Within any company, every hire has the potential to influence a business in either a profoundly positive or damaging way. So it's essential that you are finding the "A Players" that are going to engage in your business and drive your company's strategy forward. According to a recent study, 51% of employees are not actively looking for a new job but would consider a switch if the opportunity arose.
So, how do you find these hard-to-reach, passive candidates when they aren't applying for your jobs? Here are 5 tips and tricks for hiring passive candidates.
1. LinkedIn and Boolean Search
Most recruiters have turned to LinkedIn, so how do they find the right candidates? Boolean searches combine keywords with operators that produce the most relevant search results to help you weed through irrelevant candidates. Boolean searches can be used in any candidate database, not just LinkedIn.
If you want to search for an exact phrase, put everything within quotation marks, for example "Account Executive." You can also use additional modifiers with quotation marks if you are looking for a combination of skill sets or job titles.
If you are looking for multiple terms within a candidate use 'AND' in between those terms and the search results will yield those results. For example, "Account Executive" AND "Inside Sales" will yield candidates that have both exact phrases in their profile or resume.
Similar job functions are often referred to as different job titles, so if you would like to broaden your search to include multiple key terms, you can use 'OR'. If I am recruiting for a sales candidate, I might use "Account Executive" OR "Acct Exec" OR "Sales Executive" to find multiple candidates that are relevant to my search.
When you are looking to cut your time-to-hire in half, the 'NOT' results are almost as important as the 'ANDs' and 'ORs'. If you have identified certain key terms that produce undesirable results, exclude those key terms from your search. For example, I might use "Account Executive" NOT "Director" as a way to identify individual contributors.
Once you have mastered the Quotes, 'ANDs', 'ORs', and 'NOTs', you can use parentheticals to develop complex candidate searches. For example "Account Executive" AND (Salesforce OR Sage) would help me find sales candidates that have Salesforce or Sage in their profile.
2. Know Your Competitors
When it comes to finding and retaining your top talent, it is just as important to know your local employment competitors as it is to know your business competitors. You can use multiple sources to research your employment competitors. At Business.com, we are looking for candidates that have experience in digital media, so I will typically research companies on Google and LinkedIn that are in the digital media space.
Most major metropolitan areas also have local "Best Places to Work" awards where you can easily get a list of the companies in your area that were voted by their own employees as best places to work. Once you have identified companies in your area that would employ the type of talent you are seeking, you can combine those Boolean Search Tips to quickly identify your passive talent.
3. Passive Recruiting is a Form of Sales
Develop a target list and craft personalized LinkedIn messages or emails for each candidate. I highly recommend upgrading your LinkedIn profile to at least the Talent Finder level which allows you to send up to 25 messages to people you aren't connected to. Remember, because you are reaching out to passive candidates that did not apply for your position, you'll need to use persuasive language that entices the candidate to take time out of their day to set up an initial call with you.
I suggest providing a short, high-level overview of the company, no more than one or two sentences. Flattery goes a long way; tell the candidate why you believe they could be a great fit. Lastly, you want to close with a statement on why this opportunity is better than their current position and suggest a time for an initial call.
4. Always Sell Your Company
Once you get this passive candidate on the phone, you can't expect to run a phone screening the same way you do for an active candidate; after all, you sought them out! Be prepared to sell your company. You will want to give a high-level overview of your company, culture, and the available position. You then want to find out why this passive candidate was open to taking a call in the first place.
This portion of the conversation will likely unlock a lot of questions and lead you through the rest of your initial call. Even if you discover the candidate might not be a good fit for this particular role today, you still always want the candidate to want to work here. Most industries are relatively small, and you never know who someone may be connected to, so you always want to leave a positive lasting impression.
5. Be Involved in the Industry
It is important for candidates to know who you are and your company's mission statement. A great way to gain this visibility is by hosting or sponsoring meetups at your office, or attending industry networking events. This is something you need to continually do, not just when you have open positions. Attending and participating in these networking events will keep your company recognizable when you are reaching out to those passive candidates or top of mind when talent actively seeks new employment.
Finding those hard-to-reach, "A Players" is a lot easier when you prepare yourself with an outreach strategy. So, take advantage of these 5 recruiting tips and go find those "A Players" you need to drive your business forward.
About the Author: Juan Koss is a business coach and researcher of Do My Writing. He writes on topics such as small business marketing strategies, human resources related best practices and customer service.