Almost half of US employees are looking for a new job or plan to soon, according to a recent survey by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson – but at least one-quarter of those job seekers aren’t actively looking. The survey, of 9,658 U.S. employees from large and midsize private employers across a broad range of industries, found that 44% of employees are “job seekers” and of that group, 25% are in the planning stages of looking for a new job. That pencils out to about 17.5 million people. Furthermore,  LinkedIn estimates that 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job-searching.

These statistics illustrate the enormity of the pool of passive candidates who can supercharge your recruiting efforts in an extremely tight US labor market. This blog explores strategies for successfully recruiting passive candidates.

What motivates today’s job candidates

The Willis Towers Watson survey provides a snapshot of today’s employee zeitgeist:

  • Over half of workers (56%) said pay is a top reason they’d look for a job with a different employer; 41% would leave for a 5% increase. Persistently high inflation has outstripped raises for the average worker.
  • Almost 20% said they’d take a new job for the same pay, suggesting that factors other than wages are important, too. Health benefits, job security, flexible work arrangements and retirement benefits were behind pay, respectively, as the top five reasons employees would go to a new job elsewhere.

As companies across the US start moving toward a return to office (RTO), work from home (WFH) remains a hot button. Pew Research recently reported that post-pandemic, roughly six out of ten US workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home (59%) are working from home all or most of the time. Among those who have a workplace outside of their home, 61% now say they are choosing not to go to it.

Gen Z and Millennial applicants are also concerned with employers’ efforts in environmental, social and governance (ESG). It’s important to consider how to integrate your company’s ESG efforts into your recruiting messaging.

Against this broad backdrop of attitudes and motivations, how can companies succeed in finding, wooing and winning passive job candidates? Let’s look at five ways to do just that.

Strategy #1: Shift from recruitment advertising to recruitment marketing

With millions of potential applicants considering a job move, now is the time to look beyond placing recruitment ads on job boards as your company’s main method of sourcing talent. Shift gears to recruitment marketing, reaching out to passive job seekers through a variety of digital channels, and presenting an employer brand, not just a job.

Sourcing passive candidates proactively is a key part of recruitment marketing. You’ll want to connect and engage with them more deeply, to show that, as an employer, you have more to offer than just a job. There are two main ways to connect:

  • Proactively search for employed candidates: You can search for these individuals on LinkedIn and other professional networks, reaching out to them to solicit their interest in the open positions, and network and get referrals to other potential candidates.
  • Reach out to previous applicants who were not chosen: Your organization may already be sitting on a gold mine of passive candidates – applicants for previous positions who were not chosen.

From these pools you can develop a database of passive candidates and keep in touch with them via light, opt-in email campaigns that showcase happy employees, the candidate experience, your employer brand without hard selling, and progressive company policies, such as WFH and ESG initiatives. This approach accommodates the longer, more open-ended timeline associated with recruiting passive candidates.

Strategy #2: Develop your employer brand

Building a high-impact corporate brand is essential in maximizing awareness and retention about job seekers. Activate your company’s visual brand and voice on social networks to promote vacancies, your company’s image and values, and maintain relationships with applicants of all ages. Visual, friendly content increases engagement with job seekers, building affinity that can translate into hired, engaged employees.

Target Passive Candidates Where They Work and Play – the World Wide Web

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How it works

Strategy #3: Get creative with digital channels

When it comes to engaging candidate, employers are using a multitude of social networks and channels beyond LinkedIn. Companies of all sizes use Facebook and Instagram accounts for employer marketing; for example, there are 200 million business accounts on Instagram, globally, that users visit every day. Consider TikTok, too, for creative clips showcasing your company culture and employees.

For recruitment marketing ads, Google display advertising, and social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram, reach the majority of all job seekers and recruiters. By leveraging the targeting and retargeting capabilities of display and social ads, you can build an evergreen recruitment pipeline that can ultimately drive down cost per hire (CPH) and other recruitment advertising key performance indicators (KPIs).

Strategy #4: Make it easy – really easy – to apply for your jobs

It makes sense to tailor an application process for passive candidates; according to SHRM’s Recruiting Checklist for Quality Hires, the best performers are often passive job seekers who don’t have the time or patience to go through a cumbersome application process.

One of the biggest hurdles in passive talent sourcing is getting the appropriate candidate to apply for the job. A survey by CareerBuilder found that most job seekers prefer a one-click reply and aren’t interested in spending more than 10 minutes on one application. Uploading documents, a posting that takes too long to load or has broken links also result in application abandonment. Instead, companies can invest in technology that pre-populates or auto-fills key information, saving applicants the time and frustration of manual data entry.

Strategy #5: Stay maniacally focused on data

Job ads, search-based and display ads come with their fair share of cons, foremost of which being no easy way to gain visibility into how any of these online channels compares against job sites that you use as a recruiter. This makes it hard to evaluate campaign and channel performance and allocate media budgets accordingly.

Partnering with a programmatic job advertising provider allows employers to leverage previously unavailable data in order to target the right candidate, in the right place at the right time. Artificial intelligence and machine learning is used to identify the relevant audience based on historical recruitment data, budget, and business goals. With improved targeting and reach (encompassing ~90% of Internet users), employers are able to reach the most relevant and qualified candidates, and harness the power of passive candidate sources in the media buying mix.

Get your Mojo going

Joveo’s Mojo display, search and social ads can get your jobs served automatically posted on more than two million websites (other than job sites) worldwide, reaching a large number of high-quality active and passive candidates on Google Search pages, Facebook, and other online properties. With Mojo, you can tap into new audiences to exponentially grow your employer brand.

Joveo works with companies of all sizes and across industries, globally, to outsmart tight labor markets with effective passive candidate recruiting programs. Request a demo today and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to see how Joveo can help you get the most out of your recruitment advertising.