Passive Candidates: A Recruiter’s Buried Treasure

Dan Rosenblum Leave a comment

If recruiters are pirates, then passive candidates are their buried treasure. Recruiters, and hiring managers alike, covet passive candidates because they are usually the most employable. According to LinkedIn, passive candidates make up 73% of the workforce. That’s a lot of gold! Recruiting passive candidates isn’t necessarily a secret either, with a lot of these candidates becoming numb to a lot of the outreach they receive.

There are a lot of things you can do to dig up this treasure chest, with consistency, creativity and effort being key themes. Let’s look at a few tips that will help you channel your inner Blackbeard.

Better than pirate ships

Relationships. While this may sound like a no-brainer, it is super important to stay engaged once a passive candidate engages with you. This is where consistency plays a major role and a good rule of thumb is to check in with these candidates monthly, if not more regularly. We called this a “tickler system” when I was recruiting and it went a long way to build trust and have them actually respond or answer the phone when you reached out.

Message in a bottle

LinkedIn is littered with recruiters. Approximately 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates and spend 26.34% of their time searching in this social professional network, the most of any source. The problem is, only 36% of job seekers are actively looking in LinkedIn and while you don’t want to assume, you’d think the percentage would drop even lower for passive candidates. Plus, some people just plain don’t want to be contacted on LinkedIn (hint: climbing through his window appears before LinkedIn). So, besides the big two (phone and email) along with LinkedIn, what are some other creative ways to get in front of passive candidates? Tweet, Twitter DM, Skype, text and Facebook message are a few. I would exercise some caution/restraint and not hit a candidate with a message from every platform at once.

Ahoy, matey!

Personalize your message. This requires you to spend a little more time and effort, but nothing turns off a candidate more than one of those bland, template emails, especially if the job or message is irrelevant. Find something personal about them (college, work experience, location) and weave it into the message. Also, look through their experience to make sure they are at least potentially qualified and that the position makes sense for them.

I know the pirate sayings have gotten a little Long John Silver in the tooth, but these little tips can have a big impact on successfully recruiting passive candidates. Argh!

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