A Recruiter Competency Model for Passive Candidates: Part 2
You can’t recruit and hire passive candidates using the same workflow, nor the same recruiters, used for active candidates. As shown in the pie chart, 83% of fully-employed members on LinkedIn consider themselves passive when it comes to their job-hunting status. These are the Super Passives, Explorers, and Tiptoers. This breakdown is based on multiple surveys over two years (2010-2011) of LinkedIn’s fully-employed members with approximately 4,500 participants in each survey.
Here’s a short description of the six categories:
Super Passives, at 28% of the total pool, were extremely satisfied with their jobs and weren’t even thinking of looking. However, they would entertain something truly remarkable.
Explorers (40%) were not actively looking, but would be open to talk with a recruiter if the situation represented a great career move. Tiptoers (15%) were quietly checking with previous close co-workers to see if there was something available that was significantly better than their current job.
Searchers (6%) are those who are active in the job market, but first start looking using search engines and job aggregators (e.g., Google, Indeed). They want at least something equivalent to their current job.
Networkers (3%) were trying to connect with anyone they knew at a company that had job openings, and like Searchers, want at least a comparable job.
Hunters (8%) typically have an economic need to look and are more open to accept any reasonable job. From a strategy standpoint, the idea is to find candidates either the moment they actively enter the job market, or just before. Getting candidates first is a huge competitive advantage from a quality-of-hire and closing standpoint, but you can’t use the typical advertise/apply/assess process for these passive candidates. A passive candidate recruiting process takes longer, with the focus on the career impact of the move. You also need fully-engaged hiring managers and recruiters who are more into career counseling than making as many placements as possible.
As part of any recruiting process change, HR and recruiting leaders need to recognize that recruiting passive candidates is different than recruiting active candidates and requires a different process and different recruiters. To assist talent leaders in making this distinction, we’ve developed a recruiter competency model addressing the similarities and differences.
Our Corporate Recruiter Circle of Excellence competency model is graphically shown here. As part of this, we’ve developed a simple means to quickly assess recruiters on each of the 12 competencies. After you review the model, don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to learn more about this program and how it can be used to rank recruiters on each of the competencies.
Following is a quick summary of each of the competencies and the differences between active and passive recruiting requirements:
Results Driven: Drive for a recruiter handling passive candidates requires the ability to tenaciously, but subtly, cajole and urge passive prospects through the hiring pipeline while deftly overcoming concerns. For a recruiter handling active candidates, drive is more about numbers and being sure there are enough reasonable candidates in the pool.
Someone Worth Knowing (SWK) and Subject Matter Expert: When a recruiter contacts people who are not looking, these people are deciding not only if the career opportunity is worth pursuing, but also if the recruiter is credible. This means the recruiter knows the company strategy, the company’s basic financial strength and position within the industry, and why the company offers a strong foundation for a career move. This is much less important when working with active candidates who just want to get an interview.
Partners with Hiring Manager: Recruiters have very little credibility with a top person who’s not looking if they don’t know the hiring manager. More important, if the recruiter and hiring manager are not working in tandem, it’s impossible to move top people through the extra steps required. This partnership is much less important when recruiting active candidates.
Knows Job and Messages: Passive candidates will always want to know a few things about the job to determine if it’s worth a more serious discussion. Recruiters must be able to present this on multiple levels, including the job’s importance and some of the key projects and tasks involved. Messages and postings must be creative and appeal directly to the prospect’s career needs. It doesn’t take this level of ability to attract, recruit, and close active candidates.
Develops Sourcing Strategy and Plan: This is essential whether targeting active or passive candidates. While different, the development of a comprehensive sourcing plan involves workforce planning, a geographic supply/demand analysis, and the continued upgrading of sourcing channels based on hiring needs and channel effectiveness. Active candidate sourcing done well is more complicated than passive candidate sourcing, and represents the critical differentiator among active candidate recruiters.
Uses Web 2.0 and SEO/SEM to Develop Active Candidate Pool: Getting active candidates first makes a huge difference in hiring the best ones. This requires an awareness of the latest active candidate sourcing techniques and the persistence to ensure that your company’s job postings are always at the top of the list where likely candidates will find them. This competency is much less important for passive prospects.
Use LinkedIn and Networking to Develop a Passive Candidate Pool: Those who aren’t looking need to be contacted directly either by phone, email, through networking, or via a proactive employee referral program. While getting names is relatively easy, getting on the phone and developing deep networks of highly qualified prospects is needed to convert a list of names into some great prospects open to talk with a hiring manager. Strong networking and recruiting skill are essential for passive candidates, and almost unneeded for active candidates.
Ensures Candidate Care: While different for active and passive, it’s essential for both. There’s a lot more hand-holding for passive candidates and recruiters need to ensure that everything is done right. Due to the volume involved with active candidates, candidate care is more about ensuring the process is effective.
Organizes and Plans Work: Active candidate recruiters have it tougher on this score. Effectively handling a high number of requisitions requires exceptional planning and organizational skills combined with an ability to prioritize work and get hiring manager agreement.
Technical and ATS Savvy: It’s pretty easy for a passive candidate recruiter working a reasonable number of reqs to keep the ATS current. Active candidate recruiters need to be whizzes at this. In fact, this competency might be the difference maker for an active candidate recruiter. Aside from this, all recruiters need to be tech-savvy using the latest tools and techniques to uncover new ways to find and reach the best candidates. Accurately Assesses Competency, Motivation, and Fit: Recruiting passive candidates is generally a full-cycle role, so accurate assessment skills are essential. As part of this they need to be able to fully assess candidates on all dimensions of performance and fit. Active candidate recruiters need to be good screeners on more than just skills, but rarely need to conduct a full assessment.
Recruits, Advises, Negotiates, and Closes Top Prospects: Persuading top prospects who are not looking, getting them to engage in a series of career discussions, pushing the process along, and then closing the deal on equitable terms is what recruiting passive candidates is all about. Recruiting and closing active candidates who want your job is more a transactional process with fewer variables.
Unless you have a big employer brand, it’s impossible to attract the 83% of fully-employed professionals who aren’t looking using the same sourcing and recruiting techniques used for the 17% who are. As a result, the recruiters involved and processes used must be different. Just recognizing the basic differences between active and passive candidate recruiting is a huge step. Doing something about it is even bigger. Evaluating the recruiting team using our Recruiter Circle of Excellence competency model is a great way to start.
Reprinted from The Adler Group with permission from Lou Adler, author of Hire With Your Head. All rights reserved.