There can be no doubt that some of the most qualified people for your current open positions are already employed elsewhere and are not actively looking to change employers. Just because they are not actively looking, however, does not mean they would not be willing to come work for you if you could find them and make them an “offer they could not refuse.”

Here are some steps to activate passive candidates for your open positions.

1. Attend conferences and networking events.

A large part of passive recruiting is to get to know a lot of people in your field. It is nearly impossible to identify passive candidates you might be able to reach out to if you do not have a way of getting to know them. You may already be attending some of these events, so being more social should not be too much of a stretch.

When you do networking and have open positions to fill, LinkedIn influencer Lou Adler advises hiring staff to focus on the top 25 percent of performers by asking top performers you know for the name of the best person they know who works in a position similar to the one you need to fill. Top performers tend to know who other top performers are, and this question will yield information about passive candidates with whom you can follow up.

eBook: How to Attract Top Talent Using Inbound RecruitingFind out how to harness the power of an inbound recruiting strategy in order to attract, hire, and retain top talent.

2. Tweak your referral program now. 

Referral programs are tremendously successful at finding quality candidates, so put yours to its best use by rewarding referral sources for successful new hires and making sure to encourage people to refer even candidates who might not be looking for a new job currently.

3. Talk about the opportunity first, not your needs. 

Someone who is currently employed needs to see changing jobs as a personal opportunity, rather than hear about your company’s needs first. Talking about how “great” the job is without being specific about the benefits to the passive candidate will not be very persuasive in convincing him or her to come work for you.

4. Define benefits other than compensation.

Some passive candidates jump fairly quickly to compensation, but Adler advises asking candidates to discuss the job first before addressing the pay. If the job can offer a 30 percent better experience in impact, job satisfaction, and growth opportunities, it may be a draw even if the compensation you are offering is not significantly better than the candidate’s current compensation package.

5. Ask-discuss-network, in that order.

Determining possible interest is the first step in any contact with passive candidates. Adler suggests asking if the candidate is interested in a brief conversation if an open position presents a clear opportunity for him or her, and mentioning the referring person with whom you talked. Then ask questions to determine the level of interest and discuss the position. If the candidate indicates that he or she is not interested, you can then network by asking for referrals.

In this way, you can get a steady stream of referrals until you find one or more viable passive candidates to hire. ThriveTRM is an effective way to track and share information about all your candidates right up through the hiring process and beyond. Contact us to find out more about what we can do to help your company hire the right candidates.

Inbound Recruiting