Passive Recruitment: Why & how to approach passive candidates
Business Management

Passive Recruitment: Why & how to approach passive candidates

Irene Kalesi
Irene Kalesi

Businesses that search for the ideal new hire have a pool of candidates to choose amongst. However, not all professionals are unemployed and looking for a job, which means that companies should not focus only on active recruitment. According to a 2019 research by, for the greater part, the job market is made up of passive candidates. To be exact, 73% of the total professionals are not actively searching for a job. Therefore, businesses should decide if they prefer to limit their scope and focus on the remaining 27% of the workforce that are active job seekers.

In this article, we will define the different recruitment types and discuss the reasons businesses choose to pursue active or passive job seekers. We will also share some recruiting tips on finding and approaching passive candidates as they are the most difficult ones to recruit.

Active Recruitment

Active recruitment concerns professionals searching for a job, who are ready to fill a position and become part of a business’s workforce. Moreover, they are the ones keenly going through job postings every day, applying to jobs, and contacting recruiting agencies.

Passive Recruitment

Passive recruitment concerns people that are part of a company’s workforce and are not applying for jobs or actively on the lookout. This doesn’t mean that they dismiss the possibility of grabbing a new opportunity, although they won’t be able to start working immediately as they have prior commitments to settle.

The obvious trials of active recruitment

Building your brand, creating the perfect ads, and offering proper remuneration will attract a long list of active candidates. Remember, though, that active recruitment is similar to treasure hunting. The reward may be heaps of gold or piles of coal. Some candidates will be the right fit and will need little extra training or guidance. Others won’t meet your requirements, and their work experience will be completely unrelated. You have a lot of sorting out to do to single out the most suitable candidates.

Needless to say, time is of the essence. The best of the best will not be available for long. Not even novice professionals will wait forever. After all, most active candidates apply for multiple positions and go through various interviews simultaneously. You need to be decisive, ask the right questions, and test the right skills. Of course, there will be times that none of your candidates fits the job description. At this point, you need to reach out to passive job seekers.

The hidden opportunities behind passive recruitment

This type of recruitment can be a more difficult road to take. Still, it is more laid out. When companies know exactly the profile of the candidate they are looking for, they may look at other companies to find fitting professionals.

Passive candidates are generally open to discussion. Even the most successful professionals can dream of something greater, which is why modern employees change positions and companies every 2 to 3 years. Thankfully, the mentality that people should avoid changing jobs throughout their careers is old and worn.

When businesses practice passive recruitment, they should interview only professionals that are a good fit for the job. Moreover, you and your team can narrow down your choices. Then, you can contact those passive candidates to propose a business collaboration.

How do recruit passive job seekers?

Recruiting passive candidates may not be that easy. Businesses need to develop recruiting strategies to attract already employed professionals. This process won’t be fast. Professionals who are not actively looking for a job might need several months and the right incentives before saying goodbye to their current employer. In other words, to recruit passive job seekers, you should speak to their hearts, mind, and ultimately…pocket.

Appeal to the passive candidate’s ego

The first step to building a communication channel with an employed professional is to find one! You can find qualified candidates on platforms like LinkedIn or Upwork. Knowing about their accomplishments and aspirations, you can build a case to make them understand that they are an excellent fit for your business.

Accentuating a candidate’s strengths is essential. Show candidates that you appreciate their talent, promote innovation, and that you can help them reach new professional heights. Moreover, by showing that your company’s and the candidate’s aspirations align, you can “challenge” them to work together towards building business success and an excellent reputation.

Build a strong business proposal

As you can imagine, when contacting a passive candidate, you should be ready to offer them better professional prospects. Any business that approaches passive job seekers should have put together a well-structured proposal to showcase company culture, perks, and privileges. For example, you should demonstrate with proof that your culture promotes positivity, teamwork, and equality.

Moreover, recognizing great work performance is a key incentive for passive and active candidates altogether. Many professionals tend to feel underappreciated in their work environments. Lack of appreciation is a reason that even passive candidates often leave an open window for better work opportunities. So point out that your business, in recognition of its employees’ work, offers professional development opportunities and provides additional benefits and mental support.

Show them greener financial pastures

All the above are attractive benefits that will make passive candidates consider your job proposal. The next step is discussing their remuneration. A working professional needs to know that the position you are offering comes with a high income, ideally higher than the one they receive in their present job. This information can be the turning point in an interview. Some people will feel satisfied with standard benefits and a decent salary, while others will want a higher salary regardless of performance bonuses and added perks. Of course, you might also meet people who will demand everything they can get to even consider your proposition.

So…active or passive recruitment?

The answer is both. Each type of recruitment serves different purposes. If you want junior to associate employees and interns, the pool of active candidates will be more than enough. However, if you require an experienced designer or a seasoned software developer, finding and pursuing passive candidates may prove more fruitful than posting a job offer. Smart recruiting tips like the ones we’ve shared can increase the chances of acquiring a new professional and save you the trouble of endless interviews.

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