For a go-getting recruiter, passive candidates can be a source of frustration. See, while 85% of candidates are open to finding a new job , only 25% of them are actively searching. You have an open job, and plenty of candidates are interested. But a certain degree of inertia prevents them from actually applying. So how do you break down these walls and reach candidates?
Make Recruiting Social
Social recruiting is gaining momentum as a premiere way to find candidates who may not be actively searching for jobs. Social media is an incredibly popular destination for people, so their eyes are always on it. This makes it a prime location for employers to post their jobs, as users are likely to come across them in their feeds eventually. As it turns out, 73% of millennials found their last job through social media .
Users may not actively be thinking, “I should browse Twitter and look for jobs.” But if they’re an industry professional, they’re going to follow other people in their field–and if they see one of those people post a job, they’re more likely to be interested. Even better, some people in the field actively share jobs they find with others, so it’s important that you post your jobs on social media so people can easily help other people see them. Additionally, both Twitter and Facebook integrate ads directly into their feed systems (like with promoted tweets ), meaning you can also pay to post content that even non-followers will see.
Many job posting services and aggregators offer the ability to distribute jobs via social for free, but you have to have an account. Rather than making your social channels glorified RSS feeds for jobs, supplement this information by posting cultural content and informational updates to give future employees some insight into what your corporate atmosphere is really like.
Think Like an Advertiser
Yes, the connection between recruiters and advertisers gets tossed around a lot. You can indeed approach candidates in many of the same ways you would customers, but the comparison is pretty cliché at this point. However, there’s one particular method recruiters can lift from sales teams: repetition.
Repetition is why McDonald’s still advertises, even though almost everyone knows exactly how to get a Big Mac the next time the craving hits. Sometimes, people need to the additional reinforcement. This is why follow-up emails exist, why very few sales people send an email once, then never bother to try again. Emails get lost, even after we read them. We forget the things we’re supposed to do on a daily basis. That’s why reminders exist, and why companies need to be persistent in recruiting passive candidates.
Passive candidates aren’t going to apply for your job after your first email. They may not even get around to it after the second. But if they’re interested and you’re persistent enough, chances are you’ll get a response eventually. Surveys show that regular reminders can increase candidate response rates by as much as 80%. That’s huge. So don’t take rejection or silence as a sign you should quit–take it as a challenge to keep at it. Other ways to use advertising tricks in your recruitment marketing include retargeting, SEO, compelling Call to Actions and marketing automation.
Make the Negative Sell (With Caution)
Passive candidates are passive for a reason. They’d like another job, but they’rejust comfortable enoughat their current one not to leave. Or, they’re under enough financial stress that they can’t afford a job hunt. This is where you come in. General job ads can’t make this case, but when using more direct means of conversation (such as email or phone calls), the negative sell–that is, selling a candidate on why don’t want their current job–can be even more effective than the positive one.
When making your sell, consider asking a few questions that will get them to think about what they don’t like about their job. Lou Adler ( @LouA ), CEO of the Adler Group, a hiring consultancy, has some great suggestions about what questions to ask passive candidates :
- What’s the one single thing that could make your current position significantly better?
- Forget about compensation for a moment. What do you like most about your current role, and what do you like least? Now, what about the compensation?
- Is there anything from a location or situational standpoint that leaves you unsure about the future or uncomfortable about the present?
These questions aren’t about casting false doubt on the candidate’s current job. Don’t insult their employer. Don’t make them feel dumb for having their job. Instead, highlight opportunities for candidates to improve their circumstances, with you as the facilitator of change. They still may not see it your way, but if there are things they’re dissatisfied with in their current job, drawing them out could be your way in.
Passive candidates often make for frustrating hires. They need to be coaxed out of the comfort zone and made aware of how great the job you’re offering them is. In order to get them to act, you need to post openings where they’ll see them even when they’re not actively looking, remind them repeatedly that your offer to talk is on table, and let them know how much better they could have it if they switched. Do that, and you should turn passive candidates into active ones.