Passive recruiting is kind of like the darker, more mysterious sibling of active recruiting. Because it is so different from traditional recruiting and usually involves targeting people who don’t have a strong desire to be recruited, many HR professionals and leaders are confused about passive recruiting and how it can help them fill job positions. Making passive recruiting work for your organization is very possible, but to do so you need to understand why it works and how it is done most effectively. Using social media channels and forums to start conversations can be an effective method. Passive recruiting can be as simple as getting to know someone new on Twitter or discovering someone’s blog content and commenting. Relationships, conversation (and eventually metrics of course) are always the goal of this style of recruiting.
Why Passive Recruiting Matters
Surveys have shown that over 93% of the top performers in their field do not find their job from a job posting; instead, they are referred by someone they know, such as a friend or networking contact. HR Consultant Jennifer Millman says that passive talent is more likely to want to make an impact in their workplace and less likely to need skill development, meaning they have both the desire and ability to get up and running quickly.
Knowing the benefits of passive talent is great, but to realize these benefits, companies still must overcome the challenge of making passive recruiting part of your regular strategy. How is this done? By examining a few key metrics of passive recruiting, and then understanding how to incorporate these metrics into your recruiting and branding process.
How To Make Passive Recruiting Work
Passive recruiting may not offer an opportunity to flex your company’s muscles of persuasion as frequently as active recruiting, but there is still a process that can be tailored to fit the needs of your company. Hiring expert Lou Adler says that the two key elements of coming up with a passive recruiting strategy are finding out how the best candidates get their positions and then finding out how the best recruiters find and hire those candidates.
You already know that a big majority of quality performers find their positions from referrals. Think about your industry and the specific kind of candidate you are looking to hire. Ask yourself which passive channels these candidates might be using to secure new employment; are they more likely to keep their inquiries to friends and family members, or will they be trying to market themselves to all their professional contacts?
The second part of Adler’s equation for passive recruiting success involves recruiters. Whether you are using in-house recruiters or outsourcing this work, it is important that you have the help of recruiters with the right abilities. Your recruiters should know how to use their network to find passive candidates, but they should also know how to present your job opening to them. Dealing with passive candidates requires a specific kind of approach that is not overly aggressive yet still sufficiently conveys the benefits of the position.
The Final Word On Passive Recruiting
People who aren’t looking for a job at your company are often some of the most qualified candidates. Passive recruiting to target these prospects can sometimes be scary, since it involves unknown factors and usually requires a more refined approach to recruiting. By breaking down the methods by which passive candidates are hired and the places they are found, your company can succeed in making passive recruiting work to fill your roles with high performers. Recruiting is still about building trust and strong relationships. Start with conversation and the rest may just follow.
A version of this was first posted on Forbes.