Tips for recruiting passive candidates

According to a Talent Solutions report by LinkedIn, 70 percent of the global workforce is made up of those who aren’t actively seeking a new job. Since these passive candidates are making little to no effort to find employment, it can be harder to identify them when you have a vacancy to fill – and even if you’ve found some you want to speak to, the recruitment process for passive candidates can be quite difficult. Your company needs to convince these candidates to leave their current role, so you need to make sure your recruiting teams’ persuasion and sales skills are up to scratch. 

However, the effort is more than worth it. LinkedIn also reports that passive candidates are 120 percent more likely to make an impact on your business, and 17 percent less likely to require skill development opportunities than active candidates. Ignoring passive candidates means that you could potentially be missing out on having high-calibre talent on your team, so if your recruitment team isn’t considering them, now is the time to re-evaluate. In this week’s blog, we will go over some strategies on how to find and attract passive candidates to your company.

Where to find passive candidates

There are many places to source candidates outside of traditional job boards. Knowing what these sources are, and how to use them, is a crucially important part of any company’s passive recruitment strategy. Some of these include:

  • Social media – the most popular social media platform for professionals is LinkedIn. With over 774 million members worldwide, it can be a great tool for attracting passive candidates to your company (check out our blog for some top tips on how to use LinkedIn for networking). However, other social media platforms can be just as effective. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all provide great opportunities to make your company visible, and any interested candidate will be sure to search for these. Getting yourself and your team familiar with these platforms might take some time, but doing so can be hugely beneficial in improving your company’s marketing, both to potential clients and jobseekers.


  • Employee referrals – your current employees are a great resource for finding potential applicants. If you give your employees an incentive to tell their networks about a vacancy, such as a salary bonus, you might be able to find your next hire even faster. Having a referral scheme in place can help build a positive and attractive work environment, which in turn will encourage your employees to reach out to their connections about opportunities within your company. Furthermore, if one of your current employees is recommending a potential applicant, that means they can vouch for their skills and experience, which may help to improve your confidence in pursuing their lead.


  • Your talent pipeline – this might include your current employees who are in line for a promotion, or candidates who have previously unsuccessfully applied for a position within your company, but you think may have potential in a different role. One advantage of having a talent pipeline is that you are already aware of who the candidates are, so you can avoid searching the market for potential leads. Learn more about talent pipelines, and how to improve yours, in our blog post about them here.


  • Networking events – whether in-person or online, attending industry events such as job fairs and conferences is a great way to stay informed about developments in your field, connect with other professionals, and advertise any vacancies your company has. They also provide potential candidates with an opportunity to casually discuss any questions they may have about working for your company before the formal application process. If you meet someone you’re interested in bringing onboard to your business, be sure to offer your contact information and an invitation to speak further.

In-person networking events are slowly returning to our calendars, and are a great way to meet industry professionals who may be interested in a new role.

How to appeal to passive candidates

Now you know where to find passive candidates, you need to think about what you’re going to say to them. It’s important to prepare in advance before initiating contact in order to make a strong first impression, and to keep impressing your target candidate throughout your correspondence with them. Here are some ways you can catch, and keep, a passive candidate’s interest:

  • Have a catchy job description prepared – a well-written and clear job description will increase the number of applicants for a position. This is especially important when it comes to attracting passive candidates – if a job description is full of typos, or doesn’t clearly say what the required experience is, a passive candidate will quickly lose interest. Passive candidates will want to know how a role with your company will be an improvement from their current position, so make sure that benefits and training opportunities are clearly listed. If you need help with writing an attractive job description, check out our blog for some advice here

  • Get your timing rightInsperity suggests that when a candidate shows a potential interest in a job with your company, you should be prepared to move quickly to maintain the interest. Take the initiative and book them in for meetings as soon as possible, and be sure to offer flexibility for any interviews, as you will have to fit around their schedule first. Keep the process moving, but be sure to carry out normal interview procedures as well. You still want to make sure they can do the job and will be a good fit at your company, so make sure you don’t rush the process.


  • Offer them what they’re missing – A passive candidate probably won’t be interested in working for you unless you can offer them something that their current employer isn’t. They might share with you that they want to progress their career, earn a higher salary, or aim for a better work-life balance than their current job offers. Pay attention to their desires, and think about whether your company can realistically satisfy these ambitions. Remember, you’re the one trying to attract them, so you should be making them an offer they can’t refuse. Be ready to answer any questions with honesty and transparency, to encourage conversation and build up rapport with your potential candidate.


  • Know when to step back – It can be frustrating to spend your time and energy speaking to a passive candidate, only to find out that they are unable to immediately accept your offer. They may need time to consider a career move, or might be in the middle of a big project at their current job. Be understanding, and offer to keep in contact on their terms if they are still interested, perhaps by connecting on LinkedIn or having them sign up for your company newsletter. Even if they cannot apply for a role with your company right away, there is a chance they might in the future, so be sure to part on friendly terms.

By following these steps, you will be able to find, attract, and hire the best talent for your business. Having a strong passive recruitment strategy can help improve other areas, such as your company’s marketing and employee satisfaction, so it’s well worth the time and effort to build one that works for your company. Building professional relationships takes time, so trust the process and know that it will pay off once it’s time to find a new hire. 


Need help with your passive recruitment strategy? Our search services can help your company fill any vacancy, with our exclusive ATS technology and dedicated resourcing team on hand to find you top talent for less. Call us on 020 3982 7600 to speak with a member of our team today, or visit our website here to find out more about how TalentSpa can help you achieve your hiring goals.

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