A passive candidate (passive job candidate) is someone who is being considered for a position but is not actively searching for a job.

According to a recent Talent Trends study by LinkedIn , the majority of the employed workforce is open to exploring new job opportunities. Twelve percent are actively looking for new jobs and 73 percent are passives – those open to exploring or hearing about opportunities.  Only 15 percent are satisfied enough that they won’t even consider a new job.  The purpose of this blog post is to focus on the 73 percent of passive job seekers, typically considered the most attractive to recruiters.  These are the candidates that are in the highest demand – they’re gainfully employed and they generally have attractive, in-demand skill sets.  But they can be hard to engage with, as they’re generally finicky about how they’re approached and what they’re approached about.

Passive candidates probably won’t be interviewing with anyone else. With almost 60% of the workforce not looking our for a new opportunity, but willing to discuss one, proactive sourcing techniques such as Boolean searches, social media, etc. are going to be your best bets for finding the best lot. It can be difficult to distinguish between a passive candidate and an active one, it is even more difficult to differentiate a passive candidate who is interested in an opportunity to one that isn’t. Care must be taken in approaching candidates through proactive sourcing.

Your initial reach-out technique should be to introduce yourself and your company, and give reasons as to why you’re reaching out and why this job opportunity would be good for everyone. Try showing them how the job is relevant and will help them grow.

 Your HR department doesn’t have to be the only part of the organization that convinces passive candidates to want to work for your company, an employee referral program – turning your own employees into an army of recruiters. 

Passive candidates might not always have a resume handy. Offer them an alternative way to share their profile, and probably, you might want to do away with the application. Never forget, YOU found THEM. Never assume that every candidate you approach wants to speak to you, they might be the 15% of the workforce that is NOT open to a new opportunity. Although they are open to speaking, do remember that they are already employed and are quite content with what they already have and might be extremely picky when it comes to moving.

Develop Recruitment Strategies for each Group

We have outlined the 4 main groups of passive candidates, Active candidates – looking for new opportunities, tiptoeing candidates who are employed and are considering new jobs, passive candidate – who are employed but open to new opportunities and super passive candidates who are content where they are. So, let’s review some of the big things you should include in your recruitment strategy to make sure you’re getting the best talent possible.

Employer Brand

Share your employment brand! On your job postings, website, social media channels, outreach messages, and everywhere else. Ensure that your employees believe in your employment brand, so that they will be natural recruiters for your company through your employee referral program. 75% of professionals would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. Hence, ensure your reputation is top-notch. 

Job Posts

Job posts are traditionally effective for reaching active candidates, but whatever you write should also be used within your employee referral program to find candidates on the cusp of being active, and may be forwarded to passive candidates – so you want to make sure they’re well done.

Social Media Presence

Social media channels are a great way to share your employment brand, job postings, etc, at scale. Both active and passive job seekers utilize social media, and many might look up your company profile before applying to a job (or even accepting your invitation to connect with) at your company. Make your employee referral program social so it’s easier for your employees to find and refer great candidates to you. Social can also be used for proactive sourcing.

Proactive Sourcing

Proactive sourcing should be used to find both active and passive candidates. While most of your active candidates come through your job postings, you may not be getting the most qualified of the bunch. Or, you may accidentally pass right over them and let them slip through the cracks. Passive candidates are best found through proactive sourcing methods such as Boolean searches and social media.

Employee Referral Program

An ERP should be your primary method of recruiting semi-active candidates, because they reach out to their friends first. It’s also a great tool for getting active candidates who often ask their friends for referrals, as well as for passive candidates who may be swayed by their friends.

Positive Candidate Experience

When putting together your recruitment strategy, you should also take your application and interview process into consideration. Many candidates won’t have a resume, and those who do won’t want to submit it through a tedious application process. Take yourself through your application process to see what works, and what doesn’t, for all types of candidates. Try offering an alternative application process for semi-active and passive candidates, such as applying with an online profile. You may also want to take a look at your interview process to make sure it’s efficient for both parties. Employed candidates may have a hard time making interviews in the middle of the day, so try to schedule them during off-hours and/or through the phone or video conferencing. Also make sure you communicate throughout the application and interview process, to make sure candidates know what the next steps are, and where they stand in the process.

Stay tuned for our next article, on tips to avoid when recruiting Passive Candidates.