Mr. Ferrara

Human Resources, Recruitment & Training

Capturing the Passive Jobseeker

By Jason Ferrara, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CareerBuilder

When you are promoting your organization to customers, you probably don't treat all of your target audiences the same - the same should be true in your recruitment efforts. While there are many different ways to categorize the job candidates your organization is trying to attract, considering passive and active candidates and their unique needs, can help you be more effective in your recruiting efforts.

So what exactly is the difference between a passive jobseeker and an active jobseeker? Active jobseekers are those who are consistently applying for positions networking constantly and vigorously sending out their resumes. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, 23 percent of hospitality workers identify themselves as active jobseekers.

Passive jobseekers, on the other hand, are not actively pursuing new positions, are usually employed and may or may not be satisfied in their current job. They spend little time looking for a new job, but if the right opportunity came up, they would be interested. Typically passive jobseekers are focused on the long term - they tend to be more loyal to their companies and they are less likely to be looking for the "next best thing" and more likely to be interested in a long-term, career opportunity. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 48 percent of hospitality workers identify themselves as passive jobseekers.

So what does all this mean to you, the hotel employer? In short, passive jobseekers make up a significant part of potential candidates, and therefore, are a critical component to your recruitment program.

How can you stay top of mind to passive jobseekers and capture their interest? It takes work and you'll have to be lithe and targeted in your efforts to reach these elusive, but highly sought after jobseekers.

Be in the Right Places

To reach passive jobseekers efficiently and effectively, it is important to understand their habits. It's no secret that people are researching possible positions and companies online. In fact, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of passive jobseekers learn about possible new opportunities through online resources. This can include online job postings, social networking, videos - both formal and informal, blogs - anywhere the candidates you want to reach, go for information.

Networking is another way that passive jobseekers come across positions (19 percent), so you may want to participate in local industry networking events, sit on the board of a relevant organization or create programs that encourage your current employees to promote your employment opportunities.

Expedia.com's recruitment strategy is a great example of an organization that is being proactive rather than reactive in their recruiting strategies. Instead of waiting for candidates to apply for jobs by email, Expedia recruiters use online community sites, networking, referrals and other methods to build up a ready supply of passive candidates.

Be Upfront

When you are trying to capture a passive jobseeker's attention, you don't want to waste any time or provide any inconsequential information because their attention span is shorter because they are not actively pursuing employment.

Therefore, when approaching passive jobseekers about a new position, not providing enough of the right details or being unclear about the position can deter a candidate's interest. In fact, nearly three-in-ten (29 percent) of passive jobseekers surveyed say the failure to include a salary range for the position would be an immediate deterrent. Other turnoffs include the failure to provide the company name and background information (16 percent) and unclear or non-descriptive titles for positions (15 percent).

Be Realistic, Be Truthful

The Internet has made companies more transparent than ever - whether it is blogs, employees' forwarding emails or articles in the press, it's easy for job candidates to quickly research your company. It is important to be realistic and believable in your communication. Overinflating salaries and opportunities can make jobseekers weary, as passive jobseekers are particularly sensitive to overpromises because they don't necessarily "need" a new job. So they are less likely to dig deeper or check it out if they think it sounds too good to be true. In fact, one-in-ten passive jobseekers would be immediately turned off by the promise of an over-the-top salary, so be sure to keep the potential salary range in check.

It is also important to give candidates an accurate snapshot of your workplace culture and benefits. Chances are, candidates will know if you are trying to hide a problem. The first step is to make changes in your organization. Talk to employees, make them part of the process. Demonstrate that you are dedicated to change. After all, current employees are one of the best ways to find passive candidates and are the most important part of your employer brand.

In the same way you want candidates to be honest and candid in interviews, they expect the same from you. So talk to candidates about the changes the organization is making, how the organization will be investing in employees' futures. Provide concrete examples of the steps the organization has already taken and detail the plans for the future.

Be Competitive

When promoting your opportunities to passive jobseekers, it's important to think about what your employment brand is - what sets you apart from other employers, what makes your employment experience unique? Does your company offer special perks? Do you have a career path program in place? Are there outstanding learning and training opportunities? Make sure you emphasize these facets of your organization, as they can help to capture the interest of passive jobseekers.

In the survey, passive jobseekers revealed that good career advancement opportunities (51 percent), a company's stability and growth potential (47 percent) and training and learning opportunities (38 percent) were the most important factors when they are considering a new position.

Remember, Passive Jobseekers also Exist in Your Organization

With nearly half of all hospitality workers identifying themselves as passive jobseekers, it is also important to remember that much of your workforce could be passively looking for a job. Inspire loyalty in your own organization by opening the lines of communication with employees - this means getting their feedback and regularly updating them about the opportunities that exist in the organization.

First, it's important to talk to employees on a regular basis. Employees want to know that their opinion and contributions matter to the organization. This can be achieved through employee surveys, focus groups or more regular employee reviews.

Also communicate early and often. Leverage internal communication vehicles like a company blog, internal web site, emails, company meetings and activities to share company news and educate employees about opportunities. Consider applying for workplace awards or implementing public relations programs that position your organization as an employer of choice. In short, give employees a reason to be truly proud of where they work. If they are, they will help you reach passive jobseekers through word of mouth.

While all of these strategies and tactics are a starting point for attracting passive jobseekers to your organization, it's also important to recognize that finding the "right" person for a position can come from either pool of talent; active or passive. The essential piece to the recruiting puzzle is finding the proper balance in your recruitment strategy so that you are reaching both groups, with the overarching goal to find the most appropriate, talented and best candidates for your open positions. By considering the unique needs of various candidate targets, you can make your recruiting efforts, and ultimately your organization, more competitive.

Jason Ferrara leads the development of strategic marketing for the Corporate Marketing team at CareerBuilder.com, the nation's largest online job site with over 22 million unique visitors each month and over 1.5 million jobs. Focused on the recruitment needs of employers, Ferrara is responsible for business-to-business strategy including communications, advertising, promotions, e-commerce management, customer lifecycle and loyalty, and sales support. Prior to joining the company, Ferrara worked as Director, Online Marketing for SPSS, Inc. He holds a MBA from Kellogg School of Management. Mr. Ferrara can be contacted at 773-353-2601 or jason.ferrara@careerbuilder.com Extended Bio...

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