The truth is, top talent just isn’t looking at your job ads. Don’t take it personally. Though most highly skilled professionals are not actively pursuing new jobs, they are usually receptive to the right opportunities. Whether it’s 56.4% of developers or 85% of nurses, a higher than average segment of the workforce across industries are passive jobseekers. Like it or not, businesses are now expected to take greater initiative in building relationships and recruiting passive candidates – or risk never finding top performers in the first place. Here’s why:
Few hiring platforms have reshaped the hiring and job search process quite like LinkedIn. Direct links now exist between companies and candidates, and because of that, in-demand professionals receive job opportunities like Drake gets fan mail (and that’s a lot). LinkedIn’s Open Candidate feature even allows professionals to quietly indicate they’re open to opportunities without letting their bosses know, encouraging them to take a more laissez faire approach to the job search.
Passive recruiting has flourished under these conditions. Whether professionals are getting good or bad offers, the law of averages suggests that eventually a position will align with their skills and goals. The trick then is for companies to do their homework, network, and prove they understand their candidates’ wants and needs. Otherwise, they’ll lose talent to direct competitors willing to make that effort.
Think of your best vendor relationship. That vendor has built a high level of trust and shown that their output aligns with your needs. If another vendor attempts to win your business, they’re expected not only to prove the quality of their service, but that they are capable of surpassing your current partner. Through relationship selling, your primary vendor has made it difficult for competitors to steal their business. To successfully hire today’s candidates, you need to take a page from that book.
Currently, we are in a full employment economy with a national unemployment rate of 3.9% in August. Companies are all competing for the same exhausted talent supply, and whoever can build the strongest bonds with candidates is more likely to hire and retain them. Recruiting passive candidates allows you to focus on cementing your relationship so that you can communicate the values in your work, your technologies, and your culture. Beyond that, building long-term relationships, as we do in our Engagement Management program, is an essential part of any retention strategy and keeps your top professionals from considering opportunities anywhere else.
With all of the noise out there, you cannot afford to reach out to candidates just once. They are seeing messages from companies through their email, LinkedIn, social media, and even local networking events. Regular and ongoing communication sends a message that a business is serious about hiring and genuinely believe the candidate could be a great fit. Silence convinces professionals that they are better taking their careers elsewhere.
How often do you need to connect with candidates? That depends on how far along you are in the hiring process. If you are connecting with them before a position is open (which is necessary these days), once every few months is fine. But when you are working to transition your long-running connection into an employment relationship, you need to commit to regular communication. For example, if you wait longer than 24 to 48 hours after an interview, that professional will become more susceptible to other offers.
Though the case for recruiting passive candidates is strong, most companies are not equipped to achieve the best possible results. Unless you have a dedicated recruiter, it is too difficult to build the extensive network needed to ensure a candidate is ready to take your offer when you’re ready to hire. Even then, a single internal recruiter or small team is no longer enough in the current talent market.
That’s why it’s essential to find the right staffing and recruiting partner. Your business can get the benefit of a robust recruiting department solely dedicated to finding top talent and building long-lasting relationships. If you choose the right one, you can trust your ability to connect with passive candidates without doing any of the preliminary work.