Passive job seeker needs to be your primary target audience member in employer branding.

Your recruitment marketing needs to take care of active job seekers.

If employer branding is too consumed with active job seekers, you’ll miss out on growing an audience of relevant talents who turn to you the day they become active job seekers.

It is too late to start growing awareness and building affinity at the recruitment campaign stage.

Why employer branding needs to focus on passive job seekers?

The more your organization struggles with the war for talent the less likely you are to win this war if you start working on it only once you start a recruitment process.

Talents who have the luxury of an abundance of options and the freedom of choice have made up their minds about their next likely place to work long before they become active job seekers. Your organization needs to be there, at the top of their mind once they start making career decisions.

Susanna Rantanen

Talents who have the luxury of an abundance of options and the freedom of choice have made up their minds about their next likely place to work long before they become active job seekers. Your organization needs to be there, at the top of their mind once they start making career decisions.

You will be too late if your focus is on active job seekers.

The difference between a passive and an active job seeker

I’m sure most of us are familiar with the terminology but do you take into account the behavioural difference between a passive and an active job seeker? Because there definitely is one, and understanding that has a sound impact on your success both in recruitment marketing and employer branding.

During my years working in HR and talent acquisition, I recall countless times when hiring managers told me they want the recruitment campaign to reach the passive job seekers.

The problem is that your recruitment messages are not relevant to passive job seekers.

The problem is that your recruitment messages are not relevant to passive job seekers.

Susanna Rantanen

A passive job seeker has no desire or need to make any sort of changes to their current professional status.

An active job seeker is actively on the lookout for new career opportunities. Their mind is activated to notice relevant recruitment messages and they proactively look for information matching their desires and interests.

If your need to hire should impact a passive job seeker, you need to convert that passive job seeker into your audience long before they start looking for new opportunities. And the messages and actions are very different from those taking place in a recruitment campaign.

Passive and active job seekers are not reached by same messages and information

What this information-filled era has done is take away our abilities to check out the information that lacks relevance. There are simply too many messages circling around for a human being to be able to receive them all.

That’s why most marketing exhausts the living day lights out of us. Each of us is an object of constant attempt to win our attention for something that we have no use for at this time.

And that’s why our brains are working overtime blocking most of these messages from our conscious minds.

It is very simple: a passive job seeker is not looking for a new job and is therefore 0% interested in recruitment messages from any company.

Susanna Rantanen

It is very simple: a passive job seeker is not looking for a new job and is therefore 0% interested in recruitment messages from any company. If you want to resonate with your passive target audience, your messages must be relevant to what they look for right now. It’s not a new job! What do you know and can share that could inspire, educate, entertain or simply grow their awareness of something?

Your recruitment marketing on the other hand must concentrate on how to make active job seekers aware of your opportunity and schedule for this process as well as excited to act on your recruitment messages.

Understanding how we make decisions as consumers and job seekers

Thinking about how we make purchase decisions as consumers is extremely comparable to how we make decisions as job seekers.

The more experienced we are in the job market, the less we make impulse decisions when it comes to choosing our next place to work.

Imagine investing in something important to you. Could be a home, a car, a trip of your dreams. An item you’ve saved up for a long time. Or something you need in your daily life but is going to eat up a chunk of your income.

You research your options and ask friends for recommendations. Most likely you google for other people’s experiences and user ratings. Over time, you’ll find some brands or companies popping up over and over again. You’ll use whatever information and testimonials they provide to help you to make a sound decision.

The more you hear about specific brands or companies, the more they stick to your memory. You’ll make decisions and cut down your options based on your gut feelings too. Eventually, you have your final 2-3 options and you are ready to choose The One.

When you are ready to move on, you are unlikely to accept other options at the last minute because with unknown options, there is always the risk of making a mistake.

That’s how we operate as consumers. Job seekers are consumers too.

Getting top of mind is one of your key goals in employer branding

“Top of mind” is probably very familiar term to you if you have been following or working in the employer branding landscape for sometime.

But what does top of mind mean?

Think about companies you personally fancy. How many companies did you spontaneously think about during the first second or two? That’s top of mind. And it’s only 2-3 names,

Yes, if you give it more time, minutes even, you’ll come up with more names. That’s the long list for the top of mind.

Getting top of mind, on the long list is the first goal in the process of employer branding. That’s the awareness stage. Your audience remembers you when they are actively aware of your presence. That means you actively remind them about your presence with your employer brand marketing.

Reaching that very top of mind is the second goal in the process of employer branding. That’s the actual brand affinity goal. Get there are you are winning in the war for talent.

You can probably imagine how this is not a result of a campaign and why it is too late to win someone’s heart if the first time they hear or experience you is your recruitment process. Which by the way, are known to generally be below the expectations in terms of the candidate’s experiences.

Learn more about how to transition your mind from recruiting (and active job seekers) to employer branding (and passive job seekers)

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