There are many ways to target passive candidates, but if you activate the power of your employer brand, you can become a magnet for the best talent.
Knowing the drivers of your target audience is key. Fulfilling their information needs and giving them an opportunity to gain a greater experience of your organisation will give you the advantage when they decide to move from passive to active candidates. Done properly, yours will be the only organisation they consider.
Your employer brand lives in the hearts and minds of employees present, past and future. It is their actions and words, not the advertising and marketing messages, which bring your employer brand to life. We’ve all heard it said that “employees are our greatest resource” – for targeting passive candidates they most definitely are. By developing peer-to-peer communication through your employees present and past, any corporate message is instantly personalised and validated.
As a starting point, I would focus on communicating the following about your organisation:
- Personal recommendations
The power and influence of your ‘employees present’ cannot be underestimated. Having them identify key talent to fill skills gaps internally not only tells you that these candidates have the ability to do the job but also are likely to have a good cultural fit. Your employee referral scheme shouldn’t just be about reward but also be an ongoing conversation about the needs of the business with everyone understanding the goals they are working towards and what is needed to get there. Remember to support your employees recruitment efforts by giving them some messages and stories about your organisations.
- Quality of the work
Meaningful work is important. Knowing that you can make a difference and your efforts have an impact is an important driver for people wanting to build their careers. Developing thought leadership initiatives not only supports the corporate brand and business growth but also sends out a powerful message that your organisation is at the forefront of your field and your employees are at the top of their game. This can include at the simplest level a corporate blog for employees to communicate their ideas up to a speaker engagement program as conferences are a great way for passive candidates to engage with the work you do and the people who do it.
- A great working environment
How many words and how much time does it take to explain why your organisation is a great place to work? If a picture is worth a thousand words then how many more is a video worth? Any how many more are ten videos worth? Don’t tell people, show them – Google has done this to great effect which maybe why we all talk about their employer brand as nirvana. Video has it all, the people they would work with, the working environment and that little something extra that is difficult to put into words – culture.
- Development opportunities
‘Employees past’ say as much about your organisation as those currently working there. When it comes to career development, you can tell candidates what you offer, but where your alumni have moved on to delivers an even more powerful message to ‘employees future’ about the impact of the development your organisation offers. Knowing how in demand your ‘employees present’ are is a great drawcard. What they say about their previous employer says a lot about the culture too. Your alumni engagement program can also drive referrals and even boomerangs as the grass isn’t always greener. When engaging your alumni, it’s important to ensure you add value as you would with any external stakeholder group as they don’t work for you any more.
Remember, passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a job so the traditional recruitment media isn’t going to grab their attention. It’s important to take your message to them. Social media has made it easier than ever before to engage passive candidates.