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Get Passive (Candidates, that is.)

Back in Q3, nearly one in four workers (24 percent) said they were fearful of layoffs at their firms, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey (conducted among 2,922 hiring managers and HR professionals and 7,960 U.S. employees).

Not surprised? I’m not either. And I would venture a guess that in light of recent layoffs at many U.S. companies, the percentage has increased since this survey was conducted.

What does this mean for you as an employer? Well, several things. And they’re not all bad.

The desire to find greener pastures with a new employer offering better compensation and career advancement, more flexibility, and more stability commonly drives many employees to flock to new opportunities. With layoffs on the rise, however – and the fear of layoffs in many employees’ minds – there are suddenly a lot more passive candidates “passively” searching for new opportunities. (Read: safer work environments, higher morale, less tension, solid benefits, and job stability.) And for you, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Employer, that’s a good thing.

As an employer, this is a key opportunity for you to reach out to those passive candidates and get them to take notice. I’m not necessarily suggesting staking out your competitors’ work places and holding up “We’re Hiring!” signs (tactics such as these haven’t always boded well for job seekers) -but getting creative in your recruitment tactics is one of the smartest moves you can make right now.

I recently talked with Jenny Thomas, CareerBuilder.com recruiting manager, about her suggested methods of attracting passive job seekers.

1. Understand their motivation
As Jenny explains, “It’s important to understand what makes candidates move.” As you’re pursuing these candidates, she says, be aware of their motivators, which may vary considerably. For instance, some passive candidates may not get along with their manager. Others might be interested in switching to a completely different industry. Still others might want more compensation. It really depends on the individual.  By building a relationship with passive candidates, you will get a better idea of what makes them “move” – giving you a window to present them with opportunities that fall in line with their motivations.

2. Keep them informed
Passive candidates, as mentioned previously, are often your top candidates – and they want answers. The more information you can provide about your company or the company you’re recruiting for, the better. Be prepared to sell your company and your diverse offerings and benefits to them.  As Jenny notes, it’s easy for managers to get caught up in their own goals, but to successfully reach these candidates, they must focus instead on building mutually rewarding relationships with them. Ask yourself: What’s in it for them?

3. Be inquisitive and interested
While you should give passive candidates a rich amount of information about your company or the company you’re recruiting for, it is also important to ask them questions about what it is they’re looking for. Ask them about their current role. What is their company like? Are their concerns with location? Money? Company culture? Benefits? Diversity? Ask those in-depth discovery questions (assuming you are at a comfort level with them to do so).

Bottom line: What do they not have today that they want? Ideally, by getting to know them better, you will be able to mesh your opportunity with their employer wish list. On the other hand, you may find that your company is not a good fit. But won’t you be glad you found it out before the interview – or before the hire? And keep in mind, while you might not have the right opportunity now, you might later on – and when you do, you will already have built a great relationship with that candidate. Word to the wise: Keep in touch.

4. Keep them engaged
I’m not going to go so far to say candidates are like a fine wine (that would be weird, yes), but do keep in mind that these relationships cannot be built overnight. Like any quality relationship, they must be built on trust and strengthened over time.

Keep them engaged with touch points. Send occasional articles about your business, pick up the phone to check in now and then, or even snail mail some company info or a handwritten “hello” note to them. Add them to your network on BrightFuse and LinkedIn. Be accessible. But remember that candidates have lives, too. If you’re stalker-ish or invasive, candidates will check you off their potentials faster than you can say “Paris Hilton’s music career.” As in any relationship worth maintaining, there is work involved, but if you find a candidate who’s a perfect fit, it’s worth your time. Jenny suggests checking in with potential candidates in some form or another roughly every couple of weeks.

Jenny’s thoughts:

“Attracting passive candidates in recruiting comes down to the relationship a candidate builds with an organization.  It is a time investment from the recruiter and hiring manager.  It is important for both to be involved to understand a candidate’s key drivers and provide them with enough data to compare opportunities effectively.  A candidate is going to take an opportunity that is a little better than both their current position and any others they are considering.”

Stay tuned for Passive Candidates: Pt. 3…

Amy McDonnell

About Amy McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the creative services manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
5 comments
Amy Chulik
Amy Chulik

And Ron, thanks for your insight. I completely agree with you - I think that, particularly in our fast-paced and technologically driven society, too many people expect relationships to develop overnight - with instant results and with the benefits of relationships that would normally be built over time and with much more care. Trust is essential for relationships to evolve.

Amy Chulik
Amy Chulik

Tzena, thank you for your comment and I apologize for not responding sooner. You might want to check out www.theworkbuzz.com - it's our CareerBuilder.com blog for job seekers, and it contains lot of advice/resources that I hope you'll find helpful in your search. Best of luck to you and let me know if I - or any of us here - can be of further help.

Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions
Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions

I think the best statement made in this article is ..... "Attracting passive candidates in recruiting comes down to the relationship a candidate builds with an organization." I have always believed in relationships. Too many people this that a few conversations or a few emails are sufficient. They are also looking for quick results. In my experience, it takes time to build a relationship. Why? Because relationships are based on trust. Both parties must trust each other in order for any type of relationship (business or personal) to exist.

Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions
Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions

I think the best statement made in this article is ..... "Attracting passive candidates in recruiting comes down to the relationship a candidate builds with an organization." I have always believed in relationships. Too many people this that a few conversations or a few emails are sufficient. They are also looking for quick results. In my experience, it takes time to build a relationship. Why? Because relationships are based on trust. Both parties must trust each other in order for any type of relationship (business or personal) to exist.

Tzena
Tzena

Hello my name is Tzena Rose and I have posted my resume on your web site but it seems like I can't ever find the type of job that I am looking for I really need help because I am trying very hard to find a job I am not going to say that it is a limit to my ability to work is at its all time high i can do anything with the right traning please dont buy past this message as if this was another comment i really need help I will even start of as a vouleenteer just to have something possitive to do I understand that the economy as at it worst and there are not to many jobs availiable but i know that i can get some help from somewhere because i am motivated dependable and I am willing to learn more

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