world," and employees often know of friends and past coworkers who would make excellent additions to your team.

Make it a habit to talk to current employees about job openings, and encourage them to contact you if they know of someone who might be a good fit for a position. Even if these leads turn out to be dead ends, you'll have a whole new pool of individuals to choose from.

3. Take into account previous applicants

You may have interviewed several people who were good competitors for the job in the past, but they didn't make the final cut for one reason or another. Perhaps they were too pricey to recruit, or perhaps another applicant merely edged them out.

You'll have data on these people if you utilize a solid recruiting software, and you'll be able to revisit them when new roles become available. Just because a candidate hasn't worked out in the past doesn't indicate they won't be a good match for a future role.

4. Don't forget about traditional networking techniques

The internet will undoubtedly be your most effective sourcing technique for both passive and active applicants. It's difficult to envision a period before the internet, when people could only communicate in person or over the phone, since we do so much online.

However, this era of time did occur!

It may seem that face-to-face encounters have become extinct, yet this is far from the case. Some of the top prospects may be located in person, at business events, continuing education conferences, or even in a random location like a bar or restaurant.

No matter where you are, you should always be prepared to meet a possible applicant. You could start up a discussion with a stranger and discover that they are seeking for the same job that you have available.

Even if the individual you're speaking with isn't seeking for job or isn't the right match for you, they could know someone who is.

Without being annoying: approaching passive candidates

Passive prospects will not approach you; you must meet them where they are. This has been said before in this essay, but it needs repeating. These folks are unaware of your position and, to be honest, may not even care.

If you come out as a pushy salesperson, you'll not only alienate prospective prospects, but you'll also damage your professional reputation. This is the very last thing you want to happen, since even a single unpleasant encounter may make you seem like a huckster to any existing or potential job seeker.

Propose a meeting in a neutral, comfortable environment after you've gotten the first buy-in, or at the very least found a candidate who is eager to chat with you. This may be a coffee shop or a casual eatery in regular times.

This meeting may have to take place via video conference if in-person meetings are prohibited or discouraged.

You'll want to treat the applicant like a celebrity throughout this encounter. This includes paying for anything they eat at the restaurant, meeting at their convenience, and overall making them feel special and demonstrating your genuine interest in them as a job applicant.

Passive candidates through email

We live in a time where there is an abundance of information. If you're like most people, you receive hundreds of emails every day, the majority of which are full of irrelevant information or spam.

As a result, if you're going to contact or message a passive applicant, you need to be persuasive and appealing right away, otherwise your message will end up in the trash.

At a minimum, an email to a passive applicant should contain the following elements:

Positive, upbeat tone

You must show that you are enthusiastic about your business and that your organization is enthusiastic about employing the best personnel. Others want to collaborate with people who share their values and aspire to provide a superior product or service.

Your email should not have the tone of a tedious presentation that the applicant must endure. Your email, on the other hand, should energise them!

Make a personal appeal to a certain candidate

Depending on the candidate in question, this might be difficult to do. However, you'll need to perform some research to learn more about your passive prospect.

You may learn about the candidate's interests outside of work and industry-related issues by looking at their social media profiles and other internet presences. This conveys honesty and encourages the individual to, at the very least, follow up with you about the position.

The message is brief and to-the-point

Again, with hundreds of emails arriving daily, no applicant wants to waste time reading a lengthy, winding manifesto about a firm. They want to hear facts and figures that interest them, as well as why they should consider leaving their present employer.

We only have so much time in a day to devote to these things, so be sure your email is worth their attention.

Why they should work for you is explained

Changing jobs is not only difficult logistically, but it is also perilous for the individual. If this individual quits his or her present employer to work for you, they have considered the risks and think that working for you will be more beneficial to them in the long term.

If it turns out to be a terrible match for any reason, the person may have difficulty finding another work or be regarded as someone who bounces from company to company without exhibiting any devotion. Avoid this predicament at all costs by instantly placing your cards on the table in a well-written opening email.

It's important to realize that today's labor pool is much different from that of previous generations. Years ago, firms could afford to forego certain advantages and ideals in exchange for a high enough compensation.

This isn't the case anymore. Today's job hopefuls are acutely aware of social, environmental, and other employment-related challenges.

Some individuals may even reject higher-paying positions in favor of those that are more aligned with their ideals.

Salary and perks are crucial factors to consider, and they should not be disregarded. It's crucial to note, though, that candidates are focusing more on other topics than in the past.

It isn't an exaggeration to suggest that the recruitment industry is a dog-eat-dog environment. There is a lot of rivalry in this industry, and every organization wants to identify the top individuals from a tiny pool of people.

That being stated, you should never recruit, interview, communicate with, or hire applicants in an unethical manner. Whether the prospective employee is an active or passive applicant, this is true.

Your industry will find out if you engage in unethical activities sooner or later. If this occurs, the best-case scenario is that your image will be ruined across the industry, and no qualified prospects would ever consider working with you.

In the worst-case situation, legal action is brought against you, and your organization is forced to deal with a difficult ethical accusation.

The greatest advise is to be upfront, honest, and transparent about your employment methods. Don't deceive applicants, other businesses, or other recruiters.

You'll ultimately discover your ideal candidate if you do what you know is correct.

Recruiting using an app

Finding and recruiting passive candidates may be a difficult task. It's pointless to sugarcoat it: inactive prospects take a lot of time and effort from recruiters.

Fortunately, recruiters can more quickly locate passive prospects and manage their recruiting portfolios by using an excellent recruitment software. Recruiting applications are among the greatest pieces of technology today, allowing recruiters to locate qualified individuals, create job sites, and improve the recruiting process.

Are the time and effort invested in passive candidates worth it?

You may be wondering whether the "juice" is worth the squeeze after reading everything in this post. To summarize, recruiting passive individuals is a challenging endeavor, but one that, if done well, may provide incredible long-term returns.

Finally, whether you depend on passive or active candidates is entirely up to you. Active applicants are unquestionably simpler to acquire, and scheduling interviews can be done on the company's own terms.

These prospective workers may turn out to be excellent candidates for open jobs, and selecting an active applicant might result in a long-term win for all parties concerned.

Passive candidates, on the other hand, are out there, waiting for the proper chance to move on from their current company or position to something that would add more value to their careers and lives. These employees are highly competent and may provide significant value to your business.

It requires the correct strategy to acquire these people, but with the appropriate approach and a willingness to put in additional work and time, you can win them over.

Thanks to Stacy Lee at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story. 

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