5 Ways to Find Edtech Candidates Who Aren’t Looking

Hiring & Recruiting

5 Ways to Find Edtech Candidates Who Aren’t Looking

By Sam Peterson     Sep 11, 2018

5 Ways to Find Edtech Candidates Who Aren’t Looking

This article is part of the guide: Finding the Right Talent in the Edtech World.

How do you attract your ideal candidate if that person isn’t actively searching for employment? A candidate can become an applicant at any moment, so you need to be ready when that happens. In fact, if you’re doing your job well, you may actually cause it to happen.

But let’s start with a reality check. The term “passive job seeker”—referring to a potential hire who’s currently employed at one company but may consider a move to another if the right opportunity presents itself—is a bit contradictory and somewhat outdated. Forcing all candidates to fit neatly into one of two theoretical groups attaches the unfair and inaccurate label of passivity to a population of actively (and, for all you know, happily) employed people. It also distracts you from the primary objective of your work: turning all qualified candidates on the open job market into your satisfied employees.

Best not to divide your attention. As Mark Phillips, founder and CEO at HireEducation, Inc., says: “I tend not to distinguish between the two. Anybody that has skills and is mindful of their career path should always be open to opportunities. They may consider themselves active or inactive at any given time.” To put it a bit more bluntly, “As a hiring manager, my job is to add people to my company. I should be on the radar of qualified talent and nurturing those relationships at all times. You can’t schedule opportunity. Always be hiring.”

If you’re hoping to add top talent to your roster, you must think of all candidates as potential hires. So, let’s consider how you might adjust your strategy to ensure that all qualified candidates know who you are, what you do, and that you want to hire them when they are ready. Here are five ways to "always be hiring"—and potentially turning up candidates that didn't even know they wanted to make a move.

1. Sell Your Organization

Not literally, of course. But as Mark Phillips suggests, handle your hiring pipeline the same way you do your sales pipeline. That isn’t to say that you should be “pitching” potential candidates, but rather continually building up your brand by telling a compelling and authentic story. Where do you fit in the edtech landscape? How are you helping to solve the problems that students and educators face? How are your customers benefiting by using your products or services? Why do your employees want to work for you? Your brand’s narrative should answer all of these questions in a natural, credible way. Broadcast a message that makes a clear case for all the advantages you can offer.

2. Include All Stakeholders

To cast the widest net possible, current employees, customers, and potential candidates should all be a part of your ongoing brand narrative and a key factor in your recruitment efforts. Do you provide a unique and much-needed service to your clients as well as a sense of belonging and importance to your employees? They should all be singing your praises loudly, such that new candidates are naturally drawn into your orbit. Encourage them to share their opinions publicly—through testimonials, interviews, product reviews, social media posts, surveys—and invite others to join the conversation. Remember that your next potential hire is out there somewhere; they just need to be engaged. Be the kind of company that people long to join.

3. Humanize Your Brand

Make your presence known by creating and sharing authentic content with your community as often as you can. This need not always be professional-grade or even serious material; let the spirit of your company stand out. (Check out this video Mark posted on LinkedIn recently as a great example of a brief, no-frills glimpse into the inner workings of HireEducation.) Yes, targeted ads can certainly help. But authentic content can do a lot to to boost your brand, which is the key to accessing talent—especially those who aren’t actively pursuing a new job.

4. Dare to Be Bold

In addition to the trusted channels that all companies use to expand their reach—paid advertising, social media, listservs, internal referrals, networking events, jobs fairs, and yes, our very own Jobs Board—it pays to be creative and take risks on occasion, too. Open company happy hours are an excellent, informal way to get acquainted with the friends of current team members and other qualified candidates.

And why not take it one step further?

Recently, HireEducation invited a group of applicants to attend an after-work event during which they made real, live recruiting calls. Though Mark reports he was sweating bullets at the start—and yes, did have to make a few diving saves throughout the evening—he says he absolutely loved the experience and ended up making two hires through this trial-by-fire experience. Now, he hopes to turn this into a monthly event. Such an unorthodox approach to recruitment can give both you and your potential hires a real sense of how well they fit the job. It can also make for some great stories, which, in turn, further supports awareness of your brand.

5. Communicate, Clarify, Close

Communication is everything. No matter the position you’re seeking to fill, the posted description should be meaningful and set clear expectations for the potential hire. Do not post an employment opportunity until you're sure of the need and all internal stakeholders agree on how the position should be filled. Once that's done, make the posting visible and accessible everywhere you can. Make the application process as user-friendly as possible (especially important if you hope to nab those happily employed folks who can afford to be selective), and don’t forget to follow up with promising candidates in a timely manner. Finally, be ready to make a decision; few experiences can so thoroughly dash a candidate’s enthusiasm than a drawn-out hiring process.

And some parting advice from Mark: “Have a clear process and let it be known. Timing is everything, so move quickly. Decide fast if it’s a no/maybe or a f*** yes, and then move.”

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

Next Up

Finding the Right Talent in the Edtech World

More from EdSurge

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up