For obvious reasons, the job market ebbs and wanes through ups and downs in the economy. It’s unavoidable and not always predictable, but it’s something you always need to be prepared for as a recruiter. Often, during a talent shortage, you need to turn your focus toward passive candidates to fill urgent roles.
This means tapping into a talent pool that doesn’t necessarily want to budge from their safe and comfortable jobs. Nevertheless, you have teams counting on you to fill gaps and it’s quite possible your open positions offer advantages these passive candidates cannot get from their current companies. The trick is convincing passive talent to hear your pitch and harder yet, getting them to apply.
It’s true, catching the attention of passive talent requires more finesse than wooing active job seekers, but it’s absolutely possible to place passive candidates in your open roles. If you want to beat the talent shortage and attract hard-to-reach top talent to your jobs, follow these steps to nurture passive candidates in the recruiting process:
Build candidate personas
When you shift your focus to sourcing passive talent you begin to realize just how wide that sea is. Casting a broad net may seem like a logical way to catch the attention of at least a few interested professionals. But it also means wading through applicants that are not great fits or working twice as hard to get someone to bite.
You may be wondering why I’ve used so many metaphors related to fishing. The simple answer is because it’s remarkably similar to recruiting for open roles. The kind of fish you catch depends on the place you cast your line and with what you bait your hook. If you want to lure talent with specific qualifications away from their current roles, you need to target your messaging. And the only way to do that is to know exactly what and who you’re looking for.
Sit down with your list of open roles and build out candidate personas for each job. Who would fit well in this role? What does that person need to be successful? What kind of job may that person have now that makes them qualified? Where do they live/work? What do you have to offer they can’t get anywhere else?
A great resource to build out the ideal candidate persona is the current top performers in similar roles. Once you answer these questions, the persona of the perfect passive candidate for each role will come to life. Having an idea of what qualifications, qualities, and experiences this person likely has beyond the basic requirements for the job will help you dial in your search and reach out and connect with confidence.
Recommended Reading: How to Encourage Passive Candidates to Apply for Entry-Level Roles
Target their needs and wants
You’ve found the perfect passive candidate who matches your candidate persona, but if you want to nurture this lead you need to tap into their professional desires. Everyone has a list of needs their job must meet from financial support to professional development and more. However, there are plenty of basic wants that can lure passive talent toward a new company.
One way to pick up on these cues is to pay attention to what groups they follow and what information they share on social media. For example, they may be trying to balance their career with parenting responsibilities. You might pick up on this by noticing images of their son’s little league game or that they follow a Facebook group for working moms. If your open role offers a flexible work schedule or even hybrid options, this could be the way to target their want for more family time while still making a generous salary.
Try to lead these candidates into revealing what they are missing in their current role so you can customize your messages with tips and leads that speak to their needs. The most important fact to remember is you need to prove your value and gain their trust if they are going to make time to fit you into their busy schedules. Steer clear of anything that junks up their inbox, such as getting them to buy in to your newsletter if it’s not completely relevant to their career advancement.
Share the simple value
A sure way to get blacklisted by passive candidates is to overwhelm them. Keep in mind these candidates have full-time jobs and lives. They are not on the hunt for more responsibility and while your information may be valuable, so is their time.
Get straight to the point in your initial outreach. Introduce yourself through a brief video message, if possible, so you can make an in-person impression and stand out from other recruiters. Be sure to customize your message based on clues from their public profiles and share why you believe you can help them advance their career.
If you’re just looking to nurture a relationship with passive candidates, state you’re interested in keeping in touch and ask them how you can provide them value. Encourage these candidates to take the lead a bit by laying the groundwork for future communications.
If you need to fill a role more quickly and think they are a great fit, share the job details highlighting the key value points right away. Make it easy for them to connect with you for a video interview by posting a link directly to your calendar.
Simplify the interview process
The No. 1 way you’re sure to lose passive candidates’ interest is to lead them into a complicated application and interview process. It’s worth repeating, these candidates are not looking for more tasks in their day. If anything, showing them there is an easier way to complete their list of to-dos each day, such as with an amazing new job opportunity, will catch their attention. You’re not going to do that with repetitive questions and data entry or a drawn-out screening process.
Don’t require anything in your applications that’s included on the resume and skip information like physical address and other personal details for later stages of the process. Make it easy for applicants to quickly upload their resume with a brief application and direct them to the one-way video interview step with the click of a button.
This not only makes it more convenient for talent to get in front of you without disrupting their schedule, but also it gives them a glimpse into your structured interview process. Recognizing a screening that is fair and equitable helps candidates feel more comfortable and confident in your recruiting process. This builds trust which is crucial for nurturing your relationship with passive talent.
If passive candidates pass on your opportunities this time, don’t despair. Make it possible for them to consider future job openings by offering to keep their video profile on file. You can request they submit a virtual resume in the form of a one-way video interview whenever they’re ready. Add these videos to your talent library to tap into when a better opportunity arises or you run into another talent shortage.
Recommended Reading: Fighting the Talent Shortage – Using Video Interviews to Source the Right Candidate
Keep in touch
Whether passive candidates choose to enter the hiring process or pass for next time, it’s crucial you keep in touch and continue to nurture your new relationships. Silver-medal candidates may be discouraged if they didn’t get the offer when they took the time to interview. Keep them motivated by pointing out the advantages of them getting back in the saddle and brushing up their interview skills. The next big opportunity is just around the corner.
Candidates who pass up your offer could quickly forget about you and your value to them if you don’t stay connected. Worse yet, they could feel insignificant, meaning they won’t make time for you the next time you circle around with an open position. Not to mention, if you drop off their radar, if and when they become active candidates, you’ll miss out on recruiting this top talent for your jobs.
Don’t let passive candidates get scooped up by the competition. Find ways to continue to show value through sharing relevant job trends, professional development tips, and industry news. Keep it personal with video message updates. Help them become an expert in their field right where they are in their career, that way when the time comes for them to advance, they are ready to jump into your open roles with confidence and ease.