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Are Passive Candidates the Unicorns of Recruiting?

Posted by Samara Parker
February 3rd, 2014

Oh, the ever-elusive passive candidate!

Part of what makes them so desirable is that elusiveness, the fun of the chase, the challenge...

Uhhh wait a minute.

Those are actually all of the things that make recruiters prefer to target active job seekers, and ignore the whopping 79% of potential candidates who are not actively engaged the job hunt (Undercover Recruiter).

Those candidates may be currently employed, and more difficult to source, but they are still potential hires. Maybe not all 79% of them, I'll admit that's a bit of an overstatement, but not as much as you might think!

According to Jobvite at least 61% of those passive candidates are open to, even hopeful for, a change of employer. Considering that statistic, you're still looking at a whopping 50% of working professionals. That's a lot of potential hires to ignore.

Ignoring those passive candidates doesn't just diminish your talent pool, it also rules out higher caliber hires. According to research by Linked in, although more difficult to recruit, passive candidates often make for better quality employees. Once hired, they are more driven than active candidates and 17% less likely to need skills development. This ups the ROI on passive candidates substantially.

2014 will see the need to add passive candidate sourcing to your recruiting strategy increase even more because of the current economic upturn.

The economic upturn means more jobs, and fewer qualified active candidates in the job market. So, the market for quality talent is about to get a lot more competitive, we've written about it, Inc Magazine has written about it, and Blogging4jobs has written about it a lot! The war for talent is back, and with it comes an increased premium on talent, and the need to get more active with your recruiting.

Luckily for employers, sourcing and recruiting passive candidates is a heck of a lot easier than it once was. With today's social technologies, and social graph in particular, sourcing passive candidates is a piece of cake!

Alright, so I'm exaggerating again, but with all that big data at your finger tips, passive candidates are more accessible than ever before. With social recruiting, you can search for potential hires based on information they’ve shared about their work history, their interests, their demographics, and even their skill set by using networks like Facebook. The social graph is constantly getting bigger and as it does, using social networks to source passive candidates will get easier. This is great news, because sourcing is hard work!

And the benefits of social for accessing passive candidates don’t end there!

Social platforms also make it possible to reach out and engage with passive candidates.

They may not be visiting your career site, or looking on job boards, or even have a LinkedIn profile, but now a day’s pretty much every single human (in the first world at least) has some form of internet presence. Heck, there were over 35 million #selfies posted on Instagram last year. There are 231.7 million active monthly users on Twitter, Google plus adds 25, 000 new users on the daily, and Facebook accounts for 16% of total internet use.

If you can't reach candidates via job boards, you can tweet at them, connect with them on Facebook, add them to your G+ circles, and even heart their excessive Instagram selfies. People love it when you double tap their #selfies!

Next Monday on the blog we'll explore how you can use social media to recruit passive candidates, and take over the world! If you want to study up before next week's blog post, download this free white paper and learn how to recruit passive candidates with Facebook.

Happy social recruiting!