Using social media to attract and engage passive candidates

Your perfect candidate is probably not seeking new employment. So the big conundrum is, how do you reach these potential candidates?

Using social media to recruit potential candidates is huge and seems to have changed the way companies recruit. The premise is the same: write the best job description and watch the applications fly in, or alternatively design a section of your website specifically for new positions.  However there can be a problem: What if the ideal candidate isn’t actively seeking work? If they aren’t seeking work, they aren’t going to know that the perfect job is out there waiting for them to just go and get it!

An estimated 44% of employed workers would class themselves as ‘passive’ candidates, or people who do little or nothing at all when looking for another career opportunity. An estimated 79% of global working professionals would also consider themselves to be ‘passive’ when it comes to seeking work.  So by this token, there are a huge number of potential candidates unaffected by whatever recruitment drive you make: the perfect candidate is probably not seeking new employment. So the big conundrum is, how do you reach these potential candidates?

The first thing you need to do is identify the type of candidate you are looking to attract. Look at the vacancy you are wishing to fill…what skills would be required for that role? What are the personal values you are looking for? For example, you may be wishing to recruit for the care or support industry. This is an area which contains 1000s of volunteers, who may not be aware that there are vacancies in this area, however you know that they already have the skills and right temperament for the job. Post on various charity organisations websites, social media pages and or forums to reach those candidates that are suitable but may not be looking, or aware these jobs are out there.

Using Facebook allows you to buy advertising space – use your advert to target the specific demographic you are looking to recruit, such as graduates or school leavers.

You can use LinkedIn in a similar way by actively searching for individuals, who have the right skills and qualities for the role you are recruiting for. LinkedIn allows you to directly contact these candidates and to entice them to the new role you are recruiting for. It allows you to directly sell the role to them, and make people aware of career opportunities that they may have been unaware of.

Never under estimate the importance of #, the hashtag: it could lead you directly to a whole selection of passive candidates. Use Twitter and the # to again link directly to those sleeping giants. For example, if you’re looking for teaching assistant, simply post your advertisement #teachingassistant. This will be picked up by potential applicants who are already in the role and you can also tweet your vacancy to twitter pages linked to that industry. You never know  – they may retweet, thus boosting the chances of reaching your intended target audience.

Look at using Instagram: post pictures of the role you are recruiting: show how interesting, fun and exciting the role can be. Also post pictures of the target audience you are wishing to reach. If you’re looking for a graduate or student, post pictures of them, or previous applicants who you have found employment for in the past. Hone in on your attended target audience, sell the role you’re recruiting for in the best possible way – so the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Finally look at community and charity events that the organisation is working with. It could be a coffee morning for cancer research, or may be just a football match between work colleagues, whatever the event post it on your website and through the usual social media outlets. Sell the company as a caring, fun place to work, you’re more than likely going to grab potential candidates attention. You can also look at the activities potential candidates like to engage in, such as fitness, sports and charity events and advertise at these.

With 44% of potential candidates lying dormant to your advances, it’s time to get creative and think outside of the box, and use the full potential of social media, to find the next superstar for your business

By Helen Pritchard, a former recruiter and owner of Blue Sky Digital Marketing – a Social Media company with a speciality in Social Recruiting

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