Unicorns, purple squirrels, white whales – or to say it without hyperbole – top passive talent is out there. But you’re not going to find and hire them by doing the same thing as everyone else or even the same thing you did yesterday. You have to keep iterating. Here are nearly 50 tips across many aspects of recruiting that can help you turn top passive talent into interested candidates.
1. Robust offers. Nothing makes people move quite like cash. If creating better economic opportunity is a competitive advantage for your offering, be upfront about it.
2. If not a competitive advantage, don’t bring up compensation until after they are sold on the opportunity.
3. Also, if starting salaries aren’t competitive, be sure to highlight a good benefits package and/or opportunity for advancement.
4. Don’t assume money is everything.
Turn your Employees into Recruiters
5. Offer a large employee referral bonus. We said it once and we’ll say it again: nothing makes people move quite like cash.
6. Offer referral bonuses others can see – like gigantic checks.
7. Make an internally public referral leaderboard to gamify the incentives of more referrals.
8. Encourage employees to talk about the openings at your company, and this means motivating them to share your open roles on social media too. The average Facebook user has 338 friends: multiply that amount by the number of employees in your company and you’ve just created an equation for reaching a lot of potential candidates.
9. Introduce people as often as possible, this will lead to others introducing you to more people as well.
10. Formally ask colleagues for introductions after browsing their network via LinkedIn.
11. Follow up with introductions in a timely matter – otherwise everyone’s efforts are put to waste.
Long-term Relationship Building
12. Conferences, conferences, conferences. Have meaningful conversations for the sake of conversations.
13. Always be building your social media network. Think of it as a daily cycle where you grow your network on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, i.e. friend, connect, and follow. Friend, connect, follow. Friend, connect, follow.
14. Establish a no poaching agreement with your top competitor so you’ll have to hire less by retaining top passive talent (just kidding, but Steve Jobs did it…)
Search for Online Stars
15. Find the online influencers, and engage with them. Influence can be measured by network size (i.e. followers) and engagement (such as retweets or likes per post). Show an appreciation for their work online by RT-ing or commenting on their work.
16. Use influencer marketing platforms to measure who is influential on what and befriend these stars.
17. Build a community around the interest you are hiring for so that you have an attentive, relevant audience to reach out to when open positions become available. Specifically, follow the advice in points 18 and 19.
18. Tweet and share content that passive talent you’re interested in would like.
19. Grow or buy relevant verticalized blogs or publications about the vertical you are hiring for.
20. Keep it brief, the candidate isn’t going to read an essay.
21. Write personalized messages.
22. Don’t be too sales-y… but be a sales-y enough that’s it clear you’re interested.
23. Don’t spam.
24. “Capture the person’s intrinsic motivator in your emails,” says Lou Adler.
25. Market how you give back to the community. Highlight your company’s corporate social initiatives – such as on company social. Karma goes a long way.
26. Know how to address the weak points about your brand online during an in-person meeting.
27. Get killer reviews and pictures on Glassdoor.
28. Post pictures of employees loving work, and they’ll share with their networks.
29. Retarget candidates who visit your in-depth topic specific pages. For example, if someone visits your API integrations page, they probably already like what you’re building.
30. Write better job descriptions. A well-written job ad will increase the percentage of people who view and actually apply. So when passive candidates do come across your job postings via employee referrals or social media, they’ll be more likely to send you their application.
31. Advertise in newsfeeds. i.e. if you’re hiring for Microsoft, considering buying Facebook ads targeted at people who like Apple and live in the area.
32. Advertise in email lists. Reaching out Sponsoring email lists to targeted communities can help you gain access to fresh faces.
Always Be Networking
33. The goal is to create a network that any company would be jealous to have as their talent pipeline.
34. Go to weekly meetups, monthly conferences, and other industry events. You never know where you’ll attract a passive candidate.
35. Encourage your team to do the same. Consider setting aside departmental budget for meetup tickets.
36. Plant that seed! Even if opportunity isn’t right now, let a candidate know they are in demand.
37. If the candidate says they are not looking for an opportunity, consider painting the picture anyway. You’ll sleep better at night knowing that if they walked away it wasn’t doing so without knowing of the opportunitywhat the opportunity was.
38. No matter what the event is, you’re at a competitive advantage when you get the prospective talent in the room.
39. Plant a recruiter at every event.
40. It can be as simple as scouring meetups and offering to buy people already having meetups pizza and beer.
41. It can be as complicated as sponsoring gigantic conferences.
42. Bonus tip: use this one at your own risk (it’s a slippery slope)… attend events sponsored by your competitors and poach from their candidate pool.
Guest Speaking, Thought Leading
43. Nothing says expertise like sitting on a panel, and passive candidates will be interested in working with experts in their field.
44. Encourage executives, managers, and C-level managers to write about their expertise online. Even help create guest posting opportunities. It’s good marketing and good recruiting.
45. Candidate databases are massive talent pools you cannot ignore. For example, MightyRecruiter’s resume database offers an up- to- date pool of 8+ million candidates.
46. Search the database for keywords and tags that match the job description and qualifications section. Evaluate the resume, and shortlist the candidates you want to meet.
47. Approach the outreaching messaging like a marketing and sales campaign. Know there is a natural rate of no replies. Depending on the importance of job and time available, you can either standardize or personalize the first message. Personalization will increase response rate dramatically. After the candidate replies, you should definitely personalize the follow-up message.
48. Remember, another candidate is always out there.
Lastly, don’t call recruiting passive candidates “poaching” because it’s dehumanizing.