By Garima Sharma
Hiring the right talent has always been one of the most crucial tasks for any organization. Being able to bring aboard promising people both in terms of qualification and a culture-fit is something every hiring manager aims for.
While we all understand the importance of hiring right, finding the relevant people to fill-in positions can be hard and time-consuming – right from going through a heap of applications, to running pre-employment tests, to shortlisting candidates for interviews.
Moreover, it is highly probable that the people who would actually be the perfect fit for your organization, are not even applying for a job. Yes, I am talking about that pool of passive candidates, who comprise 75% percent of the existing candidate market (Source: LinkedIn).
Who are passive candidates?
Simply put, passive candidates are people already employed and are not currently looking for a new opportunity.
This makes us wonder why should we approach them in the first place when they already seem to be content in their current jobs.
While these people may be already employed, they may still be interested in considering work opportunities that seem right, relevant, and more satisfying. Therefore, identifying and reaching out to passive candidates is definitely worth the extra effort.
The benefit with passive candidates is that, unlike active job-seekers, they probably will not be interviewing with any other organization – this can get you an edge in the ongoing war for talent.
Also, relevant passive candidates if brought on-board, are more likely to stay with the organization for long, because they have no actual requirement for employment.
Accepting a position is a matter of choice & preference for them, and not really a necessity.
Let’s look at a few strategies that can help attract passive candidates:
Bring in Artificial Intelligence
Thanks to advanced technology and artificial intelligence (AI), the recruitment process has become far less cumbersome than earlier.
Today, there are software tools that can help sort and track applications, zero down on the right candidature, in terms of experience, qualification, core competencies, etc. Another benefit is that recruiters can now also use AI for locating passive candidates more rapidly and effectively.
The power of AI can –
-Help predict which passive candidates will be interested in switching jobs.
-Help you attract passive candidates by automatically targeting them on social media.
-Help leverage the power of search engines.
-Help curate candidate data from publicly available data platforms like Google, Github, Anglelist, etc.
And the best part is that AI can do all this for you without any human-bias creeping in. Targeted sourcing & screening is going to be the key factor in attracting passive candidates. AI can surely help recruiters in reaching out to the right group of potential hires and also prioritize easily.
Social media platforms have become one of the most effective and commonly used recruiting tools. Let’s look at some interesting statistics here –
As per a study by CareerArc, about 91% of employers are using social media to hire talent, today.
58% of the employers do social screenings on the candidates to identify whether they qualify for the job (CareerBuilder).
According to Betterteam, 80% of employers say that social recruiting helps them find passive candidates. About 84% of organizations are using social media for recruiting, currently and 9% planning to use it. (SHRM).
This shows that leveraging social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is one the most effective sourcing strategies to let the recruiters come across top talent. LinkedIn is specifically useful in this case as hiring managers can screen through profiles across sectors, companies, job categories, etc.
Social media not only helps filter candidates but also runs a quick background check on them – their interests, interactions, personality, behavior, etc. Social media platforms are thriving in every way and social media recruiting is the new job board for hiring managers.
Build a Network
Remember, you are not trying to source candidates who are already out there looking for a job opportunity. You are trying to find the already employed people who may be interested in your role and be a good fit – there’s a difference.
Building talent networks is another effective way of reaching out to passive candidates. For instance, you can use LinkedIn as a platform to build relationships by creating groups and planning ways on how to connect with such candidates.
This gives you an opportunity to share updates on job opportunities, news or any relevant information that may attract passive talent.
By simply staying connected through a quick company update or an employee engagement initiative taken up or an active job post, etc. hiring managers can elevate the interest levels of passive candidates towards their company.
“Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of General Electric.
A concrete employee referral program can also be a great method for recruiting passive candidates. It’s about making your current employees endorsers of your employer-brand, its culture, and working experience. As per a study, 78% of the recruiters acknowledge finding their top candidates through referrals.
Every employee has his/her personal connections and networks (friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc.).
Many times, a recruiter or a hiring manager may not be able to convince a passive candidate to apply for a job but a friend can, recruiters can try and leverage this personal connection.
Your current employees are the true spokespersons of your company and its working environment, therefore, a recommendation coming from them can be more relevant and qualified for both the passive candidate and the company – it will be a win-win.
Feature your organization as a great place to work
The aim should be to present your company as a desirable place to work and spread the message clearly through various digital platforms.
Talk about what gives your organization an edge over others, what sets you apart as an employer, and why will working with your company be a great experience for anyone who joins. It could be flexible working hours, employee benefits, perks apart from salary, etc.
Passive candidates may not be very interested in a job description per say, what could really attract them is how different, engaging, and rewarding your organization is?
Growth and company culture are the crucial factors here that work for passive candidates and inspire them.
Conclusion – It’s about the opportunity, not the position.
Passive candidates, no matter how relevant their profile may be for a role, are people who put in little or absolutely no effort in looking for a new employment opportunity. Therefore, they become tougher to discover.
Thus, being able to successfully identify and attract passive candidates becomes a game-changer in hiring, especially in today’s competitive job market.
In order to tap this talent and gather the best people for their teams, companies need to go the extra mile and make the extra effort.
To conclude, I’ll like to end with a quote.
“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.” – Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman, and co-CEO of Salesforce.
Garima Sharma is a subject matter expert for Personality Assessments, Talent Management, 360 Degree Appraisals, Employee Engagement, Feedback Surveys, etc. She is also a blogger who loves to write articles, posts, whitepapers, etc. in the HR space.