By: Carmelia Dalmeida on February 27th, 2023

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Recruiting Passive Candidates Can Transform Your Hiring Process

Recruitment outsourcing

Have you ever advertised a vacant position and heard…nothing? It can happen. The recruitment market is highly competitive right now, especially for highly skilled talent, and sometimes it's hard to get to attract quality applications.

According to a study by LinkedIn, only 30% of the workforce is actively looking for work given at any moment. This means that 70% of workers are not looking at job listings—even though many of them might be willing to listen to the right approach. Recruiting passive candidates could be the key to transforming your hiring process

What is a passive candidate?

A passive candidate is someone who is not actively applying for other positions. Often, this is because they are content in their current role, or because they're a regular target for headhunters. 

The fact that passive candidates are not actively seeking new possibilities does not imply that they are not interested. According to data from the Talent Index, 50% of people are interested in leaving their current employer, but only 20% are actively looking. 

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Pros and cons of passive candidates vs active candidates

Recruiting passive candidates can transform your hiring outcomes and help you build a talent team. That said, it's not without challenges. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pros of passive recruitment

  • Access to a much bigger talent pool

  • Hire people with up-to-date professional experience and clean employment history

  • Attract people with experience in other companies or sectors

Cons of passive recruitment

  • Harder to make contact with passive candidates

  • Candidates may not need a new job, which gives them more leverage in salary negotiations

  • Possible contractual issues, such as notice periods or non-compete clauses

4 tips to improve your passive recruitment strategy

Sourcing passive candidates can be tricky, as they won't respond to normal channels such as job postings or ads on job boards

Instead, you need rethink your hiring strategy. Here are some tips for connecting with passive candidates

Approach passive candidates on social media

Social media is a great way to fit suitable candidates. LinkedIn allows you to view someone's background, qualifications, achievements and experience, all of which will help you zero in on your ideal hire. 

When approaching a passive candidate, there are a few things you should always do: 

  • Explain how you found them (if emailing directly, be sure to say how you obtained their email address)

  • Offer details about any new opportunities

  • Specify why you think they're a great fit

  • Mention any incentives that might tempt them

  • Clearly explain how to proceed if they're interested

  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in your social posts

Your first communication is about building a rapport and gauging their interest. For this reason, keep your message short and to the point. Once they reply, you can start getting into more detail, or invite them to join you on a phone call

Automate your hiring processes

Forbes recently reported that more and more employers are relying on artificial intelligence. AI tools are now an essential part of recruiting passive candidates, helping hiring managers identify promising candidates. 

AI Tools like ChatGPT are still evolving, so you may not be able to hire a robot recruiting manager yet. However, you can start automating your passive recruitment process by doing things like: 

  • Update your ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

  • Make sure that your recruitment team know how to use ATS automation functions

  • Create an online job portal with employment information and an easy application process

  • Monitor social media interactions with potential candidates

Technology like an ATS can help automate large parts of your hiring process, which speeds up your overall time-to-hire. These tools can also help you keep track of former applicants and contacts, which makes it easier to find candidates when another opportunity arises. Over time, we'll see more AI integration in HR technology, making recruiting passive candidates even easier. 

Celebrate your company culture

Passive candidates are often attracted to companies that offer growth opportunities and an inviting work environment. 

You can build your employer brand by celebrating the strengths of your organizational culture. Ask questions like: 

  • What makes your organization special and desirable to work for? 

  • Does your company have a reputation that will make people want to work for you? 

  • Have you won any positive employee awards? 

  • Does everyone get an opportunity to progress and develop? 

Culture is often the result of a strong DE&I strategy, so make sure that you're meeting your diversity and inclusion goals. If you're delivering a truly inclusive work environment, be sure to celebrate that fact in your employer branding

Ask appropriate questions.

It is very important as recruiters are trying to persuade candidates to join their companies to be able to pull them in by asking the appropriate/needed questions. Because passive candidates were not looking for jobs on their own, it is crucial for the recruiters to prepare questions that are relevant to the job, the team, and the culture. 

Passive job seekers require a different approach from active job seekers. The following is a selection of questions that Lou Adler suggests people ask on LinkedIn:

  • Is your current job the most fulfilling job you’ve ever had? If not, what is it missing?

  • Are you progressing in your career? Do you feel that you are on the right career path?

  • What’s your dream job? What challenges or opportunities would make you consider a new role?

Personalization is the most successful method for approaching and recruiting passive applicants.

Need help with recruiting passive candidates?

Active or passive—it’s hard work to attract top talent. The job market is highly competitive, which is why open positions remain unfilled for so long.

Give yourself the best chance of finding the best candidates. Helios HR specialise in all areas of HR consulting, including talent acquisition an Recruitment Process Outsourcing. Our recruiting experts can help you find quality candidates, fill vital roles, make use of ATS and other recruiting tools, and help you develop a more effective recruitment strategy.

Book a call with a Helios HR consultant today. Let’s talk about how to find the people you need for your team.

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