How to Attract Passive Candidates in a Tight Job Market

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 3.14.30 PMBy Tom Gilman for the Cincinnati Business Courier

As unemployment has stayed at relatively low levels and the labor market has continued to tighten, talent is in demand and the job market is now dominated by passive job seekers - those who aren't actively pursuing a new opportunity. The shift from active to passive job candidates means companies have to think differently about recruiting and take new approaches to attracting the employees they need. Here are just a few ways organizations and leaders can attract passive job seekers:

  1. Always be on the lookout for talent- Everyone you meet is a potential employee, and HR leaders aren't the only ones who should recruit. Keep a hiring mindset when networking, volunteering or attending social functions. If you don't have an employee referral program, think about establishing one.
  2. Spend time on the job profile before you begin recruiting- Understand specifically what characteristics you need and define what success will look like. There is no perfect candidate, so having a profile will make the evaluation process easier.
  3. Begin recruiting from the start- Passive candidates need to be persuaded to make the leap to your organization. Be prepared to clearly articulate what sets your company apart and be able to sell your value proposition.
  4. Demonstrate growth opportunities- Most job candidates don't take a new position only because of money and few will accept a lateral move. They're looking for potential growth and new challenges. Be sure to highlight the opportunities your position offers and how the individual could impact your organization, industry and/or community.
  5. Understand the market compensation for the position- Salaries have increased in recent months and it's important to be able to present a competitive offer.
  6. Work to impress- Talent has options, especially in a tight job market, and candidates are interviewing your organization as much as you're interviewing them. Work to impress throughout the hiring process by being responsive and moving quickly.
  7. Engage on social media- Passive candidates might not be scanning job boards, but you're likely to catch their attention on social media. Encourage current employees, including senior leadership, to engage professionally on networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to increase exposure for your organization and establish expertise.

With fewer prospective employees on the market, it's important to remember there is no perfect candidate. Hire the best person available today and do it quickly or you risk missing out.


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