Finding unfindable passive candidates

Finding unfindable passive candidates

In October 2006, The Economist ran an issue dedicated to The search for talent with its front cover displaying an oyster shell with a beautiful pearl inside, symbolising the challenge of sourcing hard to find talent. Inside the cover the sub headline stated:

'The world’s most valuable commodity is getting harder to find'

Fast forward to a post-recession world of 2015 and the same challenges and the value placed on being able to find 'unfindable' talent are as pressing as and arguably are, set to become more important than ever before.

What was clear then, as now, is that sourcing more and better talent than competitors gives an undoubted edge and there is no silver bullet or simple solution to resolving the talent shortage and attracting talent, especially much needed passive candidates in a 'candidate-poor' environment. The perennial challenges facing recruiters such as cost, time to hire and access to sufficient volumes of talent and skills, added with current market conditions, mean exploring new ways of sourcing passive jobseekers, beyond the traditional employee referral schemes, recruitment consultancies and traditional professional network sites, is now, not a nice to have - but essential.

"The war for talent is over, and the talent won."1

With unemployment in the UK being at its lowest and vacancies being at their highest for some years2, the available pool of active jobseekers has shrunk and the need to tap into passive jobseekers is more pressing than ever. With particular skills, particularly in the tech sector becoming increasingly more in demand, 'talent' has more choice and can be more selective in who they decide to work for. The power shift to a 'candidate in control' dynamic was recently summed in the above revised version of the arguably overly and oft quoted McKinsey statement and it would appear that the 'job seeker' has been replaced by the 'candidate'. It would seem that, we are all candidates now, just at different stages of the job seeker journey.

Recruiters become Marketers - the right job, in the right place at the right time

Compounding the talent shortage in a post-recession economy is an ever-fragmented digital world where candidates consume media and information about their industries (and indeed employers and their Employer Value Propositions (EVPs) from a multitude of sources). Targeting and more importantly engaging with candidates requires an approach, perhaps more typically associated with the world of marketing and their approach to consumers on their journey from awareness, to action to longer-term relationships and advocacy.

Recruiters have always engaged with passive jobseekers - this is certainly not new and they have arguably always been marketers, utilsing similar tools to target and engage with their common audience: people. However what has perhaps shifted is that candidates now expect employers to be present where they themselves are consuming media. Research from Monster has shown that candidates are looking to engage with employers on social media and at least 30% form negative opinions of employers if they do not have a social presence or offer some form of online social interaction3.

The socialisation of a Job Board

For many years the death of the job board has been regularly decreed and yet in 2015 it's clear the job board is a key platform to engage with active jobseekers and has a valuable role to play in talent acquisition. At Monster, the founding mission was to 'never settle' and acknowledging the need to constantly evolve in order to remain relevant; the site has continually invested in solutions to ensure that its customers had access to not only active candidates but passive candidates. Whether that be with the CAN (Career Ad Network) product where jobs are placed in front of passive jobseekers, in a targeted way via display banner advertising, or the recently launched Social Job Ad products, which enables Monster client postings to be placed in the Twitter stream of relevant passive candidates, reaching and connecting with talent has been a key offering of the Monster portfolio.

The Social Web and the future of social recruiting via TalentBin

One thing that is becoming more evident is that the way in which talent has become 'discoverable' has changed significantly over the last 20 years. Firstly we had Job Boards which became a central source for candidates to engage with job content online. Secondly came LinkedIn, whose innovation was to expand from active candidates to passive candidates by allowing candidates to upload profiles under the concept of a professional networking site, before providing access to those profiles to recruiters.

But then in 2006, we saw a splintering of professional activity on the web which has caused the need to focus on explicit activity, to shift to now focus on rich volumes of 'implicit' activity. This is particularly apparent when it comes to high quality, hard to find tech talent.

Tech Talent

Tech talent rarely actively seeks new positions and typically has sparsely updated LinkedIn profiles, making them extremely hard to find and connect with. Yet they spend their days leaving huge amounts of rich professional activity across the rest of the internet - participating in social coding websites like GitHub, answering technical questions on Stack Overflow, attending local Java meetings organised through, or even just tweeting about what they do professionally on Twitter.

TalentBin by Monster allows recruiters to easily make use of these rich professional activities from relevant sites; making sense of candidate activity, and compiling those details into a rich professional profile, complete with multiple methods of communicating with these candidates through their preferred medium which is managed using a fully trackable CRM system.

The next evolution of finding 'unfindable' passive talent is moving from a closed professional networking site, where there may well be incomplete profiles, to the open web where a rich professional and real-time profile can be accessed and provided.



2. ONS April 2015
3. Monster internal research to 5,000 Jobseekers, 2014

For more information on TalentBin by Monster visit:

For more information on Monster Social Job ads visit:

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