Talent Acquisition

Reaching Passive Candidates: How an Employee Value Proposition Can Help

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In the “Reaching Passive Candidates” blog series, we’re examining how talent acquisition professionals can use candidate motivators and elements of employment branding as a method of triggering a passive candidate’s interest in a job.

From the list of motivators we mentioned in the first blog in this series, we can identify some that are tied to an organization’s culture:

  • Work environment
  • A healthy work-life balance
  • Joining a dynamic team

Once you know that a candidate is motivated by these factors, you’ll know how to use your employment brand to attract them to your company. For culture-conscious candidates, the hook is your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

Develop an authentic EVP for your organization with IBM Employment Branding


Express your unique culture

No two companies are alike, even those within the same industry. Every company has a unique culture that will attract like-minded candidates. To determine an organization’s culture, IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization researchers use quantitative and qualitative assessment tools, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups and observation. Out of that research the EVP is developed.

An EVP is an authentic description of your culture and — this is key for reaching passive candidates — a profile of the employee who thrives in your organization. Your EVP should be the foundation of all of your recruitment efforts, whether it’s through social media posts, digital ads or your career site. That way, you ensure that your message aligns with your employment brand, no matter the medium.

Not long ago IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization looked inward to uncover our culture and develop our EVP — “Great on Purpose.” We express our ideals and expectations for our team this way:

  • We’re part of something big.
  • What we do takes heart.
  • Opportunity exists here.
  • Own your passion.
  • Find your hero.
  • Bring the fun.
  • Take care of each other.
  • Go create our future.

IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization communicates our EVP through digital and social media and print to recruit both internally and externally and to keep our employees engaged with our mission.

Once you’ve identified your EVP, use a variety of outlets — Facebook, Twitter, employee videos, email — to support the message. Recruiters always need fresh materials to connect with candidates.


 Make it personal

While digital and print assets grab candidates’ attention, a one-on-one conversation will hook their heart.

It can be difficult to speak with candidates about company culture, but the EVP provides a starting point. It enables candidates to envision themselves working for your organization. Selling your culture through your EVP ensures that you are recruiting good-fit employees.

In the long term, fit is just as important as talent in successful recruiting. Qualified candidates won’t stay with your company if they don’t embrace your culture. A well-communicated EVP not only attracts good-fit candidates, but it also helps lower your attrition rate, as Waypoint Homes discovered.

Set the expectation for your recruiters, whether they are internal or third-party, that they will know your EVP frontward and backward, articulate it consistently and personalize it for candidates. To guide the conversation, your recruiters can ask questions that reflect your culture and discuss how your EVP aligns with a candidate’s culture-oriented motivators.

I invite you to learn more about culture research and how it can be used to develop your organization’s EVP.


In the third installment of this series, we’ll examine how recruitment marketing can reach passive candidates who are motivated by highly personal factors.


“Reaching Passive Candidates” is a four-part blog series about how employment branding helps organizations source, attract and hire best-fit candidates.

IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization Manager, Employment Branding

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