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Hidden Talent: 7 Tips to Access Passive Candidates in the Mining Industry

Mining recruitment teams are all trying to poach, coax or recruit from the same market. It’s a competitive landscape, and line leaders face an ongoing battle.

A recent report by McKinsey on the state of talent in the mining industry says that 71 percent of mining leaders are finding the talent shortage is holding them back from delivering on production targets and strategic objectives.

While 86 percent of mining executives say it’s harder to recruit and retain the talent they need versus two years ago—particularly in specialised fields such as mine planning, process engineering, and digital (data science and auto­mation).

In this environment, traditional recruitment methods may not always yield the results you’re after.

Which is why it’s important to have access to passive candidates—those professionals who aren’t actively seeking new opportunities but could be enticed by the right opportunity.

Accessing this hidden talent pool provides a significant advantage.

“A gifted metallurgist, effective mine planner, or talented commodity hedging analyst can have significant impact on a mining company’s value relatively quickly,” explain the authors of the above report.

Securing these candidates naturally sets up some companies as winners and leaves others losing out.

How can you best access passive candidates for your company?

Strategic talent mapping and research

The top mining companies we work with take a proactive approach to identifying potential candidates for key roles, even before those roles become vacant.

Their goal is to create a pool of potential candidates who can be approached when suitable positions arise.

The idea is that even if these people aren’t actively looking for new opportunities, they might be swayed if offered a compelling reason.

In this article, we breakdown the seven key components to attract passive talent in the mining industry:

1. Identify target roles

Start by identifying the specific roles or positions within your company that are important for its growth and success. These could be leadership positions, specialised technical roles, or any positions that are challenging to fill due to high demand or niche skill requirements.

2. Research and create talent pool

Outline the skills, experience, qualifications, and other attributes that are necessary for success in these roles. This will help you narrow down your search and ensure that you’re targeting candidates who closely match the job requirements.

Conduct thorough research to find people who currently hold similar roles in other companies, industry experts, and individuals with a track record of excelling in the mining industry.

Then create a talent pool from the collected data.

3. Create EVPs for each pool

Start by defining your Employer Value Proposition (EVP), the things that make your company attractive to employees.

“Ideally, you want to create unique EVPs for each pool of candidates,” explains Globe 24-7’s CEO Alastair Fisher.

“If you’re not responding to what the market wants, the candidates are never going to respond to you.”

Tailoring those to specific candidate segments improves the chances that your company resonates with them. It can grab their attention and maintain their interest in your business over time.

4. Build relationships

Line managers should be regularly connecting with potential talent within their function. Even if there isn’t a vacancy or people aren’t quite ready to make the jump.

“The purpose of this is to start identifying talent and getting them excited to want to work with your company,” says Alastair.

“A good recruitment firm is constantly developing these relationships, and hence, they understand what that area of the market is looking for and what your EVP needs to be.”

Networking events are still relevant in the mining industry, too. Make sure you and your team are out talking about your company.

“You’re not going there to market your company but indirectly share what sets your company apart. It could be flexible working hours, meaningfulness in their work, leadership opportunities, unique opportunities in their specific field, or health and wellbeing,” says Alastair.

“You would be surprised how many people will remember those conversations when they start to consider changing companies.”

5. Personalise messages

When a relevant position does come available, approach the selected candidates with personalised messages that highlight how your company can provide growth and challenges that align with their career goals.

When it comes to LinkedIn, if you’re taking the time to use advanced search features and already spending a significant budget on marketing, make your outreach emails worthwhile.

“Make a good first impression with a one-to-one message. And highlight the unique aspects of your company along with the potential opportunities it offers,” says Alastair.

“A personal message is worth the effort and it’s more likely to get the outcome you’re after.”

Additionally, join relevant social media groups, and participate in discussions to establish your company as an attractive employer.

Engaging in genuine conversations and providing value through content sharing can pique the interest of passive candidates.

6. Long-term strategy

Talent mapping is not a one-time activity; it’s an ongoing process that requires updating and refining the talent pool as industry dynamics and company needs change.

By implementing a talent mapping strategy, your company can gain a competitive advantage in the hiring process.

This proactive approach allows you to streamline your recruitment efforts, reduce time-to-fill for key positions, and ensure a smoother transition when those roles need to be filled.

7. Collaborate with mining industry recruiters

Forming partnerships with specialised recruiters who understand mining can help.

As a line manager, it can be difficult to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening outside your company in the market.

Alastair says having trusted talent consultant—either internal or external—that you can call on is a big advantage.

Recruiters often have access to a wide network of passive candidates and can actively engage with them on your behalf.

“Getting an idea of recent salary expectations, industry movements, employee trends and expectations is really important,” he said.

“This is someone you can ask – ‘what job titles are being used at the moment?’, ‘what types of salaries are being offered at different levels?’, or ‘is there anyone I should or shouldn’t be talking to for upcoming roles?’”

Even if you don’t have a vacancy, having a trusted talent expert could put you well ahead when a role does come up.

Continuous recruitment

Anyone in mining recruitment will tell you that it’s a fierce market out there. But you can set yourselves up for success if you take a proactive and strategic approach to building a passive talent pool.

Invest time in building relationships, have well-defined employer value propositions, and if you don’t have the time or capability to run it internally, seek the help of a mining-industry recruiter.

This approach will go a long way to getting the right people on board when you need them—and setting your operation up for success.

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