How To Locate and Attract Passive Candidates

May 16, 2018
Don't narrow your hiring focus to active job seekers only.
Don't narrow your hiring focus to active job seekers only.

Part of the reason many businesses struggle to find qualified new hires is because they only consider active candidates. They create and share a job post, then wait for the applications to come rolling in.

In most cases, however, the people most qualified for the job aren't the ones looking. Your stellar candidate already has a job and is comfortable with his salary, workflow or benefits. That said, the individual in question may be open to a new opportunity if one happened to appear.

These people - workers who aren't necessarily looking for a new job but still open to opportunities - are passive candidates, and they're a unique bunch. You'll need a targeted approach to catch their interest, and a candidate-centric one to get them to complete the hiring process. 

Advertise on social media

Social media is often decried as a big time waster, but you can use this idea to your advantage. Share your job listing in snippets on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, either as regular updates or as targeted ads. This gets your job posts in front of the eyes of people idly scrolling through their social feeds. It also makes sure your listings are seen by your most active followers, even if they don't check job boards or the careers page of your website.

A Candidate on computer using social media.
A targeted social media post might catch the eye of your next candidate.

Save your job listings for the summer

Going through the traditional summer application slump? Use these months to boost your passive candidate hiring strategy, and let your efforts to hire active candidates take a second seat. 

But why summertime instead of year-round? According to Recruiting Daily, candidates will be more willing to spend time on your application when they have some to spare. Summer comes with three major holidays, lots of vacation and, for some businesses, summer hours, meaning passive candidates will likely have more time to fill out applications. Comparatively, fall and winter are more hectic because of their holidays, and the beginning of the year is filled with new business and personal goals. 

Focus on the candidate experience

Passive candidates are fine with their current employer, so they're less willing to go out of their way to get hired. Any element of friction can cause them to turn away - including a background check. But, instead of sacrificing employee safety for candidate concerns, you should work with a background screening service that improves the candidates' experience.

Learn How Orange Tree Can Help Turn Candidates Into Employees

The key elements to look for in such a vendor include:

  • A simple, intuitive background screening process.
  • A proven track record of reducing time to hire.
  • A mobile-ready portal that makes it easy for candidates to upload documents
  • SMS and email messaging that provides estimated completion dates and alerts candidates if they need to submit more information.

Emphasize the long-term career benefits

Because passive candidates are presumably happy at their current jobs, a simple statement like, "I've got a great job opportunity for you" doesn't have the same impact as it would on somebody actively looking. Instead, focus on the long-term benefits of a job switch. Prove that the job application and interview process will be worth the candidate's time, emphasizing future promotional opportunities, career development courses or other long-term goals.

Also, make sure the position in question is a step or two above the candidate's current role. Passive candidates don't want to make lateral changes; they're only interested in a new job if it furthers their personal goals. 

Involve hiring managers from the beginning

If you work for a recruiting agency and are hiring on behalf of one of your clients, get the hiring manager involved early. Doing so helps passive candidates feel more assured about the process, and they can hear the job description directly from a company representative. Keeping the hiring manager involved early also helps ensure you hire the right person.

Sometimes, finding the perfect candidate is all about looking in the right places. Your perfect new hire might not be looking for a job at the moment, but that doesn't mean she's closed to the idea. You just need to work a little harder to get her attention.

Topics: Candidate Experience