There are multiple ways to source and engage passive candidates:
- Predictive analytics vendors, such as Leoforce and Engage, that analyze the job fitness of social
profiles, and help determine those that might be willing to change jobs.
- Participation in online talent or news communities, such as Techmeme, and HackerNews, or creation of your own.
What’s a talent community? BraveNewTalent strategy director Master Burnett defines it as “a group of people that share an affinity for an organization, profession or skill that connect, share opinions, exchange information, and collaborate using web tools”
Prominent business network LinkedIn recently introduced Open Candidate. This feature allows any employed LinkedIn member to quietly indicate that she or he is open to new opportunities, without alerting the current employer.
While LinkedIn is generally top-of-mind for employers and recruiters who want to reach passive candidates, Facebook is exceedingly important as well. On Facebook, 67 percent of job seekers research prospective employers and search for openings. Also notable is that only 54 percent of competitor employers are searching for candidates there (as opposed to 93 percent using LinkedIn.)
Others to consider: Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora, Digg, Instagram, and Snapchat.
- Teaching free on-site or virtual classes. This might be through a local university or community college’s Continuing Education program, online via teaching platforms such as Udemy or Skillshare, or even as a special event for local high school students.
In the Complete Guide to Attracting Passive Candidates, TransTech IT Staffing Sr. Technical Recruiter Shilpi Agarwal Basu, talked about connecting with passive technical candidates by way of content sharing.
“I track all the latest market trends,” she wrote. “If I meet a Data Analyst, I share articles with the latest Hadoop and big data news. If I meet a UX Designer, I share articles about the latest design methods. Most appreciate the information and the thought, helping to build the foundation for a bond.”
TransTech colleague Emily Adams offered tips on social networking for recruiting passive candidates.
“Sending out job ads is not enough,” Adams said. “I post original TransTech content or articles I find online that are relevant to IT and career search, sharing them with my network and prospects. The goal with that is to show I’m not just asking for people to help me. I want us to be able to help each other.”
Long-time recruiter and former Sungevity VP A.J. Mizes doubled the size of his solar energy firm by luring and hiring 45 employees in 30 days. He found that sourcing passive candidates had to include smart company branding.
“Employer branding is freaking huge,” Mizes told Technical Recruiting Best Practices conference attendees. “We get a ton of comments based upon [Sungevity’s day-in-the-life] video. We hired a video company to come out and interview employees, asking them ‘Why do you like working here? Why is it unique?’ Every applicant tells us, ‘I watched your video and it was so cool.’”
Both technical skills assessment platforms and ongoing engagement of passive candidates represent a much-needed attitude change for recruiters and hiring managers. Post-and-pray, the traditional method of one-time searching for job candidates by posting a job notice, hiring, and then discarding other applicants, is no longer a workable option.
“Don’t ghost anyone,” CodeSignals recruiters warned in their Definitive Guide to Skills Based Recruiting. “The candidate who isn’t right for your company might know several others who are … Sharing actionable feedback with them helps them retain positive opinions of your company.”
As the number of unfilled technical jobs increase, the need for quick, efficient hiring methods will increase as well. Machine-based technical skills assessment tools and ongoing engagement with passive candidates will be the two best tools in a technical recruiter’s tool box.