Active vs. passive candidates has been a long-drawn debate in recruitment circles globally. Over 75% of professionals today describe themselves as ‘passive’ i.e. currently employed and open to new job opportunities, though not actively looking out for them. Yet, only 61% of companies report to expanding their candidate search beyond active to passive candidates to fill open positions. Why so when there is a treasure trove of top passive talent ripe for conversion? Because passive candidates are harder to reach and attract, which stems from the fact that while active candidates sell, passive candidates need to be sold to - a tough job for recruiters, given today’s competitive hiring markets.

Social media to the rescue

For a generation that has grown up on social media and forms the largest pie of today’s workforce, it is unsurprising to note that 86% of millennials in their first decade of employment turn to social media to hunt for jobs and research employers. Social recruiting – the next big wave of transformation in HR is the perfect go-to solution for recruiters to break the ice with passive candidates and convert them into active ones. Here’s how it works:

1. Being social reinforces your EVP:

One of the best ways to get the attention of passive candidates is to just demonstrate how impressive your company is and what tangible and intangible benefits employees gain while working for it. 50% of millennials value purposeful work over salary and if your brand can effectively convey its EVP to passive candidates through social media channels they frequent, it’s job half done when it comes to getting them interested now or in the future.

2. Allows you to be seen at the right time:

Passive candidates aren’t visiting yellow pages or other job boards regularly the way active candidates do. However, they are definitely active on social media. The trick for recruiters lies in knowing which social media platforms their target talent pool resides in. While LinkedIn tops the list of platforms with the highest number of passive candidates (75% of fully-employed LinkedIn members are not actively seeking jobs), if you are sourcing for a design/art house or some other niche industry, it might make better sense to explore industry specific social forums and talent communities.

3. Opens room for conversation:

With passive candidates, recruitment is less about marketing and more about relationship building and the informal nature of social media is conducive to achieving this feat. Take for instance, the recruitment team at Zappos that holds Q&A sessions on Twitter to encourage open dialogue. Designed not just for active job seekers, these sessions give anyone a sneak peek into what life at Zappos is like, how the company treats its people, future plans, celebrations at work, etc. The company also has an Inside Zappos Instagram page that shows off its corporate culture and playful vibe. Being socially active helps Zappos’ HR managers engage in meaningful conversations with prospective candidates while portraying their brand as the ‘employer of choice’ at the same time.

Quality over quantity bolsters the case for social recruiting

According to 92% of recruiters, candidates sourced from social media make for the ‘highest quality’ of hires. On the other hand, a large number of employees say a company’s social media presence was a key reason they chose their workplace. Clearly, building a social employer brand and recruitment strategy is the way to go to convert passive candidates into active ones and change the recruitment game.

about the author
yashab giri new
yashab giri new

yeshab giri

chief commercial officer - staffing & RT professionals

yeshab is responsible for leading the development and expansion of randstad India’s value added staffing services which currently encompass field force, engineering and technology roles.