The Secret to Recruiting Great Passive Candidates

The best employees in the world all get fired, laid off or quit. And yet, most employers would rather hire someone with a job right now, or passive candidates. Why is that?

According to Forbes Magazine, “When we favor ‘passive’ candidates over active job-seekers, it’s because in that case, we don’t have to worry about the circumstances surrounding their departure from their last job.”

Employers choose passive candidates for their open positions because these candidates arrive pre-approved. They most often come from an internal referral.

These referrals hold a lot of weight because nobody wants to put their name or their career with this company in jeopardy because they referred a dud.

But how do we get these amazing passive candidates? Here are a few tips to help attract them, and make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Treat it Like Marketing

The lines between marketing and recruiting are often a bit blurred because it shares a lot of the same simple goals:

  1. Raise awareness of the organization
  2. Position yourself as better than your competition
  3. Get people to take an action

The obvious difference is you’re selling the actual company with recruiting, not your product or service. However, your offering is a big factor. If you have a one-of-a-kind unique selling proposition, one that is causing a disruption in the marketplace, that helps you recruit.

Statistics like, “We have grown by X% in only Y months” are always impressive and position your office as the place to be. And they create a bit of urgency for passive candidates to join your team now.

The most important thing is not to treat the recruiting process for passive candidates as a one-off or one time only action. Treat it as ongoing marketing. And treat your candidates like leads in your sales funnel.

Most leads for a high-end purchase require a bit of nurturing. They need to know more about you so they can feel 100% comfortable signing on. So both would-be customer and would-be employees will both be looking at your:

Blogging and Social Media

A blog that hasn’t been updated in 4 months doesn’t look good for anybody. Neither does a stagnant social presence with dull updates and no real engagement.

If you’ve been hesitant to really invest in these things for sales and marketing reasons, know that failure to do so is also affecting your recruiting.

Your blog should make you look like an industry leader. It should be full of high-quality pieces, with thought-provoking titles and real insights. And your company’s people should be quotes in other people’s blogs too.

Meanwhile, passive candidates are also going to go right to your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds to see what you’re all about. What are they going to see? Will they see the hot-up-and-coming firm you described?

If your last update was a picture from the company picnic 8 months ago, probably not.

Also, take this approach to your own website. Invest the time and effort it takes to create a meaningful:

  • About Us Section
  • Vision and Values Statement
  • Company Culture Videos

And dare to be different when creating these. If you’re saying the same thing as everyone else, your passive candidates are going to have a hard time seeing what better or different about you.

People remember recruiting videos that make them laugh, and Mission statements that say more than, “Blah blah blah client first blah blah exceed expectations, something something customer service.”

Company Culture

Like educated-buyers, passive candidates will look at online reviews and go completely Sherlock Holmes on you.  They will take a deep dive too. In fact, recently reported that they’re not just reading one or two online reviews. More like 5 or 6!

So take control of what people see when they look you up. Particularly if you’re expanding and plan to do a lot of hiring. Most companies take a passive approach with Glassdoor, and it hurts them.

Don’t just ask your current employees to leave glowing reviews, give them a reason to do it. Some companies are currently offering incentives like time off for good reviews.

Keep Your Glassdoor Clean

Only about 12% of the companies listed at Glassdoor actually interact with the site. And by interact, we mean actually sign up for a free account and write your own description, and add your photos. That’s good news for the companies that do.

You can also take it a step further with a paid account. This gives you the ability to boost your job ads and receiving detailed demographics on job seekers are looking you up.

Bonus tip: Also, let your employees tell you what will attract passive candidates. And ask them the best way to onboard them once they’ve been hired. What should be in the welcome package? How should we approach training?

Let Them Tell You What They Want / Need

Informational interviews will provide you with everything you need to convince them they can’t turn this opportunity down.

In this first meeting, you’re not even going to mention a job description. You will actually offer very little about the actual job. You’re just going to talk about the company as a whole, and then ask them about their career goals and frustrations.

Where do they want to go? What do they want to do? What frustrates them about their current job?

These are the questions you need answered to make a compelling case to passive candidates.

Lifestyle is more important than salary

Sure, more money could lure them away from a current job, but they’re actually more like to make a move for:

  • More freedom (set your own hours, work from home)
  • More creative control
  • More opportunity to grow and advance
  • Better benefits
  • More stability

Shopify is one of the world’s fastest growing companies, and a big part of their success is the way they hire passive candidates.

They start their list with people that their existing employees have recommended. Next, they will reach out to the best candidates for an informational interview, of sorts.

During this call or meeting, they will not mention the job or its description once. They just want to talk about you. They want to know what you want and what drives you.

Offer More, in the Right Places

Now that they’ve given you their goals and problems, make yourself the solution.

Instead of talking generally or offering nebulous promises, take the information they gave you to take a targeted approach. Don’t waste your time talking about salary, if they spent most of the informational interview talking about advancement.

You can even take what they’ve given you to frame the actual job description. If they’re frustrated with a lack of creative freedom you can say, “You’ll be the one spearheading the creative direction and make the decisions.”

You want passive candidates to imagine a better future when working for your organization. And to paint that picture you need to offer more than just the salary and the job description.

They need to see themselves in a better position in their lives. They may not even be thinking about this role. They may be thinking about the role they could be in at this company in 5 years.

Give Passive Candidates Job FOMO

It could be as simple as something like “This role may have a bit more responsibility or workload than you’re used to.” Just something that will now turn the switch in their brain to now selling you as to why they’re the best fit.

One of the most powerful sales techniques in any sector comes from FOMO, or fear of missing out. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a car or a job. Once you present a great opportunity and then add some doubt, people will fight to get it.

As you can see the process of recruiting passive candidates is not as simple as reaching out to them and making them an offer. People have hesitation and fears, you need to diffuse them.

People also have goals and dreams. You need to offer them.

What is your organization doing to recruit the best passive candidates? We can help! Ask us how by clicking here to get early access to MeetToby.