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The best talent doesn’t need to look for work. They will be found.

This premise applies to the 75 percent of fully employed LinkedIn members who are not actively job hunting. The percentage jumps to 90 in high-demand and business-critical positions.

You cannot hire passive candidates using a process designed to attract active job seekers. It requires an extra layer of salesmanship, finesse and networking.

Develop a “person description” instead of a job description.

The first step in attracting passive candidates is to define what a person will have to do in order to succeed in the role. The best talent will use this information to decide whether they are interested in considering your position as a potential career move.

  • Develop a career-needs analysis. If your vision meets their needs, then suggest an exploratory phone call with your recruiter or hiring manager so you can learn more.

Use a balance of online and face-to-face networking.

Landing passive candidates is about more than just scouting talent. The more people know about your organization, the more likely they are to pay attention when you reach out to them.

  • Utilize your best brand ambassadors: your current top performers. Establish a robust employee referral program. Even if some recommendations fall short, you will have greater insight into what your team members consider to be vital coworker qualities.
  • You can learn a lot about candidates through social media. Look at their work history and skill sets. Not only are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter great places to find background information, they also are useful for getting in touch with passive talent.
  • Use all your outlets. The most popular social networks are not necessarily where candidates spend the majority of their time online. Look at on- and offline associations, college career centers and platforms specific to your industry.

Build relationships.

Do not pitch passive candidates right off the bat. Start by building a personal connection. This is the foundation of a successful long-term relationship.

  • Warm them up before giving them a hard sell. Be patient and remember that they are not actively job hunting. Even if a candidate ultimately says no, you will have effectively grown your professional network.

Conduct performance-based interviews.

For those not seeking out a new job, making any type of change is a major decision. It takes extra time to weigh all their options.

  • Look for any gaps between your job description and what the person has actually accomplished in their career. You may touch on factors such as team sizes, scopes of responsibility, growth rates, visibility and overall impact. Mention these to the candidate as potential concerns, as well as areas for growth from their own perspective.
  • You will know you have successfully recruited a passive candidate when they try to convince you why they are qualified. They will begin to express interest in taking the next step in your hiring process.
  • Ask the right questions. Uncover hidden problems with the candidate’s current situation. Find their pain points and illustrate how they could be alleviated by accepting your offer.
  • Push them away only to further reel them in. After describing the job and hearing about their background, express an element of doubt that the candidate is fully qualified. Creating a challenge for your prospective hire flips the switch to make them the sellers and you the customer.

The executive search consultants at BrainWorks can help you attract top talent – including industry-leading passive candidates – through a strategy customized to your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more.


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