The top talent for your essential role is currently employed and not actively looking for other opportunities. These passive candidates are frequently approached with new opportunities by many tempting suitors. At Millennium Search, we run across this scenario on a regular basis, but we have identified several elements to address that lead to a higher rate of success. To ensure that you capture their attention and turn them into your employee, address these 3 key elements.
1. Define The Compromises You Can Make
Target your shortlist of non-negotiable skills that encompass the three or four that are core to the role. Narrowing down these essential skills allows you to remain flexible on the overall arsenal of experience a candidate holds. Having levers and a level of realism that finding perfection is a challenge will allow you to think outside the box. Without a targeted core skills list you might exclude a passive candidate from consideration because they don’t fit the full laundry list of desired criteria. But if this passive candidate excels in your core essentials and demonstrates a strong ability to quickly acquire more ancillary keys for success, they could be the right person for the job.
2. Be Quick To Engage The People You Like
Because you can more quickly identify that passive candidate as your leading candidate on paper, you can engage them more quickly than your competitors. The initial dialogue is key to acquiring talent, but more important is keeping the candidate engaged once an interest is expressed. Do not leave this candidate waiting. When a real star surfaces and it is evident they are “the one,” keep the communication prompt and flowing with requests for information and interviews. In addition to keeping them warm, it creates opportunities for you to re-qualify their interest level and gauge other opportunities they have under consideration. Waiting to see if the grass is greener with another pool of candidates increases the likelihood that you will lose the passive candidate altogether.
3. Be Prepared To Compensate
Often, your biggest competitor for the passive candidate is not one of the other companies soliciting offers. It is the candidate’s current employer. Such top talent is not going to be allowed to go quietly. You can be sure that a counter-offer will be presented as soon as yours is made. In this competitive market you cannot get away with paying less salary because of options and upside. To attract high quality, you need to be aware of market compensation and structure your compensation package accordingly. A strong salary with options and a bonus will allow the candidate to resign without second thoughts.
Preparation is paramount when targeting the passive candidate. Before you do anything else, you must set the key skills for your role to recognize the variables that you can be open with. This allows you to quickly identify talented passive candidates to target them before others can. Being ready with your qualifying process gives you the ability to be swift and constant during engagement. And doing your research on market compensation gives the passive candidate the confidence to join your team, regardless of their current employer’s efforts to retain them.