In a talent scarce market, finding candidates to fill roles is challenging and for highly specialised and technical roles it is not an exaggeration to say that talent pools are running dry. Furthermore, it is highly likely that the person you are looking for, the “ideal” candidate, is already happily employed and not actively in the job market. So, what do you do to attract and recruit passive candidates?

Firstly, a definition. A passive candidate is someone who is not actively in the job market. They are not applying for roles and in fact are not searching for new opportunities. However, their experience, skills, qualifications and/or attributes make them attractive for a particular role. Passive candidates typically have in-demand skills which make them highly desirable and often they may be frequently receiving job “pitches” from employers and recruiters.

First impressions count

If you have managed to ignite the interest of a passive candidate who is potentially a great fit for a role, time is of the essence. In a talent scarce market there is obvious benefit in running a timely and efficient recruitment process. With a passive candidate there are added challenges in that if they are a superstar then chances are they are also being contacted for other roles plus once you have managed to convert them to the idea of making a change they may start to look more broadly. Even more importantly however is what your recruitment process says about your organisation. We are not suggesting you skip vital assessment steps in the recruitment process but consider how you might fine-tune or innovate your existing process.

Does money matter?

Compensation is typically a major motivator for passive candidates to consider putting their hand up for a role. However, be aware that if money is the primary motivator, then you are also competing against a counteroffer from their existing employer. At the end of the day, people want to feel valued for what they bring to a role, a competitive remuneration package is part of this but what you really need to understand is what are those other factors that could motivate a person to change roles, think in terms of career growth, workplace culture, flexible working, prioritising work life balance. What makes your employee value proposition different?

Understand their why

People decide to change roles for any number of reasons. Understanding what would motivate a passive candidate to take on a role within your business can help in the way you “pitch” the opportunity to them. We are not talking about a slick sales approach with promises far beyond reality but being clear on the value proposition you are offering in a way that resonates with the individual’s circumstances. If on paper you know the role could be viewed as a downwards step, then perhaps the remuneration and benefits package needs to compensate. Or, if you are asking the person to take a sideways move, then maybe the future opportunity and potential growth for the person is the key selling point. For c-suite level executives, the opportunity to one day genuinely be considered for the top role can be very enticing. Candidates are increasingly looking for a role with purpose, so if there is something special about your organisation then now is the time to shout it from the rooftop.

Where are they?

As the name suggests, passive candidates are not going to respond to a role vacancy advert. Attracting passive candidates requires more active recruiting. Your internal HR team can help with candidate sourcing however the best way to reach passive candidates is by benefiting from the established networks and connections of an external recruitment consultancy. The value recruiters bring to the table is that it is their job to build relationships and talent pools within the market in which they operate. A good recruitment consultancy can broaden your candidate pool in a way you never thought possible.

Plan for the long-game

There is no quick fix to talent shortages and with the ongoing uncertainty of a global pandemic organisations need to ensure they have robust and well thought out talent attraction and retention strategies. And that includes growing talent pools from inside your business rather than solely relying on the external job market. This is applicable for all levels; if you have a structured high potentials programme and are actively growing and developing your people there is no reason why your next CEO cannot be already in your business.

Need help?

Are you experiencing weak applicant pools, uncommitted candidates or worse, hiring the wrong people? If you need help with recruitment in a candidate-scarce market, then contact us today.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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