Beyond Active vs. Passive: How Brands Like Dropbox Tap Into “Open Talent”

March 6, 2017

Veronica Velasco was open to a new job, but as a happily employed high-performer, she wasn’t actively looking—in fact, she was actually helping a friend job-hunt when she first spotted the post for her future position at Dropbox. Cooler than an “active” candidate, but warmer than a “passive” one, Veronica fell into a new category - one that we’re calling “open talent.” And she’s not alone: 90% of global professionals are open to new opportunities.

Open talent offers an ideal opportunity to move beyond the extremes of active and passive: the best talent often isn’t looking, and truly passive candidates can be difficult to engage. That’s why LinkedIn recently introduced three new features to help connect recruiters and “open” members: Apply Starters, Contractor Targeting, and Open Candidates.

Now, instead of being limited to active and passive, you can tap into a broader range of qualified candidates who fall somewhere in between. These features empower recruiters to prioritize outreach, build stronger pipelines, and make better hires faster.

To see LinkedIn’s new “open talent” tools in action, let’s take a look at how three companies are using them to find the right hires.

Dropbox found Veronica (and other top talent) thanks to Apply Starters

Veronica was helping a friend find a job, but when she saw an attractive opportunity at Dropbox, she decided to throw her own hat in the ring.

Here’s the cool part: Veronica never actually finished applying to Dropbox—she remembered she was supposed to be helping her friend job-hunt and abandoned her own application. But with Apply Starters, she was able to share her LinkedIn profile with Dropbox before completing an application.

That’s exactly where Kevin Nothnagel, Dropbox’s Sales Development Manager, found her. He was facing a challenge that hiring managers know all too well: he had to fill a role quickly, but wasn’t satisfied with the inbound candidates who had applied for the role within the short timeframe. “I was hoping to add someone to my team late last year, but I wasn’t having any luck,” he says. Deciding to expand his search beyond active candidates, Kevin looked into the new Apply Starters feature in LinkedIn Jobs, where he saw Veronica’s profile.

“I definitely wouldn’t have completed the application if Kevin hadn’t reached out,” Veronica says, adding, “I was happy where I was and wasn’t actively searching… I wouldn’t have left for anything less than an amazing opportunity.” Thanks to Apply Starters, that amazing opportunity found her after all.

Read more about Dropbox’s story

The Wellington Group sourced 20 quality contractor candidates in 2 weeks

Who recruits the recruiters? The Wellington Group does. The staffing firm specializes in referring HR and recruiting professionals for full-time positions and contract projects—but it’s the contractors that tend to pose the biggest sourcing challenge, as senior recruiter Molly Colsant knows well.

“Even though contracting is moving to the norm in the industry, there’s still a large group that think a permanent direct hire is the only way to go,” says Molly. Couple that challenge with exacting standards and breakneck turnaround times, and you’ve got a task that can feel insurmountable to even the most experienced firms.

Thankfully, LinkedIn Recruiter’s new Contractor Targeting feature has simplified Molly’s sourcing process, allowing her to go straight to candidates who are most likely to be open to contracting.

Similar to the Open Candidates feature, which allows members to silently signal to recruiters that they’re open to new opportunities, the new Contractor Targeting feature lets members show recruiters that they’re open to contracting work. By allowing candidates to ‘signal’ that they’re open to contract work on their profile, and combining that with insights from profile data, contractors are significantly easier to discover.

Combining the Open Candidates spotlight with the contractor sourcing filter, Molly was able to find 20 promising contractor candidates within just two weeks.

Read more

Equinix filled a “purple unicorn” role in record time

Electrical engineer Derrick Espinoza wasn’t actively looking for a new job. When he casually decided to share his profile with Equinix through the new Apply Starters feature, he couldn’t have known that within the month he would be their newest hire.

Customers rely on Equinix’s network of data centers as core infrastructure to their businesses. So when the company hires for the specialized technicians needed to maintain those servers in a highly-regulated industry, it’s no simple matter. The average turn-around to make a hire can often take months—but when senior recruiter Todd Frey turned to Apply Starters and found Derrick, he filled a critical role in record time.

“Recruiting quality candidates for a specialized role like Derrick’s is so much harder,” said Todd. “You’re looking for that purple unicorn.” He knows that without Apply Starters, Derrick could have been passed over, along with the 75% of candidates who abandon their applications.

“You don’t want to miss the perfect person just because they didn’t finish an application,” Todd says. “Now we know who demonstrated interest, and if they look promising, a recruiter can reach out and start a conversation.” He credits Apply Starters with giving him access to an even broader pool of quality talent that is changing the way his business hires for specialized roles.

Read more

Open talent has always offered the best of both worlds: the proven qualifications of passive candidates with the responsive interest of active candidates. Until now, the challenge has been accessing this valuable group. Fortunately, LinkedIn’s newest features for recruiters and candidates are bridging that gap.

  • Apply Starters enables you to reach the 75% of candidates who abandon applications—including stellar workers like Veronica and Derrick.

  • Contractor Targeting allows you refine your searches for candidates who have explicitly expressed interest in contract projects.

  • Open Candidates lets job-seekers secretly signal that they’re open to new opportunities.

“Open talent” is really nothing new—we just haven’t needed a word for it before because there wasn’t an easy way to actually do anything about it. With the release of these features, “open talent” will soon be on the lips of recruiters everywhere.

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