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Passive candidates: a hidden goldmine?

Written by Vicky Jessop on 14 Mar 18
Passive candidates: a hidden goldmine?
If you're recruiting, it’s easy to attract active candidates- they’re the ones who make the effort to job hunt, who get in touch with your recruiting consultants, and who scour the internet for the jobs that you’re publishing.

However, many employers- and recruitment agencies- are now waking up to the potential of passive candidates. These people are not actively looking for a job, but increasing amounts of recruiters are putting in the time and energy to find them on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook, solely in order to convince them to swap jobs and apply for yours.

But in a market where 25% of fully employed workers are actively hunting for their next role, what makes these less-involved employees so special?

Looking for passive candidates gives recruiters the chance to find potential candidates who exactly fit the criteria of the job they're looking to fill. Where advertising for a job might bring in a slew of job applications- where only a few CVs that are sent in end up looking promising- turning to passive candidates lets you tailor your job search and find precisely the person that you want, with the right skills, job history and even the right degree. Though it takes time to find them, investing effort into finding these ideal candidates can pay off a hundredfold with a new hire that exactly suits the job, and who will impact your company more than perhaps a conventional hire: indeed, a passive candidate is 120% more likely to make an impact on your business, and 33% of them are more likely to seek out challenging work in their new role. 

It's also a hidden goldmine, as passive candidates actually make up a stunning 60% of the workforce, and are open to receiving new job opportunities and approaches from recruiters and employers alike- given the right incentive. Indeed, in today’s increasingly competitive recruitment landscape, too, companies are increasingly turning to passive candidates to fill the gaps left by an absence of active candidates. In a market where employers are struggling to stand out from the competition and attract skilled applicants, passive candidates provide a simple alternative: if you can find your ideal candidate and convince them to join then you’ve just sidestepped the entire fraught recruitment process in favour of a hire who has been handpicked for the potential they bring to your business. Furthermore, taking the time to get in touch with them can also pay off in terms of competition: the chances are that they’re also not being interviewed by anybody else. 

But how can you weed them out- and entice them to actually apply for your vacancy?

Take charge of your careers website.

To stand out to these candidates, you need to make sure you’re sharing content that people want to read- and not just people who are actively looking for a job. Social media lets you network and get your voice heard: by posting, retweeting and engaging in relevant discussions, you’ll be able to build your reputation and build a network that will make it that much easier to find somebody when the time comes around. This should also be backed up by publishing interesting, sector-relevant content that attracts traffic to your site, and incites people to share it: the more well-known you are in the market, the more likely these candidates will be to apply for a job or accept one when it’s offered.

Provide an incentive.

When it comes to finding these candidates, it’s also a good idea to implement a referrals scheme, which encourages staff to find friends who would be well-suited to the role- often with a reward if their candidate is hired. It’s also worth doing, as these referrals make up 7% of candidates but end up making up 40% of hires

Sell the job.

What would entice a passive candidate to leave their current job and come to yours? Depending on the kind of position you’re offering, you’ll need to advertise and emphasise different aspects of your role. If it’s similar to what your ideal candidate already works in, then they’ll take it for more money, and better opportunities or challenges; if it’s a higher-level role, then they’ll take less money, especially if what they stand to gain in experience and standing is huge. You should also take into account the importance of workplace culture, work-life balance and employee benefits- and take pains to emphasise them, especially if you’re advertising for a high-stress job.

Though of course active candidates are a vital part of your recruitment pipeline, passive candidates are a hidden goldmine that it pays to spend time cultivating. After all, the better quality your applicants are, the better your business.

At 4MAT, we take pride in building careers websites that connect both active and passive candidates with their dream jobs. For more recruitment insights, why not have a look at our blog- or, if you want advice, why not download our latest eBook on Planning a New Digital Marketing Strategy below? 

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