Finding and targeting passive job candidates: You’re doing it wrong

From: Mashable Online


Things are looking up for job seekers. Unemployment numbers are down, the economy is improving and more opportunities are opening up. As professionals gain their financial and career stability back, many are looking at their options and considering what else is out there. In a survey conducted by Jobvite in November 2014, 45% of employed respondents said they would switch to a new job, even though they were satisfied with their current role.

The hype surrounding passive job seekers has grown as more recruiters struggle to find active job seekers with the right experience for specialized positions. But are employers actually succeeding in attracting passive talent?

Recruiting passive candidates is fundamentally different from targeting those who are actively pursuing a new position, and recruiters often neglect the following two major pieces of the passive hiring puzzle.

Start with relationships
What you’re doing wrong: Stalking passive candidates whose skills and experience match your open position online and sneak-attacking them is a dead-end. Digging deep online like some kind of recruiting secret agent to find any and all background information on your suspect — I mean perfect candidate — is ineffective, in addition to creepy.

The alternative: Instead, focus on building relationships organically. Passive candidates who are willing to make a job change will be open to talking with a recruiter. So talk with them.

What’s more, 15% of job seekers are reaching out to their personal networks about opportunities. Be in their professional network.

Another option is to find passive candidates in person by attending industry events/conferences to meet and network with talented professionals. Know where your target talent is congregating virtually as well: 46% of U.S. companies (according to LinkedIn) surveyed said social professional networks were one of the most important sources for quality hires.

Finding, connecting and building relationships with passive and active candidates on professional networking and job search sites should become second nature. Passive talent who routinely lead or contribute to conversations may be in the market for new opportunities. In these conversations, both face-to-face and online, the focus shouldn’t be on recruiting, convincing candidates to leave their current roles, or even advertising your employer brand. Instead, attempt to build genuine connections and learn about stand-out professionals.

The results: In this way, you will build a pipeline of passive candidates and, when you do have positions to fill, you will know exactly which qualified professionals to approach. They’ll be more likely to discuss the opportunity if you’ve already built some rapport. If the candidate does turn down the opportunity, your relationship with him or her will keep the door open for future positions.

Personalize your approach
What you’re doing wrong: Research shows that passive candidates are looking for more benefits and perks, work-life balance and opportunities to move their careers forward. In fact, in a survey of medical sales representatives conducted by, respondents ranked salary as the most important factor when evaluating a new employer.

So here’s the common mistake: When talking with passive candidates, you focus on the salary, job perks and title. You harp so much on all of the benefits that come with the job, the conversation sounds more like a sales pitch rather than a discussion about the candidate’s career goals.

The alternative: When recruiting employed professionals, the conversation should center around them. While trends show what passive job seekers are looking for as a whole, they don’t tell you what will motivate an individual to leave a job in which he or she is already happy.

Although you do want to discuss the details, you should be listening more than talking at first. Encourage the candidate to talk about him or herself so you can learn about his or her needs, wants and ambitions. Use this information to guide your conversation about the actual position. Discuss how the role and the employer meet those unique needs.

The results: Using this strategy, candidates won’t be bombarded with a laundry list of job benefits, but they will envision how they can realistically fit within the company and position. This information will be more meaningful when considering a new opportunity.

More Candidates Opting to Relocate for New Positions

From: Recruiting Trends Online

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the brighter employment and housing markets have made relocating a more feasible option for job candidates. Their numbers reveal that the percentage of job seekers relocating for new positions in the last half of 2014 rose to its highest level in five years.


The latest relocation rate is the highest it has been since the first half of 2009, when an average of 16.3 percent of job seekers moved in the immediate wake of the recession.

“Relocation activity plunged after the first half of 2009 as home values continued to decline, which made it virtually impossible to sell an existing home without taking a significant loss. The housing market is still recovering in most regions, but the progress made last year clearly is encouraging more job seekers to expand their searchers geographically,” said John A. Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Moving is proving to be on the rise for senior employees
An average of 15 percent of job-seeking managers and executives moved for new positions over the last two quarters of 2014, according to the new report. That was up from an average of 11.4 percent in the first two quarters of the year. In 2013, the relocation rate among job seekers averaged 13 percent.

The Challenger relocation rate is based on a quarterly survey of approximately 1,000 job seekers.

Relocation is hardly ever desirable from a job candidate’s point of view. But especially in hard times in housing, it most often is ruled out. Job seekers need to maintain their safety nets.

“Relocation is rarely the most desirable option for job seekers. There is a lot of cost and risk involved. The collapse in the housing market, which was a primary factor behind the recession, made relocation even more unattractive, as many job seekers were stuck in homes with market values well below what was owed on the mortgage. Starting in 2013, we saw a rebound in home buying and home prices. That trend continued in 2014, leading to the upturn in relocation among job seekers,” said John A. Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Metropolitan Areas See Gains
A recent report from the National Association of Realtors indicates that a majority of metropolitan areas experienced steady year-over-year gains in home prices in the fourth quarter of 2014. The Association attributed slightly stronger price growth to a decline in housing supply and an uptick in demand fueled by lower interest rates and a stronger job market.

The number of cities with low unemployment continues to grow. In December, there were 158 metropolitan areas with unemployment rates below 5.0 percent. Only 78 metro areas could say the same, a year earlier.

“At the end of last year, there were more than 70 metropolitan areas with an unemployment rate of 4.0 percent or lower. That number is growing every month. Employers in these areas are undoubtedly struggling to find workers from the local talent pool. So, for job seekers who are willing to relocate, the list of cities with good opportunities keeps getting longer,” said Challenger.

Which Cities Top of the List for Highest Quality of Living?
One stat especially important to job candidates is the quality of life in the new city to which they may be drawn. Vancouver is the highest-ranking city in North America and the region’s only city in the top 10. Singapore (26) is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai (74) ranks first across the Middle East and Africa. Montevideo in Uruguay (78) takes the top spot for South America, according to the Mercer 2015 Quality of Living rankings.

San Francisco (27), Boston (34), and Honolulu (36) are the highest-ranking US cities.

Vienna has the world’s best quality of living. Overall, European cities dominate the top of the ranking along with major cities in Australia and New Zealand. Zurich, Auckland, and Munich are in first, second, and third places respectively.

Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

“Taking a short- or long-term work assignment in a new country is both an exciting and challenging experience for employees and their families,” said Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer. “Cultures, societies, and comparatively different climates, as well as political instability, high crime rates, and poor infrastructure can be difficult to navigate and settle down in for employees and their families. Employers need to assess whether their staff and families will encounter any drop in quality of living when relocating and ensure they are fairly compensated for it.”

According to Mercer, it evaluates local living conditions in more than 440 cities it surveys worldwide. Living conditions are analyzed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:

  1. Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.)
  2. Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services)
  3. Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  4. Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
  5. Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
  6. Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.)
  7. Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
  8. Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
  9. Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture,
  10. Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)