Candidate-Driven Market Series: Recruiting Passive Candidates in a Strong Economy

For Employers

You may have heard the term “candidate-driven market” as it relates to today’s job market and strong economy. This phrase refers to the fact that candidates are in higher demand than usual, therefore recruiters and employers have to go the extra mile to attract the best talent. Candidates are now in the driver’s seat and have choices when it comes to employment, whereas in 2010 they may have taken a less desirable opportunity because any job was better than no job. It’s not just about what a candidate can offer your company anymore, but rather what you can offer a candidate.  In this post we’ll explain how you can tailor your approach to attract passive candidates in this competitive market.

Active vs. Passive Candidates

When it comes to filling an open position at your company, there are two types of candidates you can recruit- active and passive. Active candidates are those who are looking for a new job because they are a) seeking career growth b) unhappy in their current role or c) unemployed. Passive candidates are employed professionals who are not actively searching for a new career opportunity. However, they may still be open to a new position if the right opportunity presents itself. Passive candidates are often the most appealing to employers because their value is proven by the mere fact that they are already employed by another organization.

Passive candidates may be more attractive, but, can you convince them to leave their current job? Active candidates already want or need a new job, thus garnering interest requires much less persuasion. Passive candidates do not have the same sense of urgency, although they recognize that there is always room for improvement.

Employer Branding

There are several ways to make your company appealing to your audience. Having a strong employer brand is critical. You may already be on someone’s radar because of your stellar online presence, and this familiarity with your brand will be beneficial to the courting process. On the contrary, lack of commentary or negative remarks will certainly discourage talent from even beginning the conversation.

Casting Your Reel

Most initial correspondence with candidates these days is presented via email or LinkedIn. The way you craft your message and what you choose to include is important in catching the candidate’s attention. With more and more candidates being approached on social media by recruiters, how can you make your presentation stand out? Tailoring your message to the individual is key.  The time invested into creating a personal message supports your purpose, indicating that you truly believe that their specific skills and career path would be a match with the given opportunity. If you send a generic message with no relevant relationship to them or their expertise, candidates will be much less likely to respond. Be sure to discuss upward trajectory – such as increased responsibility, compensation and proximity to their home.

Reeling Them In

Once a candidate has responded to your message and would like to learn more about the opportunity, you now have the chance to build genuine excitement and interest. Yes, selling the specs and company perks is important, but a thoughtful method and approach is equally important. Sincere communication is essential to establishing trust and rapport. If people do not feel that you have their best interest at heart, then they will not accept the risk of pursuing a new opportunity.

Take an interest in all aspects of the candidate including their hobbies and personal life. Let them chat about their families and career goals, and reveal personal tidbits about yourself when appropriate. This will make the candidate feel like that are talking to a human being rather than a robot looking to fill another position. Use their name often in conversation. Take the time to make people feel important because they are!

Once you get down to brass tacks, salary tends to be the single most significant factor for a candidate considering a new job. Location, company culture, growth opportunities, development programs, and employee recognition are other variables that also influence a prospect’s desire. Take note of their motivation and aspirations, then modify your pitch accordingly. If you’ve learned from your conversations that a candidate is looking for a company culture that values communication and transparency, drive that point home more so than say, the benefits package.

Lastly, reassure confidentiality, alleviating any concern of jeopardizing their current employment. Passive candidates are rarely entertaining other offers. Always present the opportunity at hand with enthusiasm and the right person will match your excitement at the thought of joining a winning team.

At the end of the day, a passive candidate will only consider a new job opportunity if it is what’s best for them and their family. It is the role of the recruiter to not only share the whole story, but to also serve as a helpful resource offering guidance during interviews, salary negotiation and offer acceptance.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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