Employers must play the long game to win top talent. The best employees have many great options. Accepting any job offer represents a significant opportunity cost for high-performers, and they don’t typically make such decisions lightly or quickly. To win these potential candidates, employers must be persistent with both nurture campaigns and outreach campaigns.

Nurture Vs. Outreach

“Nurture campaigns” employ a one-to-many marketing approach whereby employers share relevant content with a group of individuals of interest. “Outreach campaigns” employ a one-to-one sales approach whereby employers build individual relationships with candidates through email, text messaging, and other avenues. Both types of campaigns can be automated, and both can significantly improve a company’s results with passive candidates.

By establishing their thought leadership and using it to make a positive impression on potential candidates, employers can position themselves to be the company of choice when a passive candidate is finally ready to make a career move.

“The more passive a candidate, the more active you must be to attract and hire that person,” writes Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group.

If you aren’t persistent in your pursuit of passive candidates, you won’t be successful. However, persistence should not be confused with pushiness. Never try to pressure passive candidates into applying for a position.

“Passive candidates need time to absorb the information you provide,” Adler writes. “While you can urge the process along, you don’t want to ever come across as desperate.”

This is why it’s important to start nurturing passive candidates well before you have a need for them. Doing so will help you create a pipeline of warm candidates from which you can recruit when the time is right.

“Pushing it too fast is the worst thing you can do,” Adler writes. “This shatters the whole process. Recruiters or managers who move too fast are perceived by the candidate as desperate, slick, or pushy – tactics better suited for the used car lot.”

The Right Way to Nurture Candidates

tracksSo, how do you warm up passive candidates the right way?

“There are three crucial tenets of recruitment marketing: consistency, relevance, and authenticity,” writes Susan Vitale, CMO of iCIMS.

Start your nurturing campaign by creating a schedule for sending passive candidates email newsletters. This will allow you to be a consistent, but not overbearing, part of their lives. These periodic newsletters shouldn’t read like sales pitches or even recruiting emails. Rather, they should be informational bulletins that share curated articles, infographics, and other content relevant to the candidates you are targeting.

“Targeted email campaigns allow recruiters to nurture candidates at each stage of the sourcing and hiring process and send messages specific to a candidate based on their location, preferred job function, and other interests,” writes Colin Day, founder and CEO of iCIMS.

The emails should be written in an approachable, authentic tone that’s true to your company. Feel free to include updates on cool things happening in your organization, as well as employee spotlights and team photos! Through these newsletters, you can develop and manage the impression that candidates have of your company.

Start the Outreach

When passive candidates have been nurtured for some time and are ready to move into the more active recruitment process, you should start to develop a more personal relationship with them through one-on-one outreach campaigns. Modern recruiters know that closing candidates is a lot like closing a sale: 44 percent of salespeople give up after only one follow-up attempt, but 80 percent of sales require five follow-ups. By working leads consistently and persistently through outreach campaigns, you can significantly improve your results with passive candidates.

Outreach campaigns are highly effective, and they don’t have to be costly or time-consuming. The right recruitment technology can automate outreach so that warm candidates are delivered to you with little effort and few hours invested.

While the goal of touches in a nurture campaign is to grow and sustain a potential candidate’s interest in your company as an employer, outreach campaigns are more action-oriented and are meant to direct potential candidates to enter the application process. When appropriate, include a call to action in an outreach campaign touch. The ideal call to action makes it simple for potential candidates to begin, complete, and submit their job applications.

Danai Kadzere is a content marketer at Happie, a candidate sourcing and engagement software.

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