If you’re recruiting for a new role, you’re certainly dealing with active job seekers — people who have gone to some trouble to find job opportunities and apply for them. Depending on where you’ve advertised a position, you might be inundated with job seekers.
However, no matter how many people you have lining up, you’re only targeting a fraction of your potential talent pool. That’s because roughly 80% of working people are passive job seekers.
Passive job seekers are people who have an interest in changing jobs but haven’t taken steps to find a new employer.
If you want to ensure you select the right candidate for your job opening, you’ll need to intentionally target both active and passive job seekers. Here’s how.
You might wonder why you should bother trying to recruit passive candidates. After all, if someone is happily employed and not looking to switch jobs, it might seem counterintuitive to go to the extra effort of seeking them out.
If you also have more incoming applications than you can count, recruiting people who haven’t already come to you might seem like a waste of resources.
However, there are plenty of very good reasons to consider expanding the scope of your search to include passive candidates. Here are a few:
If you’ve ever managed a company with a high turnover rate, you know how frustrating it can be. You onboard new employees, train them, and get them off to a good start — only to have them turn around and leave!
You effectively get very little ROI on the time and resources you used to hire and train them.
People leave jobs for all sorts of reasons. In many cases, they leave because they never intended to stay long in the first place.
If someone is in desperate need of a job, they aren’t going to turn down a decent offer because they’d rather find something that pays more or has better advancement opportunities. They’ll take the offer they get while still shopping around for a better fit.
With active candidates, there’s always a chance the person you hire is desperate for a job — any job.
However, when you reach out to passive candidates, you don’t have to contend with that worry.
Passive candidates aren’t desperate for employment, so they’ll switch to your company only if it’s a smart career move. As a result, they’re more likely to stay longer.
Your active candidates didn’t log onto a job board, apply for one opening with one company, and wait for a reply. Most people are applying to many different companies at once, so if you find a promising application, you need to act quickly. Doing so can be a challenge, especially if you have hundreds of applications or if you have a limited hiring budget.
If you reach out to passive candidates, you get a respite from the high-speed world of traditional hiring. It’s highly unlikely two separate companies would reach out to the same employee at once, so you probably won’t have to rush to make a decision.
If a passive candidate doesn’t want to work with you now, that doesn’t mean they’ll never be interested. Once you’ve reached out and built that connection, a passive candidate will know they can reach out to you when they’re ready to make a change.
Expanding your talent search to include passive candidates is often a great thing for your business.
But how do you successfully go about it?
Here are a few suggestions to help you find your next employee.
Many people simply delete emails inviting them to apply for a new job. After all, if they see a recruiting email from someone they don’t know, they might think you’ve simply sent a mass email to every possible candidate you could think of.
If you identify a passive candidate with a lot of potential, take the time to set up a “warm” introduction. Usually, that means asking someone the candidate trusts to reach out.
For example, say you’ve identified someone ideal for your job opening. To maximize your chances of success, you don’t just have your head of recruitment reach out — instead, you ask around and discover that your president of HR went to school with your candidate. From there, you ask your HR president to send an email.
When you’re targeting passive candidates, you need to show them that you’re different from your competitors. The best way to do that is to clearly communicate your “employer brand.”
Make sure that passive candidates get a sense of your company culture from the start. Throughout the process, highlight reasons the candidate might want to work with you — work/life balance and benefits are a great place to start.
No one likes jumping through endless hoops to get established at a new job. Passive candidates are particularly reluctant. Why would they want to go through three rounds of interviews when they already have a job?
If you want to get top-notch talent, you need to ensure the hiring process is smooth and personalized. Generally speaking, the process of hiring an employee is lengthy and highly impersonal. If your candidates are reasonably content where they are, they won’t want to take the time to go through a weeks-long hiring process.
That’s not to say you should eliminate interviews and screening entirely. However, if you want to hold a passive candidate’s interest, you should make the hiring process an efficient one.
It’s possible to find your next great employee by creating a job listing and waiting for the applications to come. However, it’s equally possible that your next employee is right in your competitor’s office. When you understand the untapped potential in passive candidates and take the time to strategically reach out, you just might find the perfect fit.
At Cowen Partners, we stand at the forefront of the executive search industry, empowering companies to thrive and excel in their growth, revenue, and market presence. We specialize in identifying exceptional leaders and placing them in key positions to drive success. Our team of seasoned executive recruiters collaborates with organizations of all sizes, encompassing both public and private enterprises, pre-IPO ventures, and non-profit entities.
Through a meticulous and discerning approach, we unite handpicked candidates, with companies in pursuit of the most exceptional executive talent, representing the top 1%. With the support of our experienced senior partners, we execute a diligent and efficient executive search process, ensuring leadership placements within a remarkable six-week timeframe.