The problem with top talent is that there are fewer of them than there are open positions. Any employer would love to fill their team with the best of the best (and perhaps replace Tardy Tom while they’re at it) so when a highly skilled, highly driven candidate enters the job market, they aren’t there for long. Even more frustrating for hiring managers, many never even enter the job market at all, hopping directly from one job to the next without pause.
The companies that pursued those candidates before they had decided to start looking are doing what all smart recruiters need to do in today’s talent-hungry market. They zeroed in on their ideal passive candidates and laid the groundwork for them to make the move when they were ready.
The most successful recruiters know that candidates are consumers, and understand that waiting to woo talent until you need to fill a position is suboptimal strategy. According to a Hubspot collection of sales statistics, 63% of people requesting information from your company today will not purchase for at least 3 months (Tweet it!) and 20% are even slower moving, taking more than 12 months to buy. “A company should watch out for talent before a job opportunity might arise,” says Karin Schroek-Singh, career specialist. “Building good relationships in advance would make it easier to persuade a passive candidate to consider a new challenge at a later stage.”
Getting in touch with passive candidates can be difficult, but they are willing to listen once you make the connection. “Passive candidates are not really as passive as they say they are,” said Steve Guine, National Director of Staffing at IIT. “Like active candidates, they are more than willing to listen. The big difference being, they are more selective.”
To win their interest, dry job descriptions won’t suffice. “Go slow,” says Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group. “This means starting with a career needs analysis to determine what the person would require to seriously consider switching jobs.” Once you know what appeals to that candidate, use that to inform how you present the new opportunity in an engaging way.
If they’re interested, making it easy for them to continue the conversation. “One barrier to getting passive talent interested in the application process is the thought that they might have to use valuable vacation time to interview for a job — when they are not even sure if they want to changes jobs,” says Kazim Ladimeji, Director of The Career Cafe. “To remove this barrier and get passive candidates more interested in your organization, make use of flexible interviewing options, such as weekend/evening interviews, video interviews, and phone interviews. That way, candidates can do much of the interview process without using vacation time.” Work with passive candidates and they’re more likely to work for you.
As you create a pool of passive candidates to nurture for future employment, don’t forget to include the best people you have worked with in the past! “If they’re flipping awesome you’re going to want to hire them at some point,” says Dan Arkin, CEO of Jobscore. As in business, being proactive in recruiting in key to sustained success!
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