Keith Johnstone Peak Sales RecruitingBy Keith Johnstone, Head of Marketing at Peak Sales Recruiting 

In LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report nearly 85% of talent leaders said that finding top talent is their number one priority. However, with five-percent unemployment, shrinking talent pools, and 95% of executives admitting to making bad hires every year, getting strategic hires right is only getting harder.

With arguably the fiercest competition over talent in more than a decade, it is more important than ever for human resource leaders to pursue candidates that are not actively “looking” but open to “listening.”  These passive job seekers make up approximately 75% of the workforce, but convincing them to ‘jump ship’ can be a challenge.

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Too often, even the savviest Fortune 500 companies lack a coherent strategy to pursue passive candidates.  Instead, they sift through incoming resumes from candidates who are unemployed or always looking to move. While is it unfair to generalize, these are less likely to be the best performers.

Peak Sales Recruiting has worked extensively with world-class companies on this issue and have developed 4 ways to get passive job seekers to jump ship:

1)      Become a ‘Best Place to Work’ and Promote It Proudly: Glassdoor reported that 84% of employees would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation.  Money is not the end all be all that it once was.  Candidates of today seek career opportunities, compensation & benefits, culture & values, senior management and work-life balance.  In the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends study, nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience as very important or important.

Top companies such as Bain & Co., Google and Facebook offers perks such as free meals, onsite gyms, massages, free laundry services and generous parental leave. Moreover, Glassdoor Community Expert Scott Dobroski recently said, “We see employees talking favorably about working for companies with mission-driven company cultures, working for senior leaders who embrace and practice transparency, and doing interesting work that has a greater impact, career growth opportunities, and competitive pay.” 

Wise business leaders adopt these philosophies and policies because employees become their biggest brand ambassadors. In addition to that organic positive publicity, submit applications for the “Best Places to Work” lists offered by most publications.  These are now offered by most national publications as well as local business journals.

2)      Make Your Application Process Seamless and Optimized:  Unemployed candidates have one job and that is to apply for jobs.  Passive job seekers on the other hand have a never-ending to do list.  If they happen to stumble across your job ad, it is critical that you make the application process as seamless as possible or they are likely to abort the mission. Follow the lead of emerging SaaS organizations that offer one-click apply options, or Facebook and Netflix who allow you to simply upload your resume and cover letter with a couple of clicks. A laborious online application process will severely hinder your ability to score a passive job seeker.  

In addition to speed, your application process must be optimized for any device. A survey from Glassdoor revealed that 9 out of 10 job seekers are job hunting on mobile. A Global Web Index (GWI) study found that on average people own 3.64 connected devices each. Passive job seekers, who may only have a few minutes to browse career opportunities, must be able to apply on the go on any device.

3)      Use a Third-Party Recruiter to Avoid a Poaching War: Using a third-party recruiter is the best way to approach passive candidates without starting a poaching war. While some leaders believe that lateral recruitment is controversial, many believe poaching from a competitor is ethically sound and a smart business move. Just as companies compete for clients, they need to be prepared to compete for top employees too.   

Zappos, the popular online shoe and clothing shop, prides itself on recruiting passive candidates. “Everyone is really struggling for technology people,” says Christa Foley, Senior HR Manager at Zappos. “When we’re competing from a tech candidate standpoint with the Bay Area and Seattle and Austin … we definitely have to seek passive candidates for those roles.”

4)      Use Social Media to Network: When Mark Zuckerberg first launched Facemash, the “hot or not” predecessor to Facebook, it is doubtful he was thinking of job recruiting but the evolution of social media has made scouting out potential candidates invariably easier.  The number one reason HR professionals use social media is to recruit passive candidates per a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).  

Consider using multiple channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition to sending cold messages — which is absolutely fine — so long as they are targeted and individually customized — join groups relevant to your industry and share content that will contribute and elevate the discourse.  This will make A-Players more likely to hear your pitch and may even drive them come to you. 

In 2017, having a best-in-class recruiting program is no longer optional, it is critical to the success of your organization. In the current climate, having a robust strategy to target passive candidates is more important than ever and the tips above will help put you on a path to success.  

About Keith Johnstone:

Keith Johnstone is the Head of Marketing at Peak Sales Recruiting, a B2B sales recruiting company launched in 2006.  Keith leads all marketing activities and has successfully grown revenue and lead volume every quarter. He plays a key role in driving Peak Sales Recruiting which leads the industry with a success rate 50% higher than the industry average, working with a wide-range of clients including boutique, mid-size and world-class companies including P&G, Gartner, Deloitte, Merck, Taser and others.
Follow @KJ_Peak

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