10 Ideas for Effectively Recruiting Passive Candidates

June 10, 2015

I’m on a kick to come up with 10 ideas to solve any problem. I was reintroduced to this brainstorming technique by James and Claudia Altucher who come up with 10 ideas every 10 minutes.

The other day I was reading LinkedIn’s recent Global Talent Trends 2015, which outlines how candidates want to be recruited and how they view the recruiting process. The report spurred me to come up with 10 takeaways based on what I have read, followed by 10 ideas about how to successfully recruit passive candidates.
Here they are:

Adler’s 10 Takeaways from LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2015

  • For all but the critical jobs, 75% of the people you want to hire aren’t looking -- they are passive candidates..
  • For critical jobs, 95% of the people you want to hire aren’t looking.
  • A lot of people look for jobs, but most don’t apply.
  • For your jobs, most of the people you want to hire won’t find you even if they are looking.
  • Even if the people you want to hire find your job posting, they won’t apply because the description is boring, demeaning and represents a lateral transfer, nor a career move.
  • The best people you want to hire are all highly satisfied with what they’re doing now so you have to push and pull them out.
  • The best people find jobs everywhere – job boards, connections with former co-workers and involvement in professional networks.
  • Just about everybody will talk with a good recruiter.
  • Most recruiters and candidates talk about the wrong thing when they first talk.
  • When you contact people matters. Most people will talk with recruiters on Monday through Wednesday, but few will talk with them on Thursday or Friday or over the weekend.

10 Ideas for Converting LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2015 Findings into Action

1. Write better job postings.

Dump the skills and must-haves. They are not legally required. Instead tell compelling stories emphasizing what the person will learn, do and become if successful.

2. Capture the person’s intrinsic motivator in your emails.

First ask the best people who took a comparable job why they took it. Then capture this theme in the subject line of your email. In this HR VP email the motivator was to get a seat at the strategic table.

3. Personalize the email.

Prepare an ideal candidate persona and capture a few points that highlight why a person would be willing to have a career discussion.

4. Design a bigger apply button.

In this post I suggested the your company’s apply button should be easier to find but harder to push. The idea is to slow down and sell the career discussion, not the job.

5. Control the conversation.

Rather than filtering on compensation, start by saying, “Let’s hold off on discussing compensation until we see if the job represents a career move. If it does, we can then see if the compensation fits.”

6. Talk to people when they don’t want to talk to recruiters.

Try to contact candidates on Thursday through Sunday because most recruiters won’t even make the attempt then.

7. Be a networker not a cold-caller.

Getting referrals is the best way to improve quality of hire. Passive candidates are willing to have career discussions with recruiters who have gotten their names from someone they know. Set a goal of having these referrals represent at least 50% of the people you present to your hiring managers.

8. Sell more growth and satisfaction, not more money.

Using the job-seekers decision grid to figure out what motivates your candidate to excel. Then find out if there any roadblocks at their current job that’s impeding their progress. If you can overcome them use these to get the person interested in continuing the conversation.

9. Design a bigger target.

Dump the individual job posting. Instead cluster all you job posting under one big heading like, “People who want to help design the new VR app for the iPhone 7.” Make this a separate one-page SEO’d microsite and push it to relevant groups using social media. Rather than applying, ask people to summarize their most relevant accomplishments in a two-minute video.

10. Get your hiring managers 100% involved.

While all of these ideas will help generate a bigger pool of more qualified passive candidates, you won’t hire any if your hiring managers aren’t fully engaged. So start implementing this idea first.

You could have figured out all of these things by talking to the 10 best people your company has hired in the last few months. Just ask them how they found the job, how satisfied they were with their previous jobs, how long the process took, what they discussed at each step and why they accepted your company’s offer. Then write a blog post about what you found. Summarize these in a YouTube video. (Send me the link.)

Bottom line: Recruiters and hiring managers need to personally understand why passive candidates change jobs before you can recruit and hire passive candidates.

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