Target Passive Prospects With Employee Referrals

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Ryan Whetten

September 11, 2019

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Target Passive Prospects With Employee Referrals

In a fast-paced world, businesses who are able to adapt can not only survive, but thrive. Change is not always easy or straightforward but with ever-evolving behaviors and expectations from employees it is necessary. We live in a day and age of record-low unemployment which means that most of the best employees are already happily employed. They are not looking for a new career so to get their attention you are going to need to get creative. What if I told you that there was an underutilized resource at your disposal that would help you attract well-qualified candidates who tend to stay with the company longer? 

Breaking with tradition.

Traditional recruiting practices are almost all geared toward attracting those who are unemployed. With unemployment at 3.7% that becomes a real problem because most people who want a job already have one. To succeed in this environment requires a change in paradigms. Instead of looking for ways to attract unemployed candidates focus should be shifted into seeking passive candidates.  

Passive candidates are those who are already happily employed but they know a good opportunity when they see one. These candidates are not actively searching for a new career so job boards and recruiters have a hard time reaching them. You could try paid advertising but that can get expensive fast. The best way to reach passive candidates is through employee referrals.

When an employee reaches out to friends and posts job openings on social media their message carries the weight of their personal endorsement. This means that they can be even more impactful than corporate outreach. In highly competitive job markets well-qualified prospects who are transitioning to a new opportunity often receive multiple offers, so having an employee who can help you sell them on the idea of working for your company can be a huge benefit. 

How do you adapt your hiring process to meet the needs of passive candidates?

To be effective at attracting passive candidates requires a change in paradigm. Here are a few key points to consider. 

  1. You are selling them something. Passive candidates are already employed so to convince them to take a leap of faith and change companies might take a little persuasion. 
  2. Be flexible. Passive candidates may not want to jeopardize their current employment by taking time away from the office. Offering more flexible options like video interviews can be beneficial.
  3. Value referrals. When an employee makes a referral they are putting their reputation on the line so make sure these referrals come across as valued. Some companies will offer guaranteed interviews for referrals who are qualified as a way to show they are valued. 

It’s all about connection.

With referrals, you are hiring people who are already connected to the company. This can help the new hire feel like they are part of the family from the moment they start and it helps the referring employee increase their connection with the company as well. The best part about attracting passive candidates is that you are operating in a blue ocean of opportunity where there is far less competition. Trust your employees to help build the hive and reward them with some honey when they are successful.

Ryan Whetten Headshot

Ryan Whetten

Ryan Whetten is the Director of Marketing at the world’s most trusted referral platform.

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