Last month, we announced that LinkedIn has surpassed half a billion global members, with more than 23 million members now signed up in the UK. That’s almost one-third of the UK population.
This constitutes a huge pool of talent for recruiters. However, the vast majority aren’t actively looking for new jobs. They’re passive candidates. These are professionals who are looking to grow their networks, keep in contact with old colleagues, or advance their careers within their current organisation.
When it comes to approaching these professionals about job roles, the usual tactics just won’t work. You simply can’t recruit passive candidates with a process that’s designed for active job seekers.
But it’s a group that shouldn’t be ignored, not only does it account for 75% of the workforce, but they are often the highest performing and happiest in their roles. In fact, compared to active talent, passive talent has been shown to be 120% more likely to want to make an impact in a new organisation and 56% more likely to say yes to a role based on the company having a corporate culture that suits their own personality.
On top of this, sourcing passive candidates is one of the biggest values that a recruiter can provide. While automation can increasingly identify and match active candidates with suitable opportunities according to skills and experience, it’s less useful when it comes to building a network of passive candidates who are interested in switching jobs for less tangible reasons.
Recruiters need to be aware that these candidates approach the idea of a new job with a more hesitant attitude, and require a different approach to active candidates.
Be a networker, not a cold caller
So make sure your first contact with potential candidates isn’t always ‘I’ve got a job you’d be perfect for’. Start liking, commenting on and sharing content that will be interesting to the type of candidates you want to engage with. This helps open a discussion with passive candidates, who would flat-out decline if you just sent them the details of a potential job.
Once you’ve built up an online rapport, you’re more likely to have a sense of what roles they would be interested in. You’re also far more likely to get a response when you do make direct contact.
Sell the discussion, not the job
With passive candidates, it’s far more productive to ask for an informal discussion about their career. Some of these candidates won’t even have thought about switching jobs, but you can bet that they’ve thought about the future of their career.
So when you make contact, make sure you’re clear that it’s about figuring out where they’re at in their career, so you might be able to help them in future. You’re not trying to sell them a job right now. These conversations are invaluable, because you’ll get a real insight into someone’s career. You’ll also find that most passive candidates aren’t actually closed to the idea of switching roles at all, it just has to be the right role to make them want to move.
Understand their pain
Every professional will have some issue with their job, something that’s impeding their progress. But the possibilities of what those issues are is endless, and the trick is pinpointing where that frustration lies – whether it’s an unsatisfactory relationship with their boss, a low salary or even a cultural mismatch with their current organisation.
As part of your initial conversation with a candidate, you should be finding out what they like and dislike about their current job, as well as what the options for long-term progression are in their current organisation. Based on this, you’ll be able to figure out what roles will offer them the chance to stretch themselves, and how you could best approach them with a new role.
A changing world
Whether it’s Brexit or the upcoming election, the challenges facing recruiting teams over the next 12 months are significant; and it is vital that they respond to the changing world of work to stay competitive. Thinking outside of the box, especially when it comes to sourcing and attracting new candidates, is central to this.
With more than 500 million global members, LinkedIn is part of the answer. And, by using the entire network – including the wealth of passive candidates found here – recruiters can get one step closer to finding their next star hire.
Jon Addison is the Head of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn UK.