Fishing for Passive Candidates

In my last article, ?The Passive/Active Continuum? I gave an analogy of where active and passive candidates are ??The pond is where your active candidates are and they generally bite quickly on your fishing line but there are many other lines around you and competition is fierce. Imagine the ocean. The ocean is where your passive candidates are and they can be slow to bite on your line but your competition is much less. 90% of corporate recruiters are fishing in the pond whereas less than 10% are fishing in the ocean.? Many of you responded to this analogy with ?How do I complement my active candidate sourcing with some passive candidate sourcing?? or ?How do I throw my fishing line into the ocean of passive candidates?? These are great questions and hopefully the beginning of a journey that will take you from traditional recruiting methods to more a investigative, creative marketing recruiting approach. The Recruiter/Private Investigator

The Internet is this wonderfully exasperating place where your passive candidates are hanging out but difficult to track down. Tracking these candidates down involves a certain amount of ?Private Investigator? work. You need to find out where they go, where they interact and what associations they may belong to. The best way to explain this kind of investigative work is to put it in your own terms by asking ?where would you search the Internet if you were looking for high level technical recruiting candidates or human resource managers?? Hopefully this is somewhat easy for you because as an HR individual you have your favorite sites and would know where to go to find people like yourself. For instance, you would first go to the Electronic Recruiting Exchange and sign up for the Forum to listen in to those who seem to know a lot about recruiting. Many times people will identify themselves in a forum as well as note their title and organization. The key is to LISTEN and not post your position, which can be very disruptive to any forum or conversation. You know that recruiters often post the jobs they are recruiting for so you may want to try going to a job board, searching under the industry/position of the background you are seeking and taking note of the names that are attached to those job postings. Finally you may want to go to those sites that assist Recruiters and Human Resources individuals in their jobs like the Recruiters-Aid Kit, AIRS Directory, HR World or SHRM. At these sites you may want to see if they offer their own forum, guest book or alumni section. At this point you have NOT contacted any of these individuals, you have simply taken down notes of names, titles, companies and where you have discovered them. The Recruiter/Creative Marketer

Now that you have your list of names, titles and companies you are ready to make contact. (If you were unable to get their contact information from your site search you can simply go to any yellow pages site or The Ultimates to find your candidates email and contact information.) The contact side is where many Recruiters drop the ball. These candidates are not looking for work. They are satisfied fish in the ocean of passive candidates. Understanding this target market and how to address them for maximum effectiveness is key to recruiting success. Your approach to them should be one of a personalized nature. Let them know where you found them ??I noticed you had some interesting answers to the Flip Search question in the ERE Forum?? or ??I see you have had some excellent experience in recruiting for telecommunications Account Managers from your Monster posting?? Let them know why you contacted them ??you seemed to know quite a bit about Internet recruiting so I wondered if you could spare a couple moments of your time so I could pick your brain?? or ??as an expert in your industry, I wondered if we could talk?? Let them know you appreciate the time and give them an out ??thank you so much for your time, please call me at your convenience at 555-1212 so we could talk. I am sorry if I interrupted your day and will not contact you further if you would like.? The key is non-harassing, honest, gentle conversation. Do not send out mass form letters addressed as ?Hi?. Do not give them the full job description and address them as if they were a job seeker. Finally do not call them, rather email them first. Email is the most non-interruptive form of contact to one?s day and allows them to contact you at their convenience. In Conclusion

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I used this analogy to demonstrate how easy it is to find passive candidates on the Internet when you know where to find them. Since you are not a Java Developer or Software Engineer you need to ask those hiring manager or employees who are of that background to find out where to ?listen in? and investigate. Next time you talk to your hiring managers about their position, as them where they hang out on the Internet as well as encourage them to get involved in your ?private investigator? work.

Audra Slinkey is a leading Internet Recruiting Consultant who has designed the Recruiters-Aid PERS (Proprietary E-Recruitment System) to ensure Internet recruiting success. Recruiters-Aid provides Internet candidate sourcing and screening services, and guarantees results—or the clients do not pay. Recruiters-Aid manages one of the largest FREE recruiting resource sites online. Recruiters-Aid services were created specifically for recruiters who don't have time to source the Internet themselves.

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