While just 12 percent of the workforce are actively looking for jobs, a full 85 percent are open to exploring new opportunities, according to LinkedIn’s annual “Talent Trends” report.

This is good news for recruiters, but only for those savvy enough to know how to reach the vast majority of people who fall into the latter category.

Let’s take a closer look at the contemporary state of passive candidates, as well as some key takeaways for recruiters aiming to transform today’s passive candidates into tomorrow’s top organizational talent.

The Passive Candidate Today

Comprising 18,000 full-time professionals in 26 countries, “Talent Trends,” provides a very real and telling “snapshot” of the global workforce. Perhaps no other findings were as significant for recruiters than the active/passive issue. Why? Because these results made clear that in the vast majority of cases, the door is indeed open to recruiters. If they know how to knock on it, that is. With just 15 percent of today’s professionals falling into the “super-passive,” completely satisfied category, the rest are fair game.

Three Things to Know About Recruiting Passive Candidates

1. Skip the “Hard Sell”

Let’s cast recruiters as salespeople and passive candidates as window shoppers. Which scenario is most likely to woo the latter to check out the formers’ wares: a loud, garish sign urging them to “buy,” or a compelling display carefully assembled to showcase a brand’s very best offerings as they directly apply to the consumer? The latter, obviously.

In the case of recruiting passive candidates, this means starting a conversation and building a connection. The more you know about the passive candidates you’re trying to reach, the more you can understand what makes them tick in order to create an irresistible “display.”

2. Forego the Form

While an active job hunter may view an introductory form email as a lifeline, a passive candidate is far less likely to nibble. In other words, recruiting to passive candidates is anything but the act of casting a broad net and hoping to come up with something you can use. Not only are impersonal, mass emails unlikely to elicit a response, but they can negatively impact a passive candidate’s impression of you and your organization.

So what does work with passive candidates? An individualized and personal approach. While active job hunters may be the equivalent of “low hanging fruit,” passive candidates are situated among high-up branches. Reaching them takes finesse, creativity, and persistence.

3. Employ Savvy Sourcing

Because passive candidates aren’t scouring the job boards every day looking for the perfect opportunity, the recruiter’s task is show them that the perfect opportunity not only exists, but is with their organization, and worth the effort and investment of switching jobs. This means penetrating their perception, getting in their line of sight, and staying there.

If job boards aren’t the route, what is? Social media.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are not only useful ways to gather information about passive candidates, but they’re also effective tools when used by recruiters to position themselves and the brands they represent as authentic thought leaders.

Ultimately, the journeys of passive and active job seekers are very different. Recruiters willing to embrace these differences and explore a variety of outside-the-box angles are most likely to start conversations that turns into catches.

To leverage your recruiters and employees’ personal networks to reach potential candidates faster, watch this video on how WittyParrot can help.

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