How to attract the 86% not actively looking for jobs…

01.09.2019 / Devin DaRif

Developing an Employer Brand for Passive Job Seekers

Are you looking for qualified candidates? They already have a job. According to Talent Now, “86% of the most qualified candidates for your open positions are already employed and not actively seeking a new job”, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck!

Recruiting passive candidates requires a different approach than targeting them with job ads and calls to apply. Teamwork between marketing, recruiting, and social teams, among others, is critical for success. Career social media channels can’t be used just to broadcast open roles without quickly numbing (and losing) your audience. A balanced mix of informative, influential, and promotional posts is key to make sure that you’re providing the insightful content meant to captivate and nurture your audience, with a dash of the “by the way…we have these open jobs” type posts.

You also get what you put into it. If you focus on creating engaging content that helps, provokes, teaches, and guides your audience, you’re much likely to attract educated and interested passive candidates who, after being drawn in by your content, actively choose to explore a career with you— not just the shot-gunned resume of a mid-level, mid-career manager looking at a pending layoff.

Your audience might not be looking, but if they are attracted to your content they are certainly open. A recent report by Gallup found that 51% of employees are considering a new job. Unlike their lower-level compatriots, high-performers are always looking for their next challenge. If so, the right approach might hook the fish you’re looking for.

In order to do this, Employer Brand can’t be something you use when it suits you and not use when it’s not a priority. Like your consumer brand, your corporate brand is a living, breathing entity and will grow and evolve with or without your guidance and influence. And trust me you want to help shape it as much as you can. According to 3BL Association’s annual corporate reputation report, 92% of employees would consider leaving their jobs if offered a role with a company that had an excellent reputation so make sure you’re constantly nurturing and shaping your brand.

I do want to stress the idea of nurturing and shaping your brand as opposed to thinking you can control it; you can’t. Think of it as a combination of growing both a bonsai tree and a flower. You tend to your brand, shaping and creating pathways, clipping pieces that don’t work right and focusing on evolving it to match your vision; then you encourage, help and promote it to bloom, flourish and attract the talent that will sustain and advance your organization.

Your main job must be to pull back the veil and show your audience what it’s really like to work at your company so that passive candidates who would thrive in your environment self-select into the process, and those who would not, see that, and opt out. There is no such thing as the “right” employer brand or the “perfect” employer brand. There is just YOUR BRAND. And it’s not perfect. But if it’s authentic, which can be gritty sometimes, then it’s human and it’s credible.

The challenge we have as marketers is to do marketing without it looking or feeling like marketing. No ones like being marketed to. But that in and of itself is an important element of this whole gestalt. It’s all connected and difficult to isolate and address individually.

Your employer brand for passive candidates is not a different brand than the one you manage for active candidates. Think of it more like the drag you set on a fishing reel. Active job seekers are like bluefish. Passive seekers are like striped bass. It’s about tempering how quickly you try to convert your candidates. Active seekers are primed and ready to launch directly into the process. Passive candidates need to be warmed up and wooed — cultivated.

A key thing to always remember is that you’re not immune to ebbs and flows of the job seeker market. The 51% who are open to new roles exist in your house too. With that in mind, here are three ways to improve retention and keep high-performers.

For a complimentary audit of your employee/candidate experience, reach out!