A position’s perfect match may well be someone with no intention of switching jobs. Yet, says John Pierce, founder of staffing firm Strategic Pursuit Group, “finding the passive candidate is how we earn our fee.”
One key is uncovering what passive candidates need and want in their next career move, says Kevin Palisi, an HR and executive search consultant.
Here’s what the passive job seeker may be thinking—and how recruiters can work some persuasion.
“I wonder if I’d be making more money or have a better title if I switched jobs.”
The goal is to “identify any roadblocks preventing the candidate from achieving that in their current role, and then demonstrate how this new opportunity can be more rewarding,” says Palisi, founder and managing director of Ancora Search. Pierce will push candidates who utilize his executive search firm for life science and healthcare positions to discuss upward mobility opportunities and personal growth plans with their manager. “The majority of these conversations end up with the candidate realizing there is no real plan in place for them.”
“I am glad to have my job, but my workload has doubled since the recent layoff.”
Plant the seed that the money may well be greener elsewhere. While most employees can expect a 3 to 4 percent annual salary increase in their current jobs, switching companies will likely get them a 10 to 15 percent bump, especially in a candidate-short market, says Pierce.
“But I’m comfortable here. I don’t even have my resume updated.”
Pierce will suggest simply looking at the job description and company to see if there’s interest. Then he might send over a few resume templates to help get the job done—and remind that “having your resume updated should be part of every employee’s career checklist,” he says.
“It would be cool to get another offer and have my company sweeten my deal to keep me.”
This is the candidate recruiters run from, since usually the employee with a counter offer stays. But it’s a shortsighted tactic. “If the time comes to eliminate positions, they may find themselves at the top of the layoff list,” Pierce says.
“How could I possibly fit a day off to interview into my schedule?”
Asking to meet after normal business hours or start the process with a phone conversation isn’t unreasonable, assures Pierce. “There is also the old, ‘I have a dentist or doctor appointment’ excuse.”
“I wonder why they think I am job hunting.”
It’s not you specifically, but your skill set, Pierce will say, noting that he discovered the person while researching profiles online. “Seventy-five percent of the passive candidates I reach out to will listen. It is human nature to wonder if there is a better opportunity out there.”
Find out more on how to attract passive job seekers—you’d be surprised at what a captive audience they can be!