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4 Clever Tips for Sourcing and Attracting Passive Candidates

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Recruiting Passive Candidates

If hiring great people is crucial to your company’s success or you’re in the business of recruiting for an industry that is facing a skills shortage; then you have a lot to gain from building strategy for identifying and sourcing passive candidates. 

What is a passive candidate?

A passive candidate is a person who is not actively looking for their next role. While passive candidates are not searching, they may be open to moving if the right offer were to come their way. 

Sometimes known as "pink unicorns", passive candidates are seen as the ultimate hire. They are good at what they do, engaged in their current role and they're not experiencing a lull in their performance or productivity due to a desire to leave the business. They are active and happy to jump in and hit the ground running in a new environment.

Why passive candidates could be the answer for your most challenging roles?

Passive candidates seems to be the answer for challenging recruitment activities and hard-to-fill roles, here is why:

Less competition and stressful timelines: Active candidates make themselves available in the market which means they are interviewing with multiple companies at the same time, the decision to hire could end up being rushed to avoid losing them to the competition. Which isn't the case with a passive candidate; if your process takes a little longer, you don't need to worry about a competing offer.

Authenticity in response: A passive candidate is usually satisfied in their current role and is not actively pursuing a new position which also means that their response to your interview questions will be less staged and ‘real’. For instance, when asked generic questions like ‘Why would you work for us’ or ‘Where do you see yourself in the future’, you’re more likely to get a genuine answer. 

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How to overcome common challenges when sourcing passive candidates 

As competition for the perfect candidate intensifies, staffing professionals and recruiters try new sourcing strategies to acquire the best candidates (active or passive). As passive candidates are not necessarily looking for a role change, they may not be active on traditional job search platforms. Here are some techniques to source these hard-to-find candidates.

  1. Create your repository

Make your database a storehouse of candidate information. While a candidate may not have been a good fit for a position advertised in the past, they may be perfect for future opportunities. With a good database, you can record a candidate's strengths, qualifications, experiences and more.

With online reference checking providers like Xref, your referee database can go a long way. Xref has identified a way to help clients discover talent in the market through People Search; a standalone analytics platform that will allow users quickly and easily search and filter the referee data that is already held in their Xref account. 

  1. Turn to social media: 

Every day there are 145 million active users on Twitter, 1.79 billion active users on Facebook, and LinkedIn has 260 million active users every month. Social platforms have access to heavy traffic. Hiring managers and recruiters are increasingly turning to social media to market their companies to job seekers. 

Leveraging LinkedIn:

  • Build your employer brand on LinkedIn. When you advertise your job via your company account or recruiter, a strong brand name will open doors to better hires. 
  • Build your network on LinkedIn: 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to research and recruit candidates. You don’t have to wait for a networking event to make connections.
  • Use inMails and personalise them. Reach out to candidates with a personalised message; if you can read up about them and mention an accomplishment, it will make a better impression. Don’t forget to keep your message brief (100 worlds).

Leveraging Facebook:

  • You could post your active jobs on Facebook and target the audience you’d like to acquire.  
  • Facebook’s graph search can help you find people who match specific criteria. For example, if you write “salespeople who have studied in Seattle” in search, Facebook will return a long list of matching profiles. It’d be a good idea to look for people who have been at their job for some time (for example, from two to four years). They’re more likely to be open to a new opportunity.
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Leveraging Twitter:

  • Use hashtags in Twitter’s advanced search to find passive candidates. For example, if you’re looking for an analyst, you could look into hashtags like #analyst. 
  • Look for users who tweet interesting insights or answer questions. You can follow them and reach out through Twitter. 

  1. Set up a referral program

Current employees are often a recruiter’s best source of new talent. Referrals have long been a staple of recruiting strategies. Every one of your employees has their network and personal connections; and, these networks often contain many high-quality candidates who might be a good fit for open positions within your company. Passive candidates may be hesitant to respond to a message from a recruiter, but they’re much more likely to consider an opportunity brought to them by a personal connection.

  1. Network

One cannot deny the benefits of networking in the business world. Networking is effective in building long-term relationships and establishing a good reputation over time; be it online or in-person (if the situation permits). While you may not always have an immediate role to fill, expanding your contacts can open doors for you to fill in positions from your networking list.  

When qualified candidates are scarce, and niche positions have a smaller pool of talent to choose from; you’d need to have a process and strategy to ensure you hire right and on time. Go ahead - give the passive candidates a nudge from your database, social networks or your referral program.

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