passive candidate search

Passive talent is the new “it” talent, it seems.  Often already employed, passive talent are those special candidates who may not currently be looking for a job, but might become interested with the right offer.  They’re also the hardest talent to convince to make a hop on over to your organization.  If someone’s already secure and happy in their job, what makes a recruiting email interesting enough to talk about their career options?  What makes that candidate think that you’re not spam?  It’s certainly not a cold email.  Instead, the most effective communication comes from someone within their own network whom they’ve built a relationship with over time.  Every sales professional knows that warm leads are always better than cold leads.  So why hasn’t recruiting gotten the message yet? Why are they still trying to cold email their most desired talent?

Warm It Up and Get Personal to Attract Passive Talent

The key to attracting passive talent is to get personal.  It’s all about relationship building.  That means you’re going to have to put on your networker’s hat and start communicating with people.  Passive talent isn’t about the short-term game, but rather the long game.  Often passive talent requires a longer nurturing cycle before they’re willing to open up and talk with a recruiter.  With this in mind, it behooves recruiters to set aside some time every week to build up their passive candidate funnel.  But how does one use their personal skills to build a funnel?

Get social on social media.  It’s called social media for a reason; the entire premise is that you connect personally with people across borders.  Instead of just adding someone to your social media, take the time to send a personal note. You don’t have to hit them over the head with a hard job sell on the first communication.  In fact, that’s a great way to get ignored by candidates.  A simple “I’m Cindy Lou Recruiter and I’d love to add you to my network of thought leaders” will pique a candidate’s interest and provide a great way for you to follow up.  Another great facet of social media are the many ways in which to segment groups of people.  Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer great ways to group people in lists together.  The next time you’re on Google+, do a search for IT Director and see how many you may know in your extended network.  Then group them into a list for future contact.  When you see interesting articles and industry news, reach out to your contacts and engage them.  This is a great way to nurture these leads.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Take a tip from sales and get them before they’re ready.  Are you looking for a middle management type? Why not start building connections with entry level workers.  This talent has the benefit of being new and hungry.  They’re likely to think favorably of recruiter invites and will likely be open to reading career advice and other great content.

Over time, you can become this pool of talent’s trusted connection.  Getting them before they’re ready is a great way to beat other recruiters to the punch.  The name of the game here is a long lead nurturing cycle.  If you pluck them before they’re ready, you may risk burning the lead.  So take your time as you get to know these candidates and usher them into your passive talent funnel.

Take a Look at Your Employer Brand

It’s time to turn your company’s website into a passive lead generation tool.  We’ve long told employers that good employer branding attracts great talent.  Just look at companies like Google.  Their employer brand is known almost immediately before their products.  As a result, candidates flock to Google looking for an opportunity to join the best and brightest at the tech giant. Making adjustments to your employer brand is a great way to attract passive candidates.  They may not be interested in the current openings at your organization, but based on the availability of information on your team, company culture and benefits, they may follow your career page for future opportunities.  This kind of branding is a great investment for your organization.  Not only will you appear more attractive to current talent, but you’ll be attractive to future talent.  It’s win win.

Building your passive talent funnel is a long process.  There are many great opportunities to be creative and think outside of the box.  The added benefit is that by getting to know a candidate over time, you will be able to recognize that perfect fit when it comes along.  And the candidate will feel like they’ve been involved in a wonderful candidate experience.  Think outside of the box today and start building a funnel full of wonderful passive candidates.