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Recruiters are often too fixated on using job boards as their main go to for sourcing candidates. However, this approach means a huge amount of the market is missed – passive candidates, by definition, do not advertise themselves. They are therefore not easily found – and often they do not wish to be found, either.

Although they are not actively looking, most passive candidates are open minded to discussing a new opportunity. They are more difficult to prise out but the reward is worth it as they often represent the best talent in the marketplace. They tend to not move roles so frequently allowing them to be able to build a strong track record of achievements over a period of time and so it is worth taking the time to identify and approach passive candidates.

What methods can you use to explore this vein of often very rich talent?

Here are a few tips:

Build and maintain an extensive industry network

Having a direct route to the market that you wish to cultivate is invaluable. Growing your network and gaining a real inside track to that area is the best place to start. Alternatively (or additionally!) hire a recruitment consultant who is already networked and expert in that market:

Use a specialist recruiter

Using a specialist recruiter for this means that you are tapping into someone who has operated in a small field over a long period of time, and will have a level of market insight that a hiring manager might struggle to gain in every field they may need to explore.

Ask for referrals

This approach works best with a solid personal network and provides a rich source of personally endorsed potential candidates. If you work with a specialist recruiter, they will have a good and trusted network who can introduce passive candidates who may otherwise be invisible to the market.

Identifying and targeting competitors

With a new role, mapping out and targeting competitors is always a useful exercise and will provide a focused approach list.

Joining targeted groups, forums & discussion groups

Specialist groups help you reach people that do not have a prominent online presence elsewhere. A recent foray into recruiting EV technical specialists was a proving ground for this – the EV domain is relatively new and forums and discussion groups are really on the rise. You can learn about the market issues and trends, and identify who the influencers and experts are.

Novel forums for approaches made/messaging

This especially works well in the tech space and the forums can include social media but less mainstream specialist sites like GitHub/AngelList/stackoverflow, etc are where many tech people hang out.

If you’re a hiring manager looking to recruit into a new tech specialism and would like to know more about how we might be able to help, please let us know!