Today’s job market favors the job seekers, both active and passive. While some are choosing to switch companies, roles, or entire careers, passive job candidates are staying put but are also open to considering new opportunities.
Articles on passive recruiting cite LinkedIn’s 2015 data reporting that passive candidates make up 70% of the global workforce. More recent research notes that nearly one-third of 700 surveyed professionals said they are considering leaving their job without having a new job lined up. It’s unclear just how much of the current workforce is passive, but it’s safe to assume that given the disruptions ushered in by the pandemic, the number of passive candidates is formidable and justifies a passive recruiting strategy. 54% of companies around the world are reporting a talent shortage, and by 2030 the talent shortage could climb to 85 million. It therefore behooves employers to engage in passive recruiting in addition to active recruiting.
Virtually anyone in an organization can take part in passive recruiting efforts, from HR to current employees to top leadership. HR can send automated, yet personalized email messages to qualified passive candidates. Current employees can make referrals and advertise what they love about their job or the company. CEOs can extend personal invitations to connect and chat on LinkedIn with top talent acquaintances in their professional network.
What is passive recruiting?
Passive recruiting is a proactive approach to talent acquisition that involves building relationships with qualified, already-employed candidates who may be open to a new job. Passive recruiting generates a network of talent for HR to tap into when a job opening arises.
Passive recruiting isn’t urgently transactional, so don’t wait until a vacancy arises to start passively recruiting. Rather, the whole point is to be proactive, whether there is an immediate opening at your company or not. Passive recruiting is a long-term strategy to stay in touch with passive candidates and keep them engaged until a job opening does emerge. This can take the form of sending regular messages, for example, to congratulate them on a work anniversary, wish them a happy birthday, or send along a news article of interest to their field.
How to source passive candidates
Passive candidates are not actively looking for a job, so how does one go about finding them? There are a number of ways to find passive talent:
- Search profiles on LinkedIn
- Consult professional websites and communities
- Browse social media or via search engine
- Gauge willingness to switch with AI-powered predictive analytic tool (i.e. Visage)
- Encourage employee/network referrals
Workable, for example, is a talent acquisition software that has a tool to incentivize employees to refer job candidates from their own networks.
Also read: 4 Ways to Recruit Passive Candidates
How to engage passive candidates
Finding passive candidates is one thing, but initiating contact is another. To build a diverse pool of passive candidates, leverage multiple online touchpoints to engage them. Reach out to candidates on social media, LinkedIn, email, or via phone call, but keep track of which channel you use for which person and how many times you’ve reached out.
In the initial reach-out, leave a brief elevator-pitch-style message describing your company or explaining a specific position and why you believe the individual would be a good addition to the team. Make sure to be specific and as personalized as possible. Canned elevator pitches are ineffective. Close your message in an open-ended way with an invitation to connect.
After contacting the passive candidate, follow up after 1-2 weeks if you don’t get a response. However, if they accept your invitation to chat, make it easy for them to set up an appointment and keep the time options open to accommodate their schedule.
To build rapport, send them targeted content that is relevant to their area of expertise. Doing so will keep your company on their radar and demonstrate goodwill.
When a passive candidate decides to submit an application for an open position, make it as easy as possible for them to apply. Ensure that job postings are mobile-friendly so passive candidates can easily apply on-the-go.
The challenge of passive recruiting and how to address it
Passive recruiting isn’t a breeze, but it’s also not as difficult as one may think. In fact, 99% of job seekers would accept an interview invitation if another employer approached them. The hurdle to move a candidate to another company is not all that formidable, considering how often workers switch jobs over the course of their career. Workers between the ages of 18 and 24 change jobs an average of 5.7 times, while those between 25 and 34 and between 35 and 44 change jobs an average of 2.4 and 2.9 times, respectively. So there is a diminishing return for passive recruiters the longer a passive candidate has been established in their career. However, addressing the usual pain points that motivate a job switch could be a successful strategy to employ.
A common challenge with passive recruiting is that the more experience a candidate has, the less likely they are to switch jobs. When approaching a passive candidate, address the typical pain points that could persuade them to switch jobs by highlighting what your company can provide them. Besides offering a salary that may be higher than what the passive candidate is currently earning, some of the following reasons to switch may resonate more:
- Generous perks and benefits
- Ample advancement opportunities
- Greater flexibility in the form of remote/hybrid work
- Company culture that values employee work-life balance
Tips for successful passive recruiting campaigns
Below are pro tips to increase the likelihood of successful outcomes for your passive recruiting strategy.
Organizing consistent correspondence
The challenge of passive recruiting is organization. Staying organized in personalized correspondences necessitates an automated recruiting tool that generates and sends reminders to an HR person or personalized messages directly to the candidate at regular intervals.
Celential.ai automatically sends personalized engagement emails to good-fit candidates. Through consistent, personalized contact, your company will be top of mind when a passive candidate or someone in their network is contemplating a job switch.
Making a name for your company
It’s crucial to build up your company’s brand within the industry, especially for SMBs. Part of the branding strategy should include how the company treats its employees because this will attract passive candidates’ attention. Below are some ways to increase awareness and visibility of your company and its culture:
- sponsor or cosponsor community events or local sports teams
- provide volunteer opportunities for employees
- apply for and widely advertise received local and regional HR awards to showcase that your organization is a great place to work
- invest in a social media expert
Persistence pays off
Passive recruiting requires consistent, long-term effort, but it pays off in the long run if you do it right, which we’ll explain below. Passive candidates that get hired are 120 percent more likely than active candidates to have a positive impact on the company they switch to. In addition, they are 17% less likely than active candidates to need skill development when coming aboard. Passive recruiting thus spares the company time and money for training a new hire.
Your HR team should passively recruit in 2022
It’s hard to find talent these days in a market that favors active and passive job seekers alike. Augment your active recruiting strategy with passive recruiting to generate long-term positive outcomes for your company. It’s not easy, but with the right approach and tools, the common barriers to move passive candidates can be overcome.
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