When you advertise a new position, your candidates are typically people who are actively looking for jobs. They’re people who are either unemployed or who are employed and looking for a new position. That seems obvious, but there’s a segment of the market that’s not applying—passive job seekers. They’re the people who are employed and are happy where they are, but would be open to the right offer if it came along. Sometimes, they make the best hires, but since they’re not actively looking for work, they’re hard for recruiters and hiring managers to target. How can you tap into this part of the employee pool?
Build Brand Visibility
Passive job seekers are more likely to be interested in your company if its values and goals are similar to their own. The kind of company that can attract these job seekers must therefore project its goals and values in meaningful and visible ways.
For instance, for a smaller London firm whose reach is restricted to the greater London area, an emphasis on contributing value in the local community can be an effective move. Sponsoring local events or making a splash with a local advertising campaign are two examples that can be fruitful. Larger companies with a more national reach can effectively leverage these kinds of opportunities too. Social media is also an effective tool to employ for companies of all sizes. If the company has a website, spend some time on building up the site with new content, or if the company doesn’t have a site, build one. A company website that offers value to the industry is an excellent way to build a reputation with industry peers and customers as well as potential employees.
Assess Your Staffing Needs
To target passive job seekers effectively, it’s first necessary to identify any skill gaps that exist within your company, and what skill gaps might exist in the future. A staffing assessment that examines the current and required skill level of your workforce is the simplest way to identify such gaps. Together with anticipated staff turnover—including your normal turnover rate, expected retirements, and future job growth—this information can help you determine what kinds of skills you need to attract to the company, and what kinds of passive job seekers to target.
Finding Passive Job Seekers
When you advertise a new position, the candidates come to you, but when you’re targeting passive job seekers, you have to find and engage them. One way to do this is to find out where those people are, both online and offline. For instance, if you’re looking to fill a particular position, what are the industry events that are likely to interest those people?
Social media is another excellent tool for finding passive job seekers. LinkedIn is the obvious choice here, as the most widely-used professional social media platform, but the brand-building potential of a company’s Facebook page can be just as effective.
Building a Relationship
To convince someone to apply for a job they’re not actively looking for, you first need to cultivate their interest in your company. That’s something that needs to be built over time, with genuine personal communication that doesn’t attempt to pressure them into making the move. Attracting passive job seekers requires making a long-term commitment to the task, building on the relationship over time. This is why it’s important to understand your long-term staffing needs. Cultivating these relationships early means that when the position does need to be filled, it’s more likely that your target candidate may express an interest.