4 Secrets For Hiring Passive Candidates For Your Tech Startup

November 1, 2014

8:00 am

You’ve heard of the value passive candidates bring to a startup. Already seasoned in the industry, these candidates possess critical wisdom and experience that can help your tech startup get off the ground.

So can a startup market itself to attract passive candidates who already have jobs? Yes!

It’s easier to attract passive candidates for tech startups than you may think. A study found 36 percent of employed Americans want to quit their current job for a job that allows them to be more creative.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. They’re passive online, so you should be active.

Groups on social media platforms attract passive candidates because they allow the candidate to keep their eyes open for other industry opportunities with more attractive benefits in a non-threatening place. LinkedIn surveyed 18,000 full-time employees and found they are interested in better work/life balance and opportunities for advancement.

Passive candidates usually join professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. At some point, they may forget to engage in conversations as they are swept into chaos in their current position, however, when they start participating more actively, it might be a sign they are looking to see what other career options are available.

If you notice a tech professional engaging and leading conversations, connect with them and mention opportunities at your company. If you think they’d be a good fit, tell them about the benefits you offer and encourage them to apply. LinkedIn found 45 percent of workers are open to talking to recruiters about new opportunities.

  1. Use different visual media to trigger emotions.

Visuals have a powerful effect on consumers in advertising, so why not take those methods and apply them to advertising your company to passive candidates?

Passive candidates aren’t likely to engage employers in conversations about what it’s like to work at their company since they aren’t actively looking for a new workplace. Instead, they need a new method of persuasion, one they can encounter passively.

Use visual social media to showcase your company culture visually like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. You can post photos of celebrations or unique office happenings on Instagram or six second videos of employee shenanigans on Vine. Show you are a culture that allows your employees to play, which inspires innovation and creative thought — something tech candidates value.

In fact, a recent study found looking at attractive faces triggers μ-opioid receptors (MOR), which are a part of the brain’s reward system that also control attachment and bonding.

Sharing photos of your fun workplace atmosphere and employees having fun will trigger an emotional response in passive candidates making them want to be a part of your team.

  1. “Hangout” in a no pressure environment.

As video chat increases in popularity, Google Hangouts might be the way to go when connecting with passive candidates because it offers a no pressure environment to talk about shared interests. Through Hangouts you can meet virtually with other industry professionals to build relationships through non-job-search-related discussions.

Dell uses this method as a way to connect with it’s audience. Anyone can ask Dell questions on Twitter and Google+ using the hashtag #DellHangout. Dell schedules a hangout to answer these questions face-to-face on everything from tech problems to questions about products.

You and other techies and geek out over new products and industry topics. When it comes time to hire, you can contact your Hangout friends through an email or private message to let them know you’d like them to join your company.

  1. Go where the passive candidates are.

Believe it or not, passive candidates are registered users on job boards. CareerBuilder found 77 percent of its users are full-time employed workers who are open to a new job.

You can use general job search platforms, but not all candidates will have the skills your startup seeks. Three in five recruiters see a significant skills gap between company needs and job candidates’ skills, according to CareerBuilder’s survey.

Target a places where you’ll find more passive candidates specific to the tech industry. Use tech job boards, forums, or websites where programmers share ideas and information.

Once you connect with passive candidates, enticing them to join your team might be easier than you think. Build and maintain relationships over industry discussions so when it comes time to hire, you already have a candidate in mind.

What are some other secrets for attracting passive candidates for your tech startup?

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Tim Cannon the vice president of product management and marketing at HealthITJobs.com, a free job search resource that provides health IT professionals access to nearly 2,000 industry health IT jobs at home or on the go. Connect with Tim and HealthITJobs.com on LinkedIn.

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