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How to Source Passive Entry-Level Candidates

Keeping up with the demand for talented candidates is a challenge for recruiters under the best of circumstances. When it comes to sourcing entry-level candidates, the obstacles are even bigger. Most entry-level positions have higher-than-average turnover, making it a perpetual task to successfully find these candidates. Ensuring a steady supply of quality applicants requires a continuous strategy of promoting your organization's open opportunities. It’s important to catch the attention of passive candidates who are not yet actively visiting job boards and other common job-posting venues.

Consider some of the following techniques that have been proven effective for sourcing passive entry-level candidates.

Connect With Colleges and Universities to Source Passive Entry-Level Candidates

One of the most effective methods of creating and maintaining a candidate pipeline is to connect with colleges and universities located within a reasonable commuting distance of your office. Whether students are just starting their educational programs or they are approaching graduation, organizations can develop and market their employer brand, encouraging future applicants to learn more about available positions. Contact the career services office to learn more about partnership opportunities.

Consider Experiential Learning as a Sourcing Method for Passive Candidates

Partner with industry-related academic departments to expand learning experiences. Offer students tours and "day-in-the-life" job shadowing opportunities. Consider connecting students with your more seasoned employees who can offer mentorship sessions. These steps introduce current and future job-seekers to the company, making it far more likely that they will consider applying for available positions.

Career Fairs Help Identify Passive Candidates

Companies often decide to pass on college career fairs when they don't have any entry-level positions available. However, it’s important to never miss an opportunity to develop an applicant pipeline. These events are an excellent chance to promote the organization's employer brand and stay top-of-mind with students over a long period of time. Because many organizations participate, career fairs attract a broad range of students, from those who have just started college all the way to those approaching graduation.

Company Meet-and-Greets

Hosting on-campus company meet-and-greets is an opportunity for students to learn more about your organization's employer brand. These events typically consist of a short presentation by business leaders and/or recruiting staff on a topic of interest. Students then have a brief window of time to speak with a company representative one-on-one. Some use this time to learn more about the organization, while others request customized career advice. Be prepared to answer questions about the skills and experience your organization looks for when hiring new graduates.

The on-campus career services office is the best place to start with when it comes to hosting these events. The campus career advisors can offer guidance on when and where to hold the meet-and-greet based on the campus calendar. Ensure that students are aware of the opportunity by offering to print flyers for the school to post and distribute, and put together copy for email distribution lists, on-campus newsletters, event guides, and other publications geared to your target audience.

When possible, choose an informal setting for meet-and-greets, such as a student lounge or cafeteria. After speakers wrap up their remarks, lounges and cafeterias have plenty of space to spread out for one-on-one discussions. Snacks are always welcome when working with students, and it is helpful to bring plenty of business cards. If the organization has giveaways such as pens and magnets, bring them along as well.

Creative Methods of Online Passive Entry-Level Candidate Recruiting

There is more to online sourcing than posting positions on major job boards. The key to successfully capturing the attention of candidates who aren’t actively seeking a new position is to make professional connections through social media.

Contribute to Group Discussions to Attract Candidates

Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn offer group features that permit users to join for news and information about a topic of mutual interest. Participate in industry-related groups by leading discussions and sharing interesting details about the experience of working in the industry.

Use Networking Sites to Find Passive Entry-Level Candidates

At one time, connecting with like-minded individuals took significant effort. Today, it is possible to meet people with similar interests in minutes. A quick search online of sites like Meetup and Eventbrite brings up a list of networking opportunities that contain specified keywords. In addition, social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have events pages that highlight local gatherings. Consider participating in activities that are likely to attract potential candidates, and use the time to make new connections and gain referrals.

Many successful organizations also use these tools to hold regular events designed to attract people with the skills and interests that would make them a good fit for the organization. Examples include on-site lunch-and-learns, community service activities, workshops, and lectures. In addition to the stated purpose of the events or activities, attendees gain insight into the organization and prospective opportunities.

Of course, simply scheduling an event doesn't guarantee that anyone will participate. Once scheduled, promotion and marketing are critical. Create buzz around the office regarding your event and encourage staff members to invite friends and peers from their network. Share the information regarding your upcoming event on your social media pages. Where appropriate, include local colleges when making event announcements, as most schools have effective processes for keeping students updated on available networking opportunities.

Check Less Common Job Boards and Job-Seeker Services for Passive Candidates

Resumes posted on less-common job boards tend to be neglected by most organizations, reducing competition for these candidates. Try Craigslist - both to post positions and to review resumes - as well as other less popular job-posting sites like The Muse or Mediabistro.

Through on-campus events, professional networking, and other techniques for sourcing passive candidates, employers can build their brand as an organization that offers exciting opportunities. This branding serves the organization long-term, as making connections with passive job-seekers - even those who aren't looking for a position right away - increases the likelihood that they will consider applying for open positions in the future.

To keep track of any resumes you obtain from passive candidates, consider housing them in a database such as Symplicity Recruit that can be utilized for all of your entry-level recruiting needs.


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