March 23, 2018

4 Ways to Recruit Passive Candidates

Written by
Sam Holzman
Tags: HR Recruiting

Every recruiter knows the best job candidates are often already employed. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth pursuing. Passive candidates– or, candidates who are currently employed and not actively seeking a new job– are an essential component of any comprehensive recruiting strategy.

Of course, passive candidates are often more difficult to recruit than active candidates. So to help you with your recruiting efforts, we’ve put together a list of modern tips to recruit passive candidates in 2018.
You may ask: why spend so much energy sourcing candidates who might not want to change jobs? Believe it or not, recruiting passive candidates isn’t as hard as it seems. In fact, 85 percent of employed professionals worldwide are open to switching jobs. Plus, if you ignore passive candidates, you’ll miss out on some great hires. Passive candidates are 120 percent more likely to make a strong impact on your company.

Simply put, recruiting passive candidates is worth the extra effort. Here’s what we recommend:

1. Invest in artificial intelligence.

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the recruiting industry. Using advanced automation tools to source candidates not only saves time, but it can also help you discover higher-quality candidates.

Think about it: the biggest challenge with passive candidates is knowing which ones will be receptive to a job change. AI-enabled tools can scour the web and analyze vast quantities of candidate data, and then predict which passive candidates are open to new jobs. It’d be near-impossible for a recruiter to perform this type of predictive analysis manually.

If you haven’t embraced artificial intelligence yet, it’s time to get on board. 55 percent of recruiters say that AI will be a main part of the recruiting process within the next five years.

2. Engage passive candidates on social media.

Social media is the modern recruiter’s best friend. In fact, studies show that employers who use social media to recruit see a 50 percent increase in candidate quality. But it’s not enough to use social media to locate passive candidates– you must also know how to effectively engage with them.

Here’s what we recommend by platform:

  • LinkedIn: We’ll start with the bad news, 52 percent of hiring managers claim that passive candidate recruitment on LinkedIn has been less effective because recruiters on LinkedIn are all competing for the same pool of candidates.
    But just because there are so many recruiters on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the platform. Conduct your candidate research as usual, but rather than reaching out within the platform, work with a contact data provider to source candidates’ contact information. Then reach out using a direct dial phone number or email address. This will cut through the LinkedIn noise and will increase your likelihood of attracting a candidate’s attention.
  • Facebook: Although not typically seen as a recruiting platform, Facebook offers some unique search features that allow recruiters to perform highly targeted candidate searches. Once you’ve identified a high-quality candidate—shoot them a message! This isn’t a tactic that will work in every instance, so use it sparingly. Explain that you don’t typically reach out to candidates through Facebook, but that you have the perfect opportunity for them. The number of positive responses you receive might surprise you.
  • Twitter: Similar to Facebook, Twitter offers unique search functionality that recruiters can use to pinpoint everything from industry-related hashtags to users complaining about their jobs. Just as you would on Facebook, conduct your outreach within the platform or secure their direct contact information with the help of a B2B contact database.
  • Emerging platforms: Everyone knows the aforementioned “big three” work for recruiting – but don’t be afraid to experiment with less traditional social media platforms like Reddit or Quora. In fact, many companies are incorporating Instagram and sponsored Snapchat stories to reel in passive candidates.

3. Tailor your employer brand to appeal to passive candidates.

The modern candidate has access to a wealth of information about your company– and they will use it. Consider these statistics from Hubspot:

  • Studies show that most passive candidates perform extensive research on their own before they consider switching jobs.
  • 66 percent of people who changed jobs were aware of the company they joined before applying.
  • 92 percent of candidates would consider switching jobs if a company with an excellent reputation offered them a position.

If you’re not sure what steps to take to improve your brand as an employer, here’s what we recommend:

  • Emphasize growth: 87 percent of professionals rate professional career growth and developmental opportunities as important to them in a job. This means that people don’t change jobs for short-term benefits, they do it because they believe it’s the proper next step in their career. Collaborate with your marketing department to create specific content that appeals to passive candidates, prioritizing the growth opportunities at your company.
  • Showcase company culture: Passive candidates won’t leave their current role unless they’re confident they’ll love working somewhere else. Share photos and videos of your employees interacting at the office, having fun at work events, etc. Present a full scope of what makes your company an enjoyable place to work.
  • Encourage employee advocacy: Incentivize your employees to share branded content on their personal social media profiles. In today’s socially-driven environment, people trust their peers much more than they trust brands. In fact, research shows 44.5 percent of job seekers say they are more likely to apply for an open position if they come across it on the profile of someone they know rather than through the feed of a company or even a recruiter. When your employees share your content, it shows passive candidates that your team is engaged and passionate about their jobs.
  • Update review sites: Review sites like Glassdoor are now an essential marketing tool for employers. If a passive candidate checks your profile and sees poor reviews, they won’t be interested in working for you. Make sure your profiles are updated with helpful information, a gallery of pictures, and any open positions.

4. Offer a flexible interview process.

Passive candidates often hesitate to approach a new role because they don’t have time to go through the interview process. If a passive candidate takes time out of their schedule to interview with you but has a bad experience, they’ll never leave their current job for your company. In fact, bad interview experiences make 65 percent of candidates lose interest in the job.

When you contact passive candidates, let them know your interview process is flexible. Thanks to recent technological advances, there are a number of ways you can virtually meet candidates without requiring too much from them. Follow up a phone interview with a video conference call rather than an in-person interview. Eventually you will want to meet in person, but by that point the candidate will have a good idea whether or not they want to join your company.

Key Takeaways

As with any profession, when you do something long enough, it’s easy for your strategy to grow stale. But, unfortunately, as the hiring climate changes and technology continues to advance, the same old tactics will no longer work. New tools and recruiting strategies aren’t something to be wary of. Instead, we say, embrace these new strategies as more efficient and effective ways to find the best candidates.

Sam Holzman is the Content Marketing Specialist for ZoomInfo, where he writes for their B2B blog. ZoomInfo is a leading corporate contact database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. Outside of his career at ZoomInfo, Sam has experience writing for a sports broadcast company and enjoys writing about sports and travel in his spare time.