Passive talent ─ what is it, and how can you secure it

    • Paul O’Loughlin

      Global Director of Agencies at Ubidy


      In the world of executive search and to a lesser extent recruitment, you will often hear the expression used “sourcing passive talent”. Well if you haven’t you are about to hear a lot about it because sourcing people is becoming more challenging as the global skills shortage bites harder!

      Passive talent refers to a collective of potential candidates who are not active job seekers, or who are job seekers… they just don’t know it yet! These are people who are usually gainfully employed and who are focused on their current job. Some are content but with the “right” approach they will consider moving. This is the realm that search consultants see themselves in. They are skilled operatives at working out “who’s who in the zoo”, and when an opportunity prevails that matches the background of “that” individual they will get a “left field” call from the search consultant. There are often well-researched lists of passive talent that predicate any search process and the search consultant involved if they are any good, will have a full brief on those individuals.

      So, whilst the person may not be “looking” they will be up for an unsolicited approach!

      Passive talent is becoming topical in today’s job market because skills are becoming more difficult to obtain as the competition for good people becomes more hotly contested. Globalisation has seen skilled labour become far more transient. People are willing to pick the family up and move interstate or overseas thus reducing the available talent in the domestic marketplace. Jobs themselves are changing rapidly as skills are being redefined. A skill may be prevalent in one place and not another. For instance, Cyber intelligence skills are found in abundance in Canberra but not Brisbane… go figure! Enterprise has therefore been forced to look towards new and innovative ways to identify and then source those skills through agile mechanisms that are quick and cost-effective. Let’s face it, if you are competing with a competitor for like skills in today’s job market it is often the company that gets to the candidate first who has the best chance of securing them.

      Disruption has begun to play a key role in all of this. Ai is becoming much more accepted as a means to target and engage with talent, in real-time. We all appreciate that in the main recruitment is, or should be a people’s game. However large parts of the recruitment process are becoming technologically driven! Isolating where the talent is, soliciting it, and then engaging with it has become a real art-form. The world of recruitment is changing and if talent acquisition teams don’t change with it, they will become obsolete as a talent sourcing mechanism for their organisation! Disruption is not a dirty word; it is a reality. Everything that we do is being challenged from buying holidays to hotel rooms, ordering a taxi or should I say Uber (They have done a great job institutionalising their brand as the vernacular). We want quicker, better for less. We want convenience and we want it now without having to pay an arm and a leg. Smart companies get this, and the rest can please themselves!

      At Ubidy we have spent 4 years developing a cloud-based solution that connects our clients with passive talent through an aggregation of talent scouts. In real time our “platform” enables a hiring manager or a talent acquisition professional to put a live role into a global marketplace and in real-time, the search consultants who are aware of available or passive talent are engaged… There is no advertising because passive talent does not respond to job advertisements, but there is engagement with candidates who the client would not otherwise have had access to!

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