Top tips for attracting passive candidates

Top tips for attracting passive candidatesWhat are passive candidates?

Out there, in the big wide world, there are people who are living their lives, going to work, taking care of their families.  Some of them are your ideal employees – but the bad news is, they don’t know you exist.  These are what is known as ‘passive candidates’.

Now passive is not a word that always has positive connotations.  To call someone passive because they have never thought about your organisation, in some ways, seems a little unfair.  The key to identifying these people is to be anything but passive yourself!

Here are our top tips for identifying that perfect candidate:-

  1. Have an active recruitment policy, where you are always on the look-out for talent, even when you don’t have vacancies. Building a positive relationship with a potential future employee can make it easier to convince them to join you when the right opportunity arises.
  2. Ask your workforce for referrals. But don’t ask them ‘do you know anyone who needs a sales job?’   Ask, for example, ‘do you know anyone who is a brilliant negotiator?’.  By identifying the skills you are looking for you can seek out people who excel at them. Maybe consider introducing an incentive scheme for staff, with a small reward for a successful hiring from a referral.
  3. Use social media to your advantage, to help build a relationship. Read blogs, search LinkedIn, find out who follows your organisation, who shares and retweets your online content. Don’t just approach people cold though, interact with likely sounding candidates and start to create a rapport.
  4. Motivate your existing employees to fill internal vacancies, and give them the skills to do so with training and development programmes. Some people don’t recognise their own potential, but with your support, they may be highly successful candidates for your vacancy. By helping employees move along a career path, you will also improve your staff retention levels.
  5. Attend live events such as shows, exhibitions, networking events and whenever you come across an interesting person, talk with them, take their details and keep them on record. Note down what attracted you to them, what sort of jobs they might be suitable for.  You can also think about hosting your own event, a recruitment open day where people can find out more about you, and where you get to meet them face to face, in a relaxed environment.
  6. Market your company and ensure the message you are sending out is about the quality of employment that you offer – you want to be seen as THE place to work in your industry. If you have a vacancies page on your website, but no current vacancies, do not have the page stating ‘no vacancies at present’.  Instead, say ‘we are always interested in hearing from motivated individuals, please get in touch and tell us how you can contribute’.


Finally, people are more comfortable with what they know.  So to tempt someone away from a job they are already in, there needs to be some sort of incentive.  Listen to your existing staff to find out what really motivates them. Money is by no means the only consideration.  Perhaps working closer to home, having flexible hours or being offered development opportunities would make a candidate think a job change could be worthwhile. Explore the opportunities about how you can tailor the benefits to attract your ideal candidate with an open mind, and you might be surprised at the results.


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