Passive candidates don’t look for a new job the same way active candidates do. The mistake made by many companies is they do not differentiate in their sourcing and hiring strategy. So if you have problems identifying real great talent to your organisation, one reason may be that you are using the wrong channels and tools. You are most likely using the wrong marketing mix when you recruit.
The typical blunder I see, companies try to approach passive candidates for top executive jobs by using the method applied for hiring non-executive active candidates.
If you struggle finding people by using the same method you have done for ten years, it may be time to change your strategy. In fact, it’s not “may” it is more likely “must”.
Active candidates are active. They are active in the job market because they are ready to make a move when the next interesting job comes along. Sometimes it may be just any job. People between jobs (unemployed), people who are bored with what they do or perhaps hate the boss or have conflicts with colleagues. There are all sorts of reasons why people want to make a move.
The active candidates have worked extensively with their CV and resume. There is so much material out there on what seems to work best when it comes to writing your personal ad (as your resume is supposed to be). Their resumes have been distributed like spam all over the place. Talk about throwing spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks. It’s also the active candidate who comes well prepared to the interview and who has learned how to best answer behavioural interview questions.
Passive candidates are passive in the job market. In other words, by definition, they are actually not in the job market at all. These “candidates” are happy with what they are doing. They are not looking for a job and are much more discriminating. There are many people who have not been in the market for a long time and have no resume. In a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: “at any point in time, just only 16% of all employees are actively looking for job.” So 84% of the workforce are passive candidates.
To reach this large group of untapped potential talent you will obviously not get them through advertising in the printed media or on the internet job boards. Remember, they are not looking to change jobs and do not go to the places where you have placed a job advertisement.
Calling your favourite data base recruitment company, hoping they can dig up some real great resumes from their data base, fails too. Remember, most passive candidates do not have a resume, but should they have one, it will for sure not have been sent through the doors of hundreds of recruitment agencies.
So what is the simple answer? In two words: personal contact! You need to know where the right candidates are working now. What are the companies and what are the names of the people you want to talk to? You need to find an intelligent way of approaching a person who already has a job with a value proposition that clearly proves why your grass is greener.
One of the many added values you get from working with executive search firms and headhunters is their experience in doing just that. Researching industries, mapping companies and their organisations, identifying names, cold calling out of the blue, but with a very professional script, that is the first small step in landing your next great candidate.