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The Passive Candidate Pool Is More Relevant Than Ever — How to Capitalize on It

This article was originally published on June 2, 2020 in Staffing Industry Analysts, The Staffing Stream. Find the original publication here.

There’s no question that COVID-19 has changed everyone’s world, toppling some staffing agencies along the way. Of course, while many businesses have been upended, others are actually thriving. According to many in the staffing industry, requisitions are still out there if you have the right mix of clients, so the good news is that thriving is not out of the question.

Perhaps the tougher news for many is that regardless of clients, a business-as-usual approach to surviving the current pandemic is not an option. Even if your recruitment business is strongly positioned, continuing to operate as if nothing has changed will certainly not lead your organization to any long-term success. In this brave new world, every recruitment firm must consider new and innovative approaches to almost every aspect of the business, including candidate sourcing.At this point, an intelligent recruitment platform has become business critical for staffing companies.

Here are five ways to survive and thrive in the post COVID-19 recruitment era based on these changing dynamics:

  1. Embrace The Opportunity (and The Passive Talent Pool!) Passive candidates represent 70% of the global workforce. These are arguably some of the best and most employable people on the planet. When unemployment rates were historically low, getting those people onboard was extremely challenging, requiring the perfect mix of money, benefits, and flexibility, etc., just to get a candidate to talk. But, with so much unsettling economic news and unemployment now reaching historic highs, conversations with such top talent picks are easier to initiate.
  2. Strategy Must Change, But Certain Principles Remain at Play. Remember, the number one reason people change jobs is the desire for an opportunity to succeed both professionally and personally. That hasn’t changed; but what that might look like to any individual candidate in a post COVID-19 world certainly has. Safety, health, and flexibility, for example, are more critical than ever. This is a great opportunity to engage great candidates who were previously unavailable. Make the most of the opportunity by grounding conversations around the candidate’s (and employer’s) newly shifting reality.
  3. Referrals Rule The Day. If your business is doing well and you’re able to present good opportunities, pursuing referrals from employees will yield hires that are ten times more successful than those that can be found through simple job portals.
  4. Leverage Technology and Automate. If your organization has been stuck in the past, this is a great time to update your tool set. The most intelligent hiring platforms will be AI-enabled, highly automated, and capable of presenting lists of matching passive candidates as well as active ones. If you’re thinking about digging deeper and automating your employee referral and awards process, for example, you’re on the right track.
  5. Your Branding in The Market Still Matters. Passive candidates are more open to conversations in today’s environment. But, once those conversations are initiated, one of the first things those candidates will do is visit company websites, LinkedIn profiles, and Glassdoor reviews to see where the rubber meets the road. Now is NOT the time to let branding slip through the cracks.

Finding a silver lining amidst today’s global crisis is an impossible task. But, at the very least, this pandemic has forced many heads out of the sand, as we must now reconsider how we can do business most efficiently. By making the most of this opportunity’s uninvited knocking, staffing organizations can initiate conversations with talent that was previously unattainable. All that’s left to do is make a great first impression when the door opens.

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