Passive STEM Talent Are Ideal Hires – And More Accessible Than You Think

STEM candidates are hard to find and job openings take the longest to fill of all job categories. With many companies still adapting to STEM employees, these positions also experience higher-than-average turnover.1 According to the AllSTEM 2020 SCALE, top science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent are off the market in less than 10 days – and over two-thirds of them don’t even use job boards.2

Many organizations have invested more resources into recruiting passive STEM talent. Passive candidates aren’t disinterested, rather actively looking to improve on workforce goals and objectives. Seeking out passive STEM talent effectively requires showcasing the employment brand and experience. These are major aspects of an effective STEM sourcing strategy. For the third successive year, research has found that nearly 60% of employees are planning on leaving their jobs within 12 months.3 Strategic Hiring Managers and Recruiters know it’s smart to build visibility with this transient, hungry, and motivated passive talent. Data shows that passive candidates perform 9% better than unemployed new hires, and are 25% more likely to stay in an organization. Passive candidates are more selective about accepting an employment offer, more honest about their compatibility and interest in the employment opportunity, and may have been specifically sought out by Recruiters for best-fit opportunities.4 So, how are these candidates surfaced when they aren’t actively looking? Here are three ways to entice STEM talent to come out and seek new work opportunities:

Enlist Employees as Corporate Champions

It is commonplace to seek consumer reviews before making final decisions about almost anything today. Feedback found on Yelp, Amazon, Glassdoor, and other review pages impact decision making now more than ever before.

Internal employees are experts on the employment experience in which they work daily, and can effectively articulate that experience. Employees are also great vehicles to tell others about an organizations’ employment experience. Enable and mobilize your organization to share employment experiences in the appropriate mediums.

Research shows that 80% of an individual’s decision whether or not to apply to a given job is based on information from sources other than the employer, such as Glassdoor reviews from previous and current employees, employees’ LinkedIn profiles, and word-of-mouth from friends or professional contacts who know employees.5

Exhibit elements of the organizations corporate culture that are interesting and attractive to targeted STEM networks. Seek opportunities to connect with STEM talent that correlate with the organizations’ values. Explore the feasibility of flex time, freelancing, or telecommuting.  Perhaps it’s working in a dog-friendly office for a pet food manufacturer, actively contributing to healthcare initiatives with an insurance organization, or working directly with diversity and inclusion consortiums in urban communities. These branding techniques will help attract and retain STEM talent within any organization. STEM candidates are attracted to an organization of shared passion, value, and opportunity, not merely a skills match for a paycheck.

Be a Destination for Success

Be a destination of choice for passive STEM talent and position the organization as cutting edge, growing, with unique educational, volunteer, and advancement opportunities. When seeking software developers or other IT talent, entice candidates with a renowned keynote speaker for a public lunch and learn. Want to add to your stable of amazing analysts? Consider hosting an after-hours open house event or organize webinars that invite top talent in your industry to participate.6 These events give candidates insight into the organizations culture, introduces candidates to potential colleagues, and allows the organization to evaluate candidacy outside the traditional interview format.

Cultivate Prospective Hires

Missed opportunities don’t just apply to job seekers. We meet exceptional talent frequently, but often when we don’t have opportunity for them. Finding STEM talent has become such a major challenge that many larger organizations have started investing in talent as early as middle school and high school.6 STEM talent wants to feel and see a personal and professional connection to an organization. Start taking advantage of these fortuitous encounters by always representing the employment brand, and highlighting the employment experience. Find ways to continuously brand to desired STEM talent networks, grow and nurture those networks, and begin the cultivation process earlier. Nurturing every relationship, even those developed on social media, will strengthen your STEM network, employment brand, applicant flow, and employee retention.   

  1. 7 Reasons to invest in a STEM recruiting program, Nichols, Daniel (01/22/15) https://edu.stemjobs.com/7-reasons-invest-stem-recruiting-program/
  2. AllSTEM 2020 SCALE (November 2019), https://www.allswell.com/SCALE/2020/
  3. STEM: Your 2020 Salary Guide, AllSTEM, (11/2019) https://www.allstemconnections.com/Employers/SCALE/2020/
  4. ‘Passive’ candidates perform better in new roles, Roberts, Hywel  (04/17/14) http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/passive-candidates-perform-better-in-new-roles
  5. You Can’t Stop Targeting Passive Candidates, But You Can Get Smarter About It, Handcock, Thomas (08/02/16) https://www.cebglobal.com/talentdaily/smarter-targeting-passive-candidates/
  6. Ideas for a successful recruiting event, Del Castillo, Christine (no date) https://resources.workable.com/tutorial/recruitment-event

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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