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How to Recruit Passive Candidates

How to Recruit Passive Candidates

How to Recruit Passive Candidates

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In the recruitment space, finding the right individuals for the right roles can be challenging. It doesn’t matter your industry, expertise, or business size, every company’s band of HR professionals has struggled at one point or another to pinpoint the right talent.

The job market can be a daunting and competitive place and a whole range of associated factors have to align for your HR fraction to receive a job application for an open role at the right time. This is why we advise you to introduce a culture of passive recruiting into your recruitment framework.

Generally speaking, passive recruiting refers to a candidate who is under contract with their current employer and not actively looking for a new role. In this article, we’re going to outline the basics involved in recruiting and onboarding passive talent and explain the potential advantages of doing so.

What Is A Passive Candidate?

As mentioned above, a passive candidate is a potential candidate who an employer might consider for an open position, but who is not actually looking for a new job at that time. They are individuals who have not applied for any new professional opportunities however, at the same time, they are people who are attractive to hiring managers, HR executives, and their prospective talent pools.

Despite being under contract at their current job, passive talent can be incredibly desirable for a whole myriad of reasons such as their in-demand skillset or industry experience. This is often particularly true in the case of niche industries where specialized skills are highly valued and hard to come by.

What Is The Difference Between Passive And Active Candidates?

So, if passive talent is an individual who is not actively searching for a new role, then what exactly is an active candidate?

Well, in contrast to passive recruitment that we’ve described above, active recruitment concerns people who are searching for a new position and intending on leaving their current contract. These people would describe themselves as active job seekers and are probably spending their time serving through job boards,  investigating their personal network, or reaching out to various hiring managers.

Instead of being recruited or headhunted, these individuals are initiating the process of recruitment themselves via contacting hiring managers and applying for relevant job positions.

An active candidate might be considering leaving their current role for a whole host of reasons, including but not limited to the ones listed below.

  • New leadership/new opportunities
  • Higher pay/compensation
  • A new inspiring company culture
  • More attractive employment benefits
  • Dissatisfaction with their current role/manager/responsiblities
Finding passive candidates

How To Recruit Passive Candidates?

Recruiting passive candidates requires a different game plan than recruiting active talent. In most cases, it requires recruiters to showcase an extra veil of salesmanship, marketing, and relationship-building skills.

However, when utilizing the right tactics at the right time, recruiters can successfully attract passive candidates to their open positions.

To help you formulate a successful passive recruitment strategy, we’ve outlined our best advice below.

Use Social Media

Almost everyone has a social media account these days, making it a terrific and effective means to find and initiate contact with potential talent. For this reason, we advise staying active on all relevant professional media platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.

Use All Online Platforms

After you’ve utilized the obvious social media routes, why not experiment with some lesser-known platforms or forums too?  Use your preferred search engine to find networks such as college career centers, online associations, and other sites that are industry-specific and contain relevant resumes or job postings.

Be Confident

Once you've found potential candidates that you think might be the right fit for your organization and open role, don’t just sit tight. Instead, confidently assert yourself as you introduce yourself.

Don’t wait for a candidate to set up a meeting, ask about the interview process or your intentions. Instead, be clear about why you are interested in pursuing them.


If you already have a team of inspiring employees, why not ask one of them if they have a potential person in their network who might be interested in joining your company? Referrals can be a fantastic way to secure a dedicated and trusted workforce because the potential employee in question has already been somewhat vetted.

Be Mindful Of Timing

When it comes to recruitment, timing is everything. While it’s important to conduct your outreach process with care and caution, acting quickly is also key. You need to strike the balance between marketing the role attractively and not rushing the candidate.

With this in mind, we advise revolving most if not all of the conversations you have with passive candidates about them, what they will gain by moving to your organization, etc. Don’t center your pitch on the fact that you need someone quickly to fill a role.

Make them feel special and show them what they’re missing.

Positive experience of passive candidate recruitment

What Are The Benefits Of Passive Candidates?

Though attracting passive talent may require additional energy and time from your team, recruiting them can prove extremely advantageous to you and your organization.

We’ve compiled some of the top advantages associated with passive candidates below.

Passive Candidates Are Prequalified

Many passive candidates that you encounter are people with extensive knowledge and experience. They are often the top candidates or most qualified candidates available. They already have an upstanding career behind them and are currently leading a somewhat fulfilling one. This demonstrates a clear trajectory of professionalism, candidate experience, and, maturity.

With passive candidates you might not need to go through excessive qualification steps to ensure skill levels because their skillset demonstrates that they have been prequalified and are leading a happy and focused career.

Passive Candidates Have Chosen Your Organization

Passive job seekers have opted out of their previous role in total preference to your organization. This shows that they are passionate about your mission, company culture, and their future role within your company. This makes it likely that they are motivated, inspired, and excited by their future within your company and should yield quite an impressive amount of dedication.

There Is Less Time Pressure

In most cases, recruiters have to act fast when you seek the picture-perfect job-seeking candidate because you know that they will be snapped up quickly by other recruiters. However, passive recruitment gives you more time to build a rapport with candidates and focus on the details of their future with your company without the risk of candidates reaching the finish line with you only to accept a competing offer at the same time.


So, that concludes our advice and summary of passive recruitment. If you’re struggling to attract active talent for a current role within your organization or simply interested in enhancing the standard within your talent pipeline, we advise introducing passive job seekers into your talent acquisition strategy.


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