Insights

A Guide to Making Passive Hires

Posted by Reed Flesher

With the labor market tightening, passive hires are becoming more and more important in executive search. But by their very nature, passive candidates are not always easy to find and persuade to join your team.

Passive talent acquisition is often an area of struggle for in-house executive search teams compared to executive recruiters who have developed a variety of search methods. Fortunately, these methods can be learned and used by in-house search teams that want to improve their process.

Reputation Management

Most passive candidates already have a job, or don’t really need to have one. There’s almost no chance that a passive candidate will take an executive position at your company if it has a lousy reputation, so the first step to attracting passive candidates is to be sure that the company reputation is positive and to work on fixing it if it isn’t.

Asking for Referrals

Another way to find passive candidates is to use the resources around you to get referrals. Executive referrals may come from almost anywhere, but it is most effective to focus on referrals from your own C-suite and leadership. Another place to get referrals is from those you contact who don’t want to be candidates for your position but know others who may be interested.

Framing the Position

Passive candidates are not going to dump their current jobs and come on board with your company just because they feel like a change. Your team needs to frame the position you’re trying to fill in a way that’s so attractive that it convinces already-employed candidates to give it a shot. Specifically, the position needs to be shown as a career-building or career-advancing opportunity if you expect a great candidate to be willing to change jobs to come on board.

Another way to conceptualize this process is that executive search teams have to sell the position. Using sales techniques is not only a good idea, it’s essential to the executive search process when you need passive candidates.

Measuring Recruiting Performance

Team members doing the actual work of recruiting—making cold calls, researching possible candidates, and asking for referrals—need to be tracked and measured to see how they are doing. If the results are not encouraging, more training or help may be needed to get the process back on track. This process may take some time to yield results, but the day-to-day process of recruiting can’t be neglected if you expect to get a great candidate at the end of the process.

Pay Attention to User Experience

If you have a high number of candidates enter your recruiting process but only a few who remain engaged until the end, chances are your user experience leaves something to be desired. You want to make the process easy and pleasant for candidates, with a short application process and a lot of personal contact to keep them interested.

Search teams can use Thrive TRM to keep candidates engaged in several ways, including scheduling reminders to follow up, using the tool for instant communication among team members, and tracking referral success rates and other search metrics. Contact us for more ways Thrive TRM can help streamline and facilitate your in-house executive search process.

Essential Skills of Successful Executive Recruiters