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Recruiting Strategies to Attract Passive Candidates in the Workforce

Posted by  Lindsey Burke

Recruiting Strategies to Attract Passive Candidates in the Workforce

In a recent talent solutions report, LinkedIn took a look at trends emerging around recruitment strategies. Some trends were not surprising to see, such as employee referrals being the number one reason individuals discover new jobs. We all know someone who knows someone who knows someone who got them an interview at a company. Another unsurprising finding is the importance of compensation and work-life balance in terms of candidates actually accepting a job. The importance and value placed on these factors will always be at the top.

One trend reported that may come as a surprise is the percentage of passive candidates in the workforce. LinkedIn reported of 70% of the global candidate pool is comprised of passive candidates, – candidates who are not actively looking for roles – and thus, truly have to be recruited. Here are two areas of research to consider for organizations looking to make more of an impact with passive candidates.

1. Getting into the nitty-gritty of the online review

Word-of-mouth spreads almost as fast as word-of-fingertips. More and more, current and former employees are willing to share their positive and negative workplace experiences online. There is evidence to support that reading a negative review of a company can stop someone from applying to that particular company entirely. If you didn’t already believe it – believe it. Passive candidates, especially those conscientious ones, will, more than likely, do their research on your company and if your company has dirty laundry hanging online, they will discover it. This could be all it takes to lose the interest of a passive candidate. The complaints received and posted online should be seriously investigated as there could be serious issues needing investigation (e.g., supervisor/subordinate issues, training issues). Even a simple reply to online complaints, expressing appreciation for bringing the complaint forward and further investigation by the company can make a big difference. Remember – passive candidates don’t need you: you need them. Thus, going to these extremes could make the difference in getting that candidate in front of a hiring manager.

Related: 5 Ways to Attract the Right Candidates Using Social Media

2. Knowing your unique differentiators

Knowing your unique differentiator(s) among local competitors is important, and particularly important, given this current economy. If you are falling behind in one area (e.g., lacking normal shift hours), that could end the interest of the passive candidate. If you spark the interest of a passive candidate, you are going to need to know what other employers in your area are offering compared to what your company can offer. More times than not, employers know what these things are, but often feel at a loss as many factors are not easily changed (e.g., differences in pay). Thus, recruiters really need to know how to sell the benefits of one’s company and jobs, whether that is through cultural initiatives, the environment the work is performed in, the schedule/shift hours of the job, growth opportunities available, visibility of the work, etc. Find out what makes your organization stick out, where you can offer better, and preach it. Consider having current employees speak to interested candidates and share their positive experiences. Also be sure to assess the passive candidate’s motivational fit for the job. Learn about the work they like and do not like completing. If their likes line up well with the job, be sure to let them know that.

In today's market, the candidate has many options – organizations may be having a hard time recruiting and winning over candidates. If you position your organization to stand out as an attractive employment option, you're taking the right steps toward hiring and retaining quality employees.

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Lindsey Burke

Lindsey Burke is a Consultant based in the Pittsburgh office of Select International. She is largely responsible for client support and managing clients in industries including manufacturing, sales, and healthcare. Lindsey completed her M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Xavier University and earned a B.A. and B.S. in Psychology from Kent State University.

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