WolfIf employers want to make the most of today’s talent market, they’ll need to learn how to access the elusive passive candidate pool. Research from LinkedIn found that only 12 percent of the talent market is actively seeking work, while the massive majority — a whopping 73 percent — are happily employed and not actively looking for new jobs. These people are, however, open to new opportunities if they come along.

They are, to put it simply, passive candidates.

A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 51 percent of hiring managers prefer active candidates because they are comparatively easy to engage. But the fact that active talent is easy to reach means there are plenty of recruiters targeting this population, making the active talent market highly competitive.

A key advantage of focusing your recruiting efforts on the passive candidate market is that you can find great talent before the rest of the pack. Most of your would-be competitors will be busy wrestling one another for the limited supply of active candidates.

And yet, many employers avoid the passive talent market simply because it can be quite challenging to land a passive candidate. That’s why I’d like to offer the following tips on sourcing and engaging passive candidates. With the right techniques, recruiters will feel less intimidated by passive candidates — and they’ll be posed to make some great hires as a result.

1. Don’t Rely Exclusively on Job Advertisements

According to LinkedIn, passive candidates do not regularly check jobs boards. You’ll need to expand your hiring strategy way beyond jobs boards to truly reach passive talent.

2. Make Use of Employee Referrals

We’ve known for years now that employee referrals are one of the most influential and effective sources of hire. Referrals are a proven hiring method.

Employee referrals are also especially good at attracting passive talent. According to the LinkedIn research mentioned above, 15 percent of passive candidates reach out to their personal networks to find out about jobs, and 45 percent are open to talking to recruiters. Employee referrals and other word-of-mouth hiring methods are golden gateways into the passive talent market.

3. Implement Flexible Interviews

WakeOne barrier to getting passive talent interested in the application process is the thought that they might have to use valuable vacation time to interview for a job — when they are not even sure if they want to changes jobs. They may be worried about their current employers catching wind of the fact that they are scoping out their options.

To remove this barrier and get passive candidates more interested in your organization, make use of flexible interviewing options, such as weekend/evening interviews, video interviews, and phone interviews. That way, candidates can do much of the interview process with using vacation time or alerting their employers to the fact that they are interviewing.

4. Develop a Dream Role

Passive talent needs persuading. You have to get the passive candidate excited if you want them to pursue your opportunity.

One way to do this is to design a role that is very attractive to the candidate. Crafting a dream role for a particular passive candidate is a way to get that candidate super excited about what you have to offer.

Has the candidates always wanted to use a certain technology? Can you enable them to do that? Or maybe they have always wanted more freedom to experiment — can you give them that? Design a role to both suit and excite the passive candidate, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting that candidate on board.

5. Keep Things Discreet and Confidential

Stable, passive candidates will be much less likely to engage with a particular job opportunity if there is any fear that their employer will find out they are ‘looking elsewhere.’ Your hiring managers and recruiters must be discreet at all times. The entire application process should be highly confidential. No details can slip to the outside world — not even employees at the company. They may begin to gossip, and word may get back to the passive candidate’s current employer. That’s a great way to lose the candidate’s interest entirely.

Need more tips on engaging with passive candidates? Check back tomorrow for part two!

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