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Looking for Passive Job Candidates? Use a Trusted Recruiting Firm.

Looking for Passive Job Candidates Use a Trusted Recruiting Firm. By Goodwin Recruiting

According to data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost per employee hire is nearly $4,700. Various factors can affect the cost, including organization size, location, and industry, as well as the specific role that is filled.  

No matter your organization’s per-hire investment in talent, the amount is surely high enough to warrant the use of all recruiting tools and resources at your disposal to ensure wise hiring decisions are made.  

We’d like to underscore one of the most important talent resources you can tap – and that is the wide world of passive job candidates. Read on to see how inviting these candidates into your talent pool can greatly improve your talent acquisition and organizational success.  

Passive job candidates are an evergreen talent pipeline  

Fast access to great job candidates is one of the biggest competitive advantages you can find in today’s hiring market. It’s also one of the biggest challenges.  

First, consider the size of this vast talent pool. Globally, the percentage of passive candidates in the workforce has remained relatively steady over the past decade, ranging from 70% to 75% – an enormous pool of talent that can’t be found actively perusing the job market for new opportunities. 

Next, consider the benefits of passive candidates. While other candidates can possess the following attributes, we find these accomplishments and competencies very common in passive job candidates:  

  • Accomplished top performers in their current and past positions 

  • Considered experts and industry leaders who are often tapped for their knowledge 

  • Specialists in their fields, with specific and sometimes rare skill sets that are in high demand 

  • Experienced in executive and other leadership roles, with demonstrated leadership skills 

  • Hold certifications, licenses, and advanced education that are highly relevant in their fields 

  • Maintain extensive professional and industry networks that greatly benefit their employers 

  • Tend to stay with their employers for years 

There are many more benefits of passive candidates, making them an important talent resource for employers who need to onboard the best people for their companies and teams.  

What exactly is a passive candidate?  

Passive job candidates are currently employed individuals who, unlike active job seekers, are not looking for or applying for new jobs but are open to considering the right opportunities – open jobs that fit their career paths, interests, or personal goals.  

Typically, passive candidates are approached about such job opportunities by talent recruiters with whom they have a relationship, or by colleagues, peers, or others in their professional networks. Sometimes, hiring companies directly approach them.  

Passive candidates are attractive to hiring companies for the skills, experience, expertise, and reputations they have built in their organizations and industries, and for the new ideas and perspectives companies are looking for in new hires to advance their teams and operations.  

How to find passive candidates: Recruiters have the edge  

There are many ways to identify and connect with sought-after passive candidates. Any hiring company can do it, although it’s understandably more difficult, time-consuming, and costly for internal hiring managers and other HR professionals to do. Most companies, even the largest, lack the time, resources, and tools to do it effectively, simply because they’re not in the business of talent recruitment.  

If you’re considering how to recruit passive candidates, here are four big reasons to work with a recruiter. Doing so will easily and instantly expand your talent pool with valuable professionals for your important roles:  

  1. Nationwide talent networks: Recruiters inherently have access to large pools of available talent. At Goodwin Recruiting, we prioritize the importance of nurturing long-term relationships with both clients and job candidates. We’ve been around since 1999 and currently have more than 300 recruiting partners across the United States. Each of our expert recruiters continually builds their network of active and passive candidates, and when talent searches are conducted for clients, our recruiters leverage the combined power and reach of our growing nationwide network of job candidates. 
  2.  Trusted relationships with candidates: Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of building relationships with thousands upon thousands of candidates by checking in, staying in touch over time, and staunchly advocating for their career goals. We pride ourselves not in filling jobs, but in making meaningful talent matches that help candidates achieve professional goals while also helping our clients succeed. Trust is paramount with passive job candidates. They know we value and protect their privacy, which is critical for employed individuals, and that we will approach them only with right-fit opportunities for their consideration. 
  3. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): When job candidates apply for an open position through Goodwin Recruiting, our secure applicant tracking system saves every application for current and future reference. It’s a valuable tool for staying connected with exceptional talent. If a job is filled by the time we receive the original application, or if the fit isn’t right for the role, we can explore similar roles for a candidate’s consideration. Even when we don’t have a current opportunity for a candidate, we regularly retrieve applications through our ATS database when new positions become available. 
  4. Client and candidate referrals: Word travels fast in the talent recruiting world. Great recruiters become more valuable to hiring companies and job candidates through advocacy from our satisfied clients and candidates. We can vouch for word-of-mouth referrals! Many of our clients and job candidates, after having the chance to work with our team, enthusiastically refer other hiring companies, job seekers, and passive job candidates to us for job search and talent acquisition needs. There’s no bigger compliment than when someone points others to us based on their positive experiences with our team and recruiting services.  

