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Recruiters are under a lot of pressure to find the perfect candidate for a multitude of jobs. Often they have more positions open then they’re able to fill with the candidates on their books and so they need to look elsewhere for people with the right qualifications to offer to their clients. This need to fill positions often means that recruiters are required to approach people who are not actively job seeking, otherwise known as passive candidates. Depending on the manner in which they do this it may either be considered to be ‘CV snatching’ or else just good sense.
The benefits of contacting passive candidates.
Once upon a time recruiters would have contacted prospective clients via phone or email but these days the contact can be targeted in a different way and messages sent more impersonally using mediums such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a really helpful tool and has amazing potential to find candidates for hard to fill positions. Since LinkedIn introduced Spotlights, it has become even easier to identify talent and target the people that are most likely to respond to recruiter requests. Spotlights identify candidates who have indicated that they would be happy to hear from recruiters, which is a great help.
A simple keyword search of LinkedIn profiles brings you to a place where a wealth of other CVs lies enables recruiters to find appropriate candidates who possess the relevant qualifications for a job. There is even a facility that allows recruiters to view the people who have begun to complete an application but haven’t finished it. These candidates are often the most in demand and are approached by talent scouts before they are able to submit an application. The tool enables recruiters to identify and then reach out to these ‘in demand’ people.
Using LinkedIn constructively opens up a fantastic platform for building strategic relationships. Linking with colleagues past and present as well as people in related industries gives a recruiter legitimacy and makes them a more attractive option to future candidates.
The definition of a CV snatcher is someone working in recruitment who scours LinkedIn looking for and contacting prospective candidates to fill positions. A CV snatcher will usually have lots of jobs to fill and will target potential employees aggressively and indiscriminately when their profile even loosely fits the job specification. Often they will have no valuable connections on LinkedIn, only artificial links made as part of their targeting process.
This lack of valuable contribution and unsolicited targeting can be seen as nuisance tactics, in the same way as spam email is. Linking with people simply to ask them to check out a job that they are ill-suited to or not interested in can be very annoying for the recipient. It can also be damaging to the recruiter’s reputation. A more constructive recruiter will add value for prospective candidates by sharing articles and news relating to their area of expertise or their industry. They may also add comments and constructive contributions to online conversations.
How to avoid being labelled a CV snatcher
The targeting of passive candidates is a recognised strategy and not always unwelcome assuming it is done in a proper and respectful way. The reality is that there is increasing competition for people with the right skills for a job. For example, an event recruitment company may identify and engage with candidates who may otherwise not apply, in order to remain competitive in the field by attracting the best talent. However, valuable passive candidates receive a lot of spam due to their desirability, and so to stand out as a recruiter who is more legitimate and worth talking to, recruiters need to think carefully about how they approach the candidate.
Rather than approaching a candidate and giving a hard sell about the job they are keen to recruit to, it’s better to contact them and ask if they’d like to discuss their future career plans. This lets them feel that they are being offered expert advice and given options, rather than being railroaded into a specific application.
Recruiters can get themselves a bad reputation for being untruthful. Dishonesty works both ways. When telling someone they’ll be perfect for the job, is this actually the case or are there just a few features on the CV that match the person spec? Recruiters should aim to build a reliable reputation. They too should be on their guard though when searching out suitable candidates as LinkedIn profiles include a liberal sprinkling of lies. Try to read between the lines as exaggerated and even fraudulent claims are not uncommon.
The take-home message is that the targeting of passive candidates is acceptable practice when done in the right way. Avoid being a CV snatcher and contribute value to the industry. Offer professional advice, share valuable information online and utilise legitimate contacts to make links rather than targeting people simply because some of their skills match the vacant job.