Are Passive Tech Candidates the Secret to Tech Recruitment Success?

20 July 2021

There are huge amounts of people currently looking for a job, whether they’re ready for a natural change after a year of staying put due to uncertainty, are changing career paths or are simply ready for a new challenge. At any one time, there are thousands of people searching for a new job. As these people are actively looking for a job, chances are they’ll be in the right places to find these opportunities. They’ll be looking on job boards, utilising LinkedIn for networking and job applications, amongst other methods of finding openings. However, when the jobs market is as competitive as the tech recruitment landscape is right now, the number of active candidates is incredibly limited.

As there are currently more job openings than candidates in the tech sector, you can guarantee that those looking for jobs are probably applying for many different opportunities because there are so many available. They will also be contacted by many other recruitment professionals about vacancies and prospects; they could have multiple calls a day. So, as you can expect, these individuals who are openly looking will be swept up almost as soon as they put their CV into the world.

With so many companies competing for the same candidates, there are limited possibilities for scaling tech businesses to connect with tech talent applying for jobs. From startups and scaleups to larger enterprises, the competition is heating up. However, with a large majority of these candidates choosing to apply for the more high-profile, cool startups or huge tech players, more niche scaleups and lesser-known tech businesses have to think outside of the box regarding their tech recruitment strategy.

This is where passive candidates come in.

Right now, there are thousands of skilled tech candidates out there who are not looking to change employers; but is that because the right opportunity hasn’t yet landed in their lap?

Twelve months ago, the thought of moving on to a new job was a huge risk and not something many were willing to take a chance on. However, in a candidate-driven market, there is much less risk involved with leaving your employer. Employees, especially in the tech sector, realise that there are more opportunities out there for them than ever before but may need to be faced with the right one to make a move. By reaching these passive candidates while the recruitment market is so hot, you could open their eyes to a brilliant opportunity and find talent who feels as passionately about your brand and mission as you do.

Passive candidates can often make better hires. Instead of being desperate to leave their current employer or facing unemployment, they’re excited by your company and mission; something about the opportunity has promoted them to risk leaving their employer’s security. This must mean something.

How do I attract passive candidates?

Most tech jobs are currently advertised online, but there are specific websites and social media platforms that individuals would use if they were looking for a job. For example, LinkedIn, Indeed or other job boards are the go-to places for those looking for a job; if you were looking for a job, there’s no doubt these are the places you’d look. Similarly, Google Search ads are based on keywords, so they’ll only show for users with the intent to apply, those who are searching specifically for these jobs.

 Recruitment marketing professionals can use online spaces to attract passive tech candidates too. However, instead of using the platforms, people would automatically look for a job. You need to use the platforms where they’re spending time. These may not be the apparent recruitment platforms but more social media networks, forums and consumer-based marketing methods. If you’re attempting to raise employer brand awareness and appeal to top talent, then the priority should be to be seen. If only people actively looking for jobs see your ads or know about you, your talent pool is limited. Placing advertisements and sponsored content via digital attraction campaigns on websites and platforms that gain traction, from Facebook and Instagram to Google’s Display Network, will help with employer brand awareness and capture candidates who aren’t currently applying for new roles. With the right creative and messaging, which will come from your employer brand and market research knowledge, your ads can stand out on feeds and resonate with the right people.

How do I ensure I’m attracting people with the right skills?

Firstly, you need to ensure your message is right. Next, you need to consider your employer brand and what differentiates you from the competition. These pillars will form the basis of your messaging. Finally, you may have to segment your messaging based on different candidate personas and profiles to ensure that various elements of your EVP or tone of voice will appeal. Take the time to think about your ideal candidate and how you can best appeal to them; then, with a bit of creative flair, you should be able to bring your EVP pillars to life in a way that catches the eye of candidates.

Then through programmatic advertising and paid media, you can target based on skillset, educational background, employment history and other qualities which are desirable in your ideal candidate. Of course, some platforms like LinkedIn will provide you with better targeting capabilities than others like TikTok. However, with an open mind and a bit of creativity, you can raise employer brand awareness with qualified people and encourage more applications from a passive candidate market.

Through talent mapping and market research, you can find out more about your target market, from where they’re based to the skills and qualifications you’ll need for the role. You can also research to establish where they spend time and their interests. For example, you may find that software developers spend a lot of time on Reddit or Quora looking for answers to problems through talking to suitable candidates. Then you can advertise using these platforms to ensure you’re reaching candidates in the digital spaces where they spend time. For example, consumer-driven advertising platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even Google Display ads or even complementary networks will help you reach candidates who aren’t in the middle of a job search. Plus, you can think outside of traditional social media. For example, utilising Spotify advertising, radio advertisements, or even youtube ads can help you reach out to candidates who aren’t thinking about leaving their current role.

What are the advantages of attracting passive tech candidates?

Expands your talent pool

Reaching passive candidates means you’re reaching a more significant number of people, rather than just the select few searching for a new role. You’re able to show a wide range of individuals with the right skills and experience what makes you a great employer and advertise the opportunities available, meaning that those who haven’t even considered moving roles may be tempted to apply.

Improves diversity

Using digital attraction can help you to improve diversity as when you reach more people, your job ads will be seen by a greater variety of people. Almost everyone is on social media or uses the internet, and this means that they have a chance of seeing your ad. Granted, your targeting will limit your diversity slightly as you may be focusing on a specific region or skill set. Still, you’re more likely to find a diverse range of candidates by tapping into the passive market than advertising in the same old spaces.

Plus, you could find a more diverse skillset by broadening your search. You may have candidates who have skills you didn’t even know your business could benefit from, proving vital as you scale.

Lowers your recruitment costs

Advertising a job can be expensive. Using job boards, recruiters, and other advertising techniques means that the average cost of hiring a new employee in the UK is £3,000. Raising employer brand awareness amongst a passive candidate market can help you to reduce this cost. By promoting your employer brand on social media, you’ll be simultaneously building a talent pool. This talent pool may not apply for a job with you immediately but will once a position becomes available that sparks their interest. So by reaching a passive market with your job ads and employer brand comms, you’re not only helping to fill immediate vacancies but ensuring you’re top of mind for future hires, helping your overall recruitment strategy.

Less competition

Candidates who are applying for jobs will not only apply for your vacancy. You’d be naïve to think they weren’t applying and even interviewing for other roles. Therefore, there’s increased competition which means more negotiations for salaries and benefits, more necessity to stand out from your competitors and potentially higher costs. You may have to restart your recruitment process if a candidate turns your offer down. As they’re not actively looking for work, the passive candidate probably isn’t interviewing with anyone else and won’t drop out of the recruitment process because they’ve had another job offer. They’re applying because they’re excited about your proposition, and it’s enough to tempt them away from their current position.

At Talent Works, we’re experts in recruiting tech talent and have recruitment strategies that can reach both active and passive candidates. As a tech RPO provider, we help scale tech businesses of all sizes to refine their employer brands, negotiate digital attraction campaigns and source the best tech talent. Our in-house insight, recruitment, creative and digital teams collaborate to form agile and innovative tech recruitment strategies to fulfil in-demand roles even in a competitive recruitment market.

To find out how our flexible approach to tech RPO can help your business, contact us and start a conversation. Or take a look at some examples of our work.

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