Passive Talent Is Hiding in Plain Sight: Here’s How to Find It4 min read

November 26, 2018 Talent Acquisition

Recruiters may be tempted to focus their energy on finding and nurturing active talent, but the large pool of passive talent offers some of the greatest potential. Try these recruitment tactics to unearth passive talent you might be overlooking.

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With historically low unemployment, it’s no surprise that most recruiters believe they’re operating in a candidate-driven market. One report finds that a recruiter’s primary concern is being able to attract top talent in the first place, making it clear that a strategy to keep talent pipelines full of high-quality candidates is essential to keeping your business prepared for any hiring need.

That’s why keeping stock of passive talent — that is, a candidate that’s presently employed and not seeking a new opportunity — is crucial to your recruitment strategy. By pursuing top-shelf talent already gainfully employed at another organization, you can find a wealth of candidates that might be ready to take a new step in their career.

These candidates aren’t hiding from you: they’re operating in plain sight, one click away from their next opportunity. Here’s a look at some easy places to find the passive talent right under your nose:

Passive talent on social media

Friend requests, status updates and endless push notifications might drive you mad, but there’s a reason users — and recruiters — stay engaged on social media: everyone lives online.

It’s no wonder that research from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that 82% of organizations use social media specifically to recruit passive talent. When every friend or member of a professional network is connected to everyone else, recruiters are only a few degrees away from finding passive talent that could make a perfect fit for their company.

Passive talent recruitment strategy #1: Determine your upcoming hiring needs and browse your social media accounts to find interesting and engaging personalities, and reach out with a friend request or private message to introduce yourself and your organization.

Passive talent through referrals

Your employees aren’t just responsible for keeping the business running—they’re an incredible resource for their own network of friends and professional colleagues. In 2016, research from SHRM pointed to 45% of internal hires and 30% of overall hires stemming directly from employee referrals. Tapping into your employees’ networks turns your existing team members into referral machines, acting as evangelists who can speak to the benefits and culture your workplace has to offer.

Passive talent recruitment strategy #2:

Using employee referrals software, launch an employee referrals program that incentivizes your workforce to recommend their brightest stars for positions at your company.

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Passive talent on the web

Top talent doesn’t just live on social media: they participate in online competitions, contests and discussions. Passionate and engaged graphic designers or software engineers enjoy sharing their research or work through YouTube tutorials or shared presentation sites like Slideshare, illustrating their mastery in any given field. These passive candidates are already advertising their expertise and passion for their subject matter — why not take advantage of it?

Passive talent recruitment strategy #3: Browse professional learning sites, online forums or technical communities like Github to identify top passive talent, and extend an introduction to engaged community members to connect.

Passive talent from active talent

From existing colleagues to professional references, candidates actively engaged in finding work with your organization have many connections they may be willing to share.

Talent guru Dr. John Sullivan’s “25 names approach” suggests taking advantage of these additional connections. In interviews with active candidates, calls with references or meetings with new hires, Dr. Sullivan recommends asking for the names of the best employees at their organizations — and, with permission, reaching out to them. It’s a simple way use one active candidate to fill a pipeline with 25 passive candidates.

Passive talent recruitment strategy #4: Ask your active candidates to name their current organization’s top performers and add them to your passive talent pipeline.

Get more tips on filling your passive candidate pipeline.

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