Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Recruitment Strategy Development – The Elusive Passive Candidate

As a contract recruitment consulting professional, I listen to companies when they say they are looking for the elusive passive candidate. When I ask them how they plan to attract that person, generally they reply that they want to post a job where they will respond. They then ask where I suggest they post the position. My sense is they have conflicting goals.

Quite possibly my definition of a passive candidate is different than theirs. I define a passive candidate as one who is successful in their field and believe they are happy. Therefore they are not looking on posting sites. They are spending that time making impacts in their own companies.

Therefore, how do you attract passive candidates? If they think they are happy, and are not looking at posting sites, the seasoned professionals probably are not even on LinkedIn. I just contacted one of those today. I’ve known her for years and had to hunt for her. She does not participate in social media sites. “Why should I? I’m happy!” was her response.

Therefore finding passive candidates requires someone who understands, accepts, and practices “Recruiting Is Sales”. Sourcing these candidates is not easy. It requires someone who is creative and probably has a little detective in them.

What is a potential strategy to identify and recruit truly passive candidates? As a recruitment consultant, I recommend that we begin by finding out where they hang out. Hanging out may be physically or virtually. Now maybe you can understand the detective reference.

Generally if you are searching for people with specific skills, that means that you have people with those skills working with or for you. Ask them where the passive candidates of that field hang out. If they claim not to know (they know), ask what associations they belong to. What conferences do they attend? What school typically graduates that person?

Ask your manager in that area, what companies they prefer to see people with that experience. It’s also a good idea to ask which companies they do not want to see candidates – and why? It helps you focus. I also ask what the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month goals are for the position. The skills required to be successful become crystal clear.

How do you approach the passive candidate? Follow my articles for the next segment.