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How to Attract Passive Candidates

Are the best candidates playing hard to get? In a time where it takes more than a stellar job description to attract talented employees, here’s how you can improve your recruitment methods to attain the most qualified prospects.

Have you ever wondered why your company doesn’t see enough strong candidates for open positions? It may be because, according to a LinkedIn survey, 78 percent of fully employed LinkedIn members are not actively looking for a new job. The best candidates don’t need to actively look for a new position. They’re being pursued by recruiters and former co-workers. This group is known as “passive candidates.”


Passive candidates are currently employed, not planning on leaving their current role, but open to considering a new opportunity when approached. To reach these star performers, the usual recruiting methods – writing a great job description and creating a Careers section on your website – just won’t cut it. So, how do you find these promising prospects who aren’t actively searching for you? Here are five smart ways to lure in elusive passive candidates.


Create a recruiting culture


The best way to attract a passive candidate is creating a corporate culture that appeals to your employees and makes them want to spread the word about their positive work environment. The first step, of course, is making sure that your company is a great place to work. Then, make it easy for employees to refer candidates to open positions and reward them when they do.


It’s important to remind your employees frequently about your referral program – because by now, of course you have one. Don’t simply set up a referral program and then let it collect dust. Give them plenty of opportunity to share your job opening(s) with their networks. When your employees succeed in referring quality candidates, share the success with the entire company. The acknowledgment will make them feel valued and further promote the recruiting culture.


Get connected


Do you know who follows your company on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook? People who like, share, and retweet your message are already familiar with your brand and may be more receptive to your recruiting efforts.


Follow them back and interact with them so that they’ll know they are on your radar. Make people feel important and valuable and they’ll be more receptive to you.


Listen to what motivates people 


Money is not the only reason people change jobs. They may be attracted to a shorter commute, the opportunity to work remotely, flexible schedules, and more opportunities for professional development. Ask your current employees about the non-monetary perks they value, then promote these attributes on your social media channels and other communications.


When you gain a reputation for being the place to work, candidates will come to you.


Don't wait until you are hiring


If you wait until you urgently need to fill a position to search for qualified candidates, your available talent will be limited. Instead, consider investing in an ongoing talent pipeline. Maybe you met a great candidate who wasn’t quite ready to change jobs at the time. Keep them on your radar and keep yourself on theirs. Stay in touch, meet for coffee a couple times a year, or invite them to company events. It takes time and effort to nurture these relationships, but it could pay dividends later.


Be professional and discrete


Keep in mind that the passive candidates you are targeting may be satisfied with their current position and won’t welcome aggressive, heavy-handed recruiting tactics that could come to the attention of their current manager.


Be discreet in your contact. Don’t call the switchboard of their current employer or send communications to their work email. Offer opportunities to interview after hours and ask permission before contacting references. The best way to handle these sensitive communications is by working with a recruiter.


Keep in mind that attracting passive candidates is about more than just catching their attention. You need to be able to offer something substantial that their current company is not able to offer. Remember that building relationships is more effective than a direct sales approach for passive candidates. These methods take more time, but they will increase your talent pool and keep them engaged.


For more information on how to land passive candidates, get in touch with us!