Is it worth paying a placement fee to hire a passive candidate? 

Organizations that partner with recruiting firms will readily tell you of numerous factors that make talent placement fees a worthy investment. Reasons range from not being able to find qualified candidates with the right skills to urgent hiring needs and the time and costs of finding new hires on their own, whether through job postings, job boards, social media sites like LinkedIn, and other talent recruiting processes.  

The benefits far outweigh the costs, reducing time to hire the best candidates and saving internal HR teams time and energy in sourcing candidates that are a match for their businesses. These are dollars well spent.  

But most important, companies want the highest assurances possible that they will see a return on investments (ROI) in their talent acquisition efforts – whether they hire talent directly or pay a placement fee to a recruiter who finds a candidate they choose to hire.  

Hiring a passive job candidate boosts the assurance that hiring companies want.  

A big factor in achieving desired ROI is retaining top talent and especially new talent.

In a Harvard Business Review survey of 800 business leaders, more than 95% said hiring and retaining talent was in their top three priorities.  

Statistics surrounding employee turnover percentages dramatically vary by job type and function, and especially by industry. It’s even more complex to gauge such percentages for job candidates who are employed when interviewing for a new job versus those who are not employed during the interview process. 

However, our observations after 25 years in the recruiting business, along with information from our clients, job candidates, and other industry sources, tell us that passive candidates placed in new positions do tend to stay longer in their new jobs, more than 20% longer according to some estimates.  

To gain a clearer understanding of the percentage of people who fall into the passive candidate pool, we polled our LinkedIn audience of working professionals and job candidates across a wide variety of industries. The results were quite astonishing, with 54% of approximately 900 respondents saying they were ready for a new job opportunity: 

4 reasons passive candidates stay longer with employers 

  1. Longer tenure is seen among passive job candidates because they tend to prioritize professional stability and job security. They have a calculated focus on and desire to be smart in moving on from their current jobs and propelling their careers forward. (As an aside, these traits translate into new roles as strategic decision-making skills.) 
  2. Passive candidates can perceive it when a hiring company views them as established, reliable employees at other organizations. This is true for employers who consider current employment as a pre-vetting step before their own interview process begins. Going into their new roles with this positive perception and confidence can lead passive candidates to long-term employment. 
  3. Passive candidates are usually secure and even happy in their current roles, which is why they’re not actively looking for new jobs. That said, it’s often the case that these individuals are on a career track and open to new roles that offer advancement. And when they find such an opportunity, they tend to stay with it to bring their longer-term career goals to fruition. 
  4. Many hiring companies view passive candidates as grounded, well-connected professionals, and rightfully so. A good percentage of passive candidates have a solid history of carefully orchestrated professional experiences, connections, and relationships, and this trajectory often leads them to longer tenure with their employers. 

Of course, other factors also impact how long passive candidates stay with an employer (company culture is a big one), but the above reasons help reduce early turnover and associated costs. They also improve the chances that new hires will excel in their new roles.  

Explore a whole new universe of talent  

While it’s important to focus on the entire pool of job candidates who are available to you, remember that the largest talent pool in the world is comprised of passive candidates. The ability to identify, approach, and attract the professionals you need is key to your recruitment efforts. 

Partner with a Forbes Best Recruiting Firm when you’re ready to tap into the vast world of passive job candidates and find the best candidates for your open roles.