Best Strategies for Recruiting Passive Talent

Sixty-three percent of recruiters claim that lack of talent is their top issue. To find qualified candidates, you’re going to have to include more than just the people that are currently looking.

Passive candidates come from the part of the workforce who aren’t currently looking jobs. Seventy percent of the global workforce is comprised of passive talent, with the remaining thirty percent representing active job seekers. Of that total pool, though, eighty-seven percent are open to new opportunities.

Passive talent isn’t going to fall in your lap, though. Thirty-four percent of recruiters say that they have difficulty finding passive talent. So, what are some of the best strategies to recruit passive talent?

Let’s explore four top strategies to broaden your talent reach.


Use social media proactively

In the United States, 77 percent of Americans have a social media profile. Globally, social media users increased to 2.34 billion with projected growth to 2.95 billion by 2020. There’s no question that people are “connected.” In 2015, approximately 3.3 million job applications were submitted through social media channels, with LinkedIn leading the way.

By getting active (and staying active) on social media, you can feature your company’s culture, mission, and community involvement. You can also highlight your company’s employees by showcasing their latest achievements or contributions. Since job candidates—including potential job candidates—visit your website first and then your social media, it’s a good idea to put your best foot forward when marketing your company. Active job-seekers aren’t the only ones checking you out. Passive candidates may scroll through your site and your threads, be impressed and decide to apply.


Interact with the community

Although an online presence is important for employee branding, it’s also important that your company becomes well known in your community’s space. Attend community-specific meetings or conferences, get your company’s name on conference sponsorships, and host in-person events. By becoming involved in your industry, potential job candidates have the chance to meet you in-person. They get a chance to see your culture out in the community as well as getting the opportunity to interact with you face-to-face.

Additionally, you get the chance to meet (in person) passive candidates where they are. For example, if you need engineers, attend or sponsor engineering networking events. If you need human resources employees, attend events that give professional human resources credit, such as those events offering Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) credit. By participating in these events, you’re targeting the skills your company needs by engaging with passive talent, while also giving your brand some leverage.

Make your community presence part of your culture. Encourage your employees—not just your managers and leaders–to attend events and contribute to your community. Take it one step further by enticing your employees to search for top talent, including passive candidates, while they’re out and about. Make recruiting passive talent part of your overall talent strategy.


Embrace employee referrals

When searching for passive talent, don’t forget to look inward—to your employees. Companies can increase their talent pool by 10x by recruiting through their employees’ social media and personal networks. Your employees are your top recruiters. They know what type of employee you’re looking for and who would fit into your culture. By implementing an employee referral program, you can expand your recruiting reach to potential candidates that you may not otherwise encounter.

Employee referrals are a great source of passive talent because employees are often happy to bring on friends or former colleagues they think would be a great fit. To create a time-efficient and unbiased program, you can systematize your referrals. By using a tool to manage your referral program, you can automatically connect to your employees’ networks based on desired skill sets and job openings, reducing your cost per hire and filling your open positions faster.

Consider offering bonuses to your employees for referrals, as well as mini-incentives which encourage the act of referring, rather than the process of getting a referral hired. Employee referrals are 5x more effective than any other type of sourcing. By engaging your employees and encouraging them to refer quality talent to your company, you’ll see the success of your company rise as you attract and retain talent from a broad and diverse pool.


Source for the future

Don’t just hire for an immediate need. Look to the future and anticipate what your organization may require for its success in the next year, two years, or even five years. It takes time to recruit passive talent and build an employee brand that draws them in.

Passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a job, so they’re typically content with their current position – but that doesn’t mean that passive candidates wouldn’t consider a job change in the future. Those passive candidates can also become active candidates down the road if they’re dissatisfied with their current job, or maybe leave their current job and start looking.

To source for the future, you must identify not only your current needs but anticipate your organization’s future needs. Conduct an assessment of your current skills, knowledge, and leadership gaps. Understand what skills your company needs to grow to the next level. By doing this, you’re prepared to identify what type of employees you’ll need to contribute to your company’s future success.

By setting up a referral system for passive candidates, you’re creating a database of potential employees. When the need for a position arises, you can comb through your database, finding your ideal candidate. You’ve already done some of the initial legwork on identifying these passive candidates as potential employees for your organization. For example, you’ve performed initial reviews of these candidates’ skills, talents, and qualifications. Now that a position is open, you don’t have to start from scratch searching for the right person.

When including passive candidates in your talent strategy, remember that it’s often a longer process. Stay in touch with passive talent. Connect with them individually on social media. Send them company articles or blogs. Remember who they are when you bump into them at a networking event. Create a relationship with passive candidates. After all, they may be your best employees one day.

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