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In Low Unemployment, How Do We Reach Passive Hospitality Candidates?

We’re just one month into 2019 and the U.S. unemployment rate is still a big disappointment to recruiters everywhere. That’s because we’re at a 49-year low of just 3.9 percent. That means it’s slim pickings for human resource teams hunting for candidates for the hospitality industry. But we do have some good news to share. ADP recently released a study showing that 42 percent of employees would consider talking about a new job, even when not actively looking for one. We call these candidates “passive,” and they are a boon to HR and recruiters trying to find solid workers in the hospitality field. Let’s look at some creative suggestions for reaching this passive audience in the new year.

Seeking the Passive Job Candidate

Obviously, the passive job candidate is not going to answer even the most cleverly written job board advertisement. But given ADP’s survey, it sounds like these candidates will at least listen to what you have to say. But reaching them can be a problem. That is unless recruiters start thinking outside the traditional metrics of candidate contact. Consider these suggestions when trying to reach passive candidate:

Use networking to your advantage and get out there and meet people.

Some of the best events are through the local chamber of commerce, but really, every interaction with people is an opportunity to build your organizational brand and find new candidates. There is also a nationwide network of Meetups, which means there are a lot of events and gatherings of like-minded people happening in your region. If you’re working for a restaurant, look for Meetups for people who want to learn to cook. Or, look for career or job skill Meetups to find people.

LinkedIn is an amazing resource.

While the service is free, there is also a paid service that allows you to email complete strangers that meet a specific job profile. You can also see shared connections, so if you find a possible passive candidate, you can reach out and mention you know some of the same people. LinkedIn is a highly recommended professional resource to reach passive job candidates.

Change your pitch.

By this, we mean changing how you talk about the job to other people. The passive candidate actually needs to be wooed a little; remember they’ll listen but may not be quite ready to jump ship. Try talking to them about the job benefits from their perspective. Why would they want to make the switch? What is your company’s unique value proposition and how could it help the candidates you’re targeting?

Stay in touch.

Remember, just because the candidate isn’t ready to leave their job now it doesn’t mean things won’t change in three or six months. This is why documenting your conversations with candidates, tracking resumes or LinkedIn profiles, and then setting regular reminders to stay in touch with the best talent is so important. Using an applicant tracking system (ATS) is a good way to set reminders and stay in touch for the long haul.

Another good suggestion for reaching more candidates is to connect with our top recruiters at Gecko Hospitality. We’ve made it our business to get to know the best talent.


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