In the recruiting industry, there is frequent debate about passive vs active candidates. A passive candidate is someone who has a job, and isn’t really focused on finding a new one. They may occasionally look for jobs or apply, but they’re not as absorbed in the activity as someone who is an active job seeker. An active job seeker might be unemployed or trying to leave a job they don’t like. They’re applying to jobs regularly, and are always on the lookout for opportunities.
There is the perception that passive candidates are better, perhaps because their current employment implies success in their role. On other hand, a passive candidate who can be lured away from a job they’re content with could be just as easily lured away from the employer you recruit them to join. An active job seeker may want the job more, and work harder to keep it.
However you feel about recruiting passive or active candidates, a job board needs both.
By now, you should be familiar with the chicken-and-the-egg game of simultaneously attracting both talent and customers to your job board. Last week I talked about finding the right balance of original content to make your job board unique and valuable enough to be useful to job seekers and develop good SEO, a crucial element of attracting job seekers to your board.
Active job seekers are primarily seeking job opportunities and the chance to connect with employers. Passive candidates probably need different incentives to join. If they’re not looking for a new job, they may join to participate in your community, keep up with industry news, find resources and advice to help them develop in their current careers, or to let employers find them. (“I don’t wanna search for jobs, but if someone wants to offer me something, that’s okay.”)
Something else to keep in mind is that throughout their careers, your job board’s candidates will likely switch between being passive and active job seekers, and more than once. A fresh graduate will eventually become an experienced professional, and an experienced professional may one day find themselves out of work or looking to make a change.
With that in mind, here are some ideas for reaching out to great talent and finding ways to keep them engaged. Much of what you can offer job seekers will be of value to both passive and active candidates, but may be positioned differently for each group.
Attracting Passive Candidates:
- “Let employers find you”
- Career development
- Industry learning
Attracting Active Job Seekers:
- “Find Great Job opportunities!”
- Market to employers
- Learning & Resources
- Help & advice for job search
Where to Reach Out:
- Schools – Target professional programs related to your industry, connect with career centers & let them know you want to connect talented graduates with employers. Provide tips on how to present themselves on your job board, and on their social media, resumes, cover letters, etc.
- Professional Associations – Send information about what your job board offers established professionals. If the association doesn’t have a job board, ask about partnerships to advertise your jobs and services to their membership and industry partners. Collaborate on resources for career development.
- Online Communities – LinkedIn or Facebook groups, popular industry blogs, or hashtags on Twitter and Instagram are great ways to connect with the wider audience of people in your industry. It may involve participating as just another voice or member, or you may find opportunities to showcase your job board, advertise or provide sponsored content in these communities to drive people to your job board.
What to Say:
- Be Direct – Ask for What You Want: Do you want people to sign up and provide enough information about themselves so that they would be able to attract employers? Talk about the types of job titles people are hiring for, the kinds of experience, skills, and education that those employers are looking for, to let those candidates know they are in demand.
- Tell Them What’s In It For Them: What are the benefits? What are you trying to do? While ultimately it’s the employer-customer that will be paying you, you are still offering a service to job seekers. How will they be helped by buying into what you’re selling to them?
- Follow-Up: Your mission is not complete once someone signs up for your job board. Creating a campaign to help nurture your job seekers after sign up can help them see your job board as a community that offers continuing value, regardless of whether they are actively job searching.