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Needle in a Haystack: Finding Candidates through Passive Sourcing

Finding qualified candidates is a constant desire of businesses. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. How to best do it has been up for debate, but the numbers are showing a clear winner. 73% of potential candidates are passive job seekers. That means the majority of candidates are coming from an organization’s research to find and the consistent labor it takes to connect to a candidate who doesn’t know they’re a candidate…yet. This passive sourcing is the technique of the wise organization who wants to be proactive while maintaining the competency levels needed to successfully perform the work.

But there is a second-tier statistic that really hammers the perspective home. Out of those 73% of potential candidates, 87% are open to the new job opportunity proposed. The vast majority of those sought out and connected to are not only willing to hear about the role, but they are most likely to accept an invitation to join the candidate pool for the job. The idea of “posting and praying” through Indeed, or the like, seems to pale in comparison to these stats.

How are you equipping passive sourcing to happen in your organization? Is it even a consideration for your team? Before you say yes, consider this: if you think that LinkedIn is your passive sourcing strategy, there are entire segments of the working population that don’t use or minimally use that platform with any regularity. It is most difficult to passively source someone on a platform of limited, if not no, active use. Think manufacturing, restaurant, retail, hotel and other industries. Not every pro uses that one platform.

What about the question of using AI to recruit and to source? It is possible, but like any product, it is dependent upon being fed information to activate robustly. When an organization does not use passive sourcing, whether at all or not very much, then those same novices are being tasked with building the input for any AI or machine learning software. Who is teaching your team in order for them to teach the robots?

Finding those resources to help your organization compete in a heavily passive market is vital for the success of any recruitment program. There can be no mistaking the utilization needed.

In the classic movie, Josh Baskin (Tom Hanks) wishes to grow up. His wish comes true, thanks to Zoltar. As he navigates this new existence as an adult, he gets a job and moves into an NYC apartment. Baskin is discovered by the MacMillan Toy Company owner (Robert Loggia) at FAO Schwartz. MacMillan is impressed and is sourced to come be a part of a new marketing campaign which ultimately leads to Baskin’s promotion to VP of Product Development. Not bad for a 12-year-old.

Mr. MacMillan went to where the best people would be – the toy store. He sourced from those experienced in toys and sought their input. Baskin didn’t know he would wind up with that role, but he was open to the opportunity. This is how passive sourcing works. It takes time, creativity and patience, but the end result works.

The struggle today is that many companies don’t have the time or the staff to engage with passive sourcing fully. It is difficult to just dip your toe into that pool and expect great results. A good idea without the resources to put into it remains a good idea; it just doesn’t become an activated good idea.

There are organization, and pique interest enough to get that person into the candidate pool. Easy? Nope. Time-Consuming? Yup. However, all research continues to point to passive sourcing as being the most pronounced method of recruitment to use.


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