When it comes to hiring, often a lot of focus is placed on the active hiring of good candidates for your open positions. However, the hiring of passive candidates should not be forgotten especially when it comes to positions that require specific scarce skills or profiles. But this is not an easy process! With passive candidates your needs as a company are bigger than the candidate´s need, so your hiring strategy should be not so much about selling but more about developing long-term relationships and creating engagement and excitement for opportunities in your company.
So what are the 6 crucial ingredients for successfully recruiting passive candidates?
- Build a talent pipeline for your company
Recruiting passive candidates is probably going to be a slow and sensitive process. Since it will be a time-consuming process, your company should start working on your strategy before an actual job opening comes up. Therefore, your HR area might want to build a talent pipeline consisting of a pool of potential profiles that may be valuable candidates for your company, either today, next year or far away in the future. So when a vacancy opens up, your talent pool is the first place to look for potential candidates.
- Better job descriptions
Make your job descriptions compelling and let them tell a story. If you want a passive candidate to really be interested in your vacancy and consider applying for it, then stop focusing on skills and experience. Instead tell them what they will learn, do and become if they´re successful in the job. Tell them how this position should contribute to the higher purpose of the company. Make it interesting and compelling!
For recruiting passive candidates, cold calling them is probably not going to cut it. If they have profiles or skills that are in high demand in the market they will receive a lot of cold calls every week! Instead, be a networker and build a true relationship with them. This is obviously not a quick and easy process, but invest your time in networking with those scarce profiles in your area or the candidates from your talent pipeline and you might be able to reap the fruits of this by hiring them in the medium or long term when trust has been established.
- Focus on intrinsic motivation
Passive candidates are usually in a job they are happy with and feel they are compensated well for. If this would not be the case, they would probably have been active candidates! Since they are relatively happy in their current position you will have to capture their attention by appealing to their intrinsic motivator. That´s probably easier said than done, so how to approach this? Well, actually it´s not that difficult: talk to people in similar positions as you´re hiring for and ask them why they took this job. Try to use exactly that in the subject line of your email when you´re reaching out to new candidates.
- Peer referrals
Do you take employee referrals serious at your company? Just like many companies trust their employees to refer good candidates, good people know good people, this works the same way for referring employers! So as a passive candidate, who do you trust most when thinking about joining a new company? Probably a friend or peer or someone you can trust that actually works at that company. Make use of this as well by incentivizing employee referrals.
- Get your hiring managers 100% involved and committed
While all of the above will help you to generate a bigger pool of passive candidates interested in the position, you actually won´t be able to hire any of them if your hiring managers are not fully involved and committed. They are the ones that probably have the most important task in convincing the passive candidate that he or she should join your company.
What are your tips for hiring passive candidates?