Talent Acquisition

7 Strategies to Attract Passive Candidates

Finding the right people to fill positions can be hard.

An online application process may be more convenient for you, but it also opens you up to a flood of applications that you have to wade through to separate the possible from the laughable, and that takes a ton of time.

It is highly probable that the people you want are not even applying for the job. These are “passive” candidates“, and they actually comprise 75% of the workforce. However, since passive candidates exert very little to no effort to find employment, they can be much tougher to identify.

You may be thinking that if they aren’t applying for jobs then they must not be interested in one. That is not always true. Many talented people are currently employed, but may still be interested in considering other work if the right one comes along.

This type of recruit, if successful, is more likely to stay with the organization because they have no actual need for employment. Accepting the position is from choice, not necessity. If you focus on attracting this kind of applicant, you can save a lot of time and resources in vetting and retaining them.

The goal then is to find people who are not putting themselves out there, and successfully engage their interest in working with you. Check out these seven strategies for how to attract passive candidates.

1. Put the company out there

If your company is off the grid, chances are your potential passive candidates have never heard of it, so it is important to establish an online presence so they can connect.

Recruitment is just one type of conversion. If you think of it in that manner, then you know you need to use search engine optimization or SEO techniques to establish the company’s presence online. Share interesting things about the company on the website, and post engaging content on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

People will get to know about the company as more than a name and a logo, and will be able to relate more personally with the brand.  Over time, the audience will become familiar with the company, so when you are ready to start hiring, they already know all about you.

Taking a personal approach in your online engagement establishes the company as a desirable place to work. Make sure you have a call to action on the company website and posts so your audience knows when you are actively recruiting.

2. Engage with potential candidates on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is peculiarly situated for providing a gold mine of qualified passive candidates. Since it is a profession-oriented platform, most profiles will include pertinent information for inquiring recruiter minds, and some will even include links to their online portfolios (if any).

You can use built-in tools such as LinkedIn Recruiter to make a targeted search for you, and if you find candidates you like, it is perfectly acceptable to reach out to these individuals and invite them to apply for open positions. As a bonus, it will boost the ego of the candidates to be picked out from the crowd, and make them have fuzzy warm feelings about your company.

3. Participate in live events

Connecting online is one thing; face-to-face meetings are another.

When you have a chance to meet potential candidates in person, you should grab it. You can join or sponsor trade shows or other networking event and highlight how great it would be to work with your company.

You can also host an informal get-together and invite your top picks to your office. Give them a tour and a short presentation so they can see the culture for themselves.

4. Tap your employees

The best proof of the pudding when it comes to recruiting new talent is your employees.

If you create an appealing working environment for your current employees, you can easily encourage them to spread the word on their personal networks.  Treat them well so people they know will want to be a part of it as well.

To encourage them to recruit for you actively, establish a referral program that gives monetary incentives for each successful hire. They will not hesitate to recruit if they know how great it is to work for you.

5. Tap your network

“It’s who you know” has gotten a lot of flak, but there is nothing wrong with going to inviting people from your personal network to join your company.

In fact, this is the go-to for many companies since time immemorial, and it still works. You may not be able to get the people you want at first, especially if they are happy in their current positions, but it does not hurt to let them know there are positions you need to fill.

It may take some time, but you are assured that the people you do get will be well-qualified for the job.  At the very least, the people you know will know other people whom they may want to recommend for a position.

6. Wait for the right moment

It can be frustrating to connect with the ideal candidates for a position only to find they are not quite ready to change jobs, or they are in the middle of their dissertation.

However, do not throw in the towel just yet. Keep these people on an active list, and connect with them regularly to get updates on their situation.  Sometimes, it is just a matter of timing. If you are still around by the time they are ready for you, then you will be on the top of their list as well.

Better yet, cultivate relationships with qualified candidates before openings occur, so you have a bank to draw from when the need arises. It may be months, or even years down the road, but when the time comes, you are ready.

7. Market the company

Google is the gold standard for employers because it puts a premium on employee well-being.  This is common knowledge because Google has made a point of marketing the company as such.

You can do the same by using employer-branding techniques. Position your company as the best workplace for your particular niche by emphasizing what sets you apart from other companies. It could be flexible work hours, extensive employee benefits, stock options, high compensations, and so on.

Establish a unique feature of your company that makes it a desirable place to work, and send the message through your website, social networks, and events.

Even if you are not actively recruiting, it pays to spread the word. It is even better if you manage to make it on a top list or other independent review article that puts you in a positive light. Potential candidates are likely to do some research before they decide to get onboard, so you want to make sure your branding is exemplary.

About the author: Laura Buckler is a content writer for essay service specializing in providing website and social media copy for recruiting companies, and has first-hand experience of the power of a positive online reputation. 

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