I review six to 10 business and mobile applications every month. All claim to be able to revolutionize the world of recruiting. Most fall far short of the claims, however a few actually have some potential to make an impact on passive candidate recruiting.

The problem with most apps I see for improving passive candidate recruiting is that the developers have no clue what it takes to recruit passive candidates, nor how the best recruiters go about it. To establish a performance baseline let me introduce my selection for best application for recruiting passive candidates with some core premises:

Adler’s definition of recruiting:

Recruiting means influencing someone who’s not looking to evaluate your job opening, and if an offer is ultimately extended, accept it for career growth reasons, not compensation, location, title, or company name. This requires total knowledge of the actual job, company, and industry; a strong working relationship with the hiring manager; a solution-selling based discovery process; the ability to obtain referrals of highly qualified people via networking; and an ability to overcome all concerns and objections upon first contact and throughout the process. This needs to be done successfully even if the person has multiple offers, a counter-offer, or wants more money than the budget permits.

The opposite of Adler’s definition of recruiting:

Recruiting is not finding names of people and calling them in hopes one meets all of the criteria on a skills-infested job description. Nor is it posting a great job and hoping a great person finds it and is willing to take a lateral transfer. Nor is it building a pipeline of candidates waiting for a job at your company to become available so you can put them through the above process. While these things aren’t necessarily bad or unimportant, they’re just not the recruiting skills required for seeing and hiring passive candidates.

Understand how the best passive candidates find their jobs:

I also believe an app for passive candidate recruiting should emphasize how the best passive candidates actually find their jobs. Here are the results of a survey we conducted asking that question. You can take the survey yourself, but the results are clear: 92% of the over 1,000 respondents said that the best candidates got their jobs through a referral. So an app for recruiting passive candidate must somehow incorporate the need for obtaining referrals of great people.

Understand the process involved in contacting, recruiting, and hiring passive candidates:

For an application to meet the needs of recruiting passive candidates it also needs to embed the process they use to evaluate career opportunities and select one over another. I could write a book on this topic, or conduct a workshop using Linked Recruiter teaching this process, but suffice it to say it involves multiple steps. Here are the big ones:

1)   Get the person to call you back and engage in a short career discussion.

2)   Get the person excited enough to want to engage in a detailed exploratory discussion.

3)   Qualify the person and convince the person to proceed based on career growth, not compensation.

4)   Overcome all objections and concerns, even location, a weak Glassdoor.com reputation, and inadequate compensation.

5)   Get warm referrals of highly qualified people if the person is not suitable or interested.

6)   Arrange an exploratory call with the hiring manager and convince the hiring manager the person should become a serious candidate.

7)   Have the prospect agree to become a serious candidate.

8)   Conduct a full series of interviews.

9)   Negotiate and close the offer on fair terms, overcoming all objections and competing offers.

As far as I’m concerned, an app needs to meet all of these requirements in order to become the standard of excellence for recruiting passive candidates at scale. LinkedIn Recruiter comes closest to offering many of the sourcing and networking tools required to pull this off. However, when LinkedIn Recruiter is combined with my all-time favorite app for passive candidate recruiting and in the hands of a great recruiter (as defined above)….then we are talking.

Of course, my favorite app is the phone. Recruiting the best people who are not looking for another job cannot be done via email or IMs. It takes a talented and persuasive recruiter in constant contact, overcoming objections, negotiating offers, and providing essential career advice. None of this can be done without a phone.  When it comes to recruiting and hiring passive candidates, you’ll use it more often than any other application. If you’re not, you might want to try it out. It’s a game-changer.