4 Ways to Engage Passive Candidates

27682588_sTraditionally, recruiting focuses on active candidates who are engaged in a current job search. But today’s hyper-competitive recruiting environment requires a focus engaging passive candidates who are not looking for a job. Passive candidates are more difficult to source than active candidates simply because they aren’t actively applying for open positions.

Passive candidates do not come to employers. Rather, employers who want top candidates actively employed in their field have to search them out and contact them. The recruiting process is reversed with passive candidates, with employers reaching out to candidates to start the conversation, rather than candidates completing an employment application or inquiry.

Consider these four passive candidate recruiting tactics to engage a candidate group that isn’t looking for a job with your company but has the skills, work ethic, and up-to-the-minute work experience you want and need in your workforce.


Help Them Apply with LinkedIn

If your company hasn’t implemented the new “Apply with your LinkedIn” button into your applicant tracking system, you’re missing out on a lot of easy opportunity to engage passive candidates.  Social recruiting is an important part of attracting passive candidates. Passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job will abandon a cumbersome application process in an instant, so you have to make it easy for them to apply.

The “Apply with your LinkedIn” button cuts out a lot of steps and candidate frustration from your application process and frees up passive candidates to do more research on your company, give you a call or email, and film a video interview for hiring managers. Every passive candidate that you can keep from walking away is one step closer to being your employee.


Video Interviewing

Video interviewing is another way to get and keep passive candidates engaged in your openings and recruiting process. Offering them a video interview process saves them time and money and gives them a way to discuss their skills and experience with you without having to travel away from a current position, spend money to do so, or meet with a lot of people. It allows them to imagine the possibilities of finding a job that’s even better than the one they currently have with a “let’s see” option. They control the interview more than traditional face-to-face meetings and can prepare as much as they want, erase and start again, and even read from a script if they want to.  Some of the leading video interview solutions are InterviewStream, HireVue, and our favorite, Zoom.US.

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Follow “Professional Exhaust”

The passive candidates that you’re looking for are active in online venues such as forums and posts. They may be writing white papers, blogs, and reviews for their industry. Finding where the passive candidates you need hang out online gives you an opportunity to see them in action to evaluate things like professionalism, communication skills, expertise, and knowledge. Start frequenting venues where high performers are active and reach out to them for initial contact. Participate in the online places they spend time and keep in touch so when you need someone with their skills and abilities, you already have a relationship with them. You can even use social sourcing tools that will let you see your candidates’ social profiles at a glance. Our current favorite is SwoopTalent.


Use Your Employer Brand

Passive candidates aren’t actively researching companies as part of a job search, so every interaction with them is important. Engage them with social media, make sure your employer brand is strong and engaging on the first visit, and make it easy to find your website and information about company culture.

Create a strong employer brand presence in the online venues they frequent to get their attention and interest in your work environment and opportunities. If you don’t have an employer brand, start developing one right now or at least get your company story out there where the passive candidates that you need will see it.

You can’t sit back and expect passive candidates to show up at your doorstep. You have to go out and find them and make it easy for them to connect with you and your company.


1 Comment

  1. Robert Zinsser

    on January 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    All great points to source passive candidates. I have to believe that there are many people who are very talented and have “checked out” of their current position but are not yet actively looking for various reasons. This approach should attract the wealth of talent and engage them for their next career. Thanks for sharing.

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