Networking Plays Key Role in Passive Recruiting

Picture a dedicated IT professional at his desk, head down and hard at work. The phone rings: It’s a competitor trying to lure the employee away with an enticing offer…a better job.

Passive candidates — those who are employed in the industry and are not actively seeking opportunities elsewhere — are not uncommon in the information technology industry, said Brian Dennis, regional vice president for the Midwest at Technisource, an IT solutions provider.

“With the increased usage of the Internet and significant improvement of technology over the years, [passive recruiting] has definitely become more of a trend,” Dennis said. “[These candidates] don’t have their resume posted on a Web site per se, and they’re quite happy with their current role but might be persuaded away from their current role for something better.”

According to Dennis, passive candidates have always been the most sought after because they typically have a higher skill set.

“The reason they’re [happily] employed is they’re an asset and happy with [their work] in general,” Dennis said.

The task of finding passive candidates has long plagued recruiters, especially given today’s shortage of highly skilled workers in the IT field. Dennis said the process has become easier with the rise of the Internet.

“Through professional networking sites like LinkedIn — a great place to meet [potential candidates] — [recruiters] can strike up a conversation and check to see if they’re happy,” Dennis said.

A number of IT companies have formed networking groups on Web sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find new, highly skilled passive candidates.

While Dennis stressed the importance of professional networking, he also highlighted the value inherent in personal networking, as well. He said attending non-recruiting events such as seminars and conferences facilitates conversations and establishes new contacts that come in handy when a company is looking to hire.

Another recent trend is recruiting passive candidates through a variety of industry blogs that cater to the skill set or methodology of a range of IT professionals.

Once highly skilled IT professionals are identified, companies must be willing to entice these workers with perks such as better compensation and leading-edge technology.

“In general, most technical professionals want to improve their skills and knowledge within the IT space, so leading-edge technology is a driving factor [for them],” Dennis said. “[What typically appeals to them is] when a company is on the leading edge of technology [and constantly] improving and upgrading emerging technologies.”

– Deanna Hartley, dhartley@certmag.com

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Deanna Hartley

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