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How to Hire People Who Aren’t Job Hunting

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By Cara Barone, Business2Community.com
Special to Online Career Tips

Job candidates are often referred to as active or passive – either looking or not looking for a job. Seventy-nine percent of professionals around the world are passive talent, which means that if you’re not actively recruiting passive candidates, you’re missing a huge number of talented potential employees.

According to LinkedIn, passive candidates are 120 percent more likely to want to make an impact, 33 percent more likely to want challenging work and 56 percent more likely to seek a comfortable corporate culture. They’re driven and talented, and they can have a tremendous impact on your business. But if they’re not looking for a job, how do you get them to take your recruitment pitch seriously?

Sell It

We know that passive candidates tend to be bright, creative people who want challenging work. Your recruitment pitch should meet the expectations of those people. As a recruiter, you need to be able to speak intelligently and persuasively on your target’s industry. Your job listing should be compelling and organized, not uninspiring. Your company website should clearly show the strength of your company culture. Without an irresistible narrative, your pitch is dead on arrival.

Don’t Be Passive

Your dream job candidate may be passive, but obviously you have to be active about pursuing them. This means more than just getting in touch and pitching them on a position with your company. Social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn have given recruiters unprecedented communication access to potential hires. While both are good way to alert employed candidates of a position, they are a better way to join meaningful conversations with target candidates.  Identify a handful of candidates and work to connect with them on about industry issues before broaching the subject of potential employment.

Don’t Take the Shotgun Approach

For many people, it will be a compliment to be pursued by a recruiter, but a personal approach is important. As a hiring manager, you can spot a canned cover letter and resume from a mile away. Seasoned talent will ignore a pre-packaged recruitment pitch out of hand. Do your homework and give your target a few reasons why they, specifically, would be a good fit for the job.

Put Your Candidate in a Good Position to Respond

Even candidates who are actively looking for a new position need to be careful about advertising their job search. Passive targets will probably not appreciate a recruitment pitch directly to their work email account or a call that is routed to them through the reception desk. Discussing a potential job while sitting in a cubicle could put the candidate in an uncomfortable position. Connecting to a prospective candidate through private email, LinkedIn or Twitter puts them in a position to respond safely.

Be Flexible

Pursuing employed candidates requires a flexibility that isn’t necessary when interviewing unemployed, or even active, job candidates. Once you have their attention, it’s important to accommodate the schedule and needs of a passive candidate. A potential job may not hold the same leverage over a passive candidate, so be ready to work around their schedule.

Involve Your Team

Employee referrals consistently produce the highest volume and highest quality of new hires, leading to higher employee retention productivity. Leverage the connections of your best employees to identify and connect with top-tier talent. Referral recruiting is often less expensive and can significantly cut down the length of the recruiting process.

Build a Relationship

Your target will need some compelling reasons to leave a secure, satisfying job, and it can be difficult to deliver those reasons in a 5-10 minute cold call. Rather than immediately jumping to a job description and a possible salary, arrange to discuss possible career opportunities at a convenient time. Introduce your target to your company and help them build a potential career. This is especially important for employees who have been with their current company for a few years. While it’s natural for recruiters to want to move quickly, leaving a secure job in the current economy is no easy decision.

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