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Passive job hunting: a contradiction in terms

passive job hunting

I was interviewed recently about the pros and cons of passive job hunting. But it got me thinking because "passive job hunting" is actually a contradiction in terms – it's tough to passively hunt. But that's fine as it's not actually you, the candidate, who is doing the hunting, its prospective employers who are hunting you out. The only passive job hunting a candidate can really do is to set up email alerts with job boards or an employer's careers sites, where jobs matching your criteria will be emailed to you. Unless you are actively going to promote yourself as Karalee Evans did, then it's about ensuring your digital footprint makes it as easy as possible for an employer to find you.

We work with clients to develop strategies to build their employer brand and target passive job seekers. By introducing social media as another channel to market, there are a number of ways to be more proactive in finding candidates.
  • The simplest way is take jobs to where potential candidates might be – a mountain to Mohamed approach. Twitter is a good example of this, its not a job board but if you added up all the jobs advertised on Twitter it would make it the fifth largest job board in the world.
  • An alternative is to adopting search methodologies as part of the recruitment process whereby the web is scoured for people who fit the profile they are looking for eg skills, qualifications, previous employers, awards, memberships, published papers, conferences attended, talks given, projects worked on, groups joined, etc… These tap into candidates' digital footprint where the information is readily available on line for a perspective employer to find.
  • At the most advanced end of the spectrum there is behavioural marketing. The technology is available for employers to match candidate skills with their interests which moves more towards identifying the cultural fit. This is done through marrying details from a candidate's digital footprint, such as skills or qualifications, to their internet activity with cookies. These are tags used to follow you around the internet, so every site visited and banner clicked on is recorded. Not many employers are at this end of the spectrum yet, but it is only a matter of time.

As social media is transforming the way we communicate so it is revolutionising how employers market themselves and jobs reach candidates. As more employers create strategies to engage the passive job seeker, so it is in everyone's best interests as potential candidates to  make sure that employers can let you know about that dream job you weren't looking for.

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