What is a passive candidate?

Passive candidates are those who are not actively looking for new job opportunities but whom employers are considering for a certain position.

Such candidates possess sought-after skills and experience that make employers and hiring managers invite them for particular fitting positions as part of the passive recruiting process. Passive candidates might have not even applied for open job positions nor are actively looking for new roles. Recruiting passive candidates is relatively a tough nut to crack for employers as they might be content with their current role and organisation.

Recruiting Passive Candidates | Freshteam Recruiting Passive Candidates | Freshteam

What is passive candidate sourcing?

Unlike traditional sourcing where you post a job and keep waiting for the candidates to apply, passive candidate sourcing refers to proactively finding employed candidates and contacting them with new job opportunities. 

How to source passive candidates?

Passive candidates do not actively surf the web for new opportunities. They rarely make voluntary searches on job boards and other forums. In this case, how do you source passive candidates? Recruiters need to look at the right candidate sourcing software and appropriate strategies, with which struggling to bring in passive candidates can become a distant memory. The following are ways you can look at when you devise your passive candidate recruiting plan.


1.  Social media platforms are gold mines. Use them wisely.

‘Post and pray’ is no more a working strategy for hiring managers. With LinkedIn becoming crowded with recruiters on a constant talent hunt, you cannot depend on this platform to be your only hope for passive recruiting. It’s about time you rethink your social media recruiting strategy and begin exploring platforms other than Linkedin. 

For instance, Twitter is an interesting platform where you can shift your focus to. Using the right hashtags and keywords isn’t what influencers should only do! Recruiters can make use of Twitter’s advanced search feature to filter out user profiles that use targeted industry-specific keywords. Let’s imagine you need to hire a content marketer. All you need to do is, look for users who frequently use #contentmarketing and tweet insight-rich content. Follow them, drop a message, let them know how interesting this opportunity is, and voila! That could turn out to be your best bet.          

These are just examples. There are other untapped social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Meetup, GitHub, Flickr, and (even) StackOverflow, that can introduce you to efficient passive recruiting. We have an eBook that lists out such platforms and guides you on how to use them for sourcing passive candidates 10x faster. You can take it home from here


2. Explore the right automation tools.

No. Passive candidates recruiting is not going to be that mundane task you hate to do - provided you start using the right automation tools. Freshteam, for instance, offers a whole gamut of features that help make your sourcing ‘automagic.’ Here’s a mini-list of some of them. 

Automated ATS systems like Freshteam will take up the heavy-lifting part of sourcing passive candidates and make your game easier. Meaning, you can focus more on devising recruiting strategies while AI takes the driver seat and keeps working for you. Recruiting automation is a blessing to recruiters. To understand what you can do with Freshteam’s Autopilot feature, check out these candidate sourcing use cases.

3.  Experiment with creative ideas 

Recruiters need to put on a creative strategist’s hat while approaching passive sourcing. They can try looking at avenues where others might not even have their footprint. We are seeing organizations even targeting online radio stations, as they see their target audience - passive candidates spend a good amount of time there. 

You can also leverage blogging as an indirect method for recruiting passive candidates. All you need to do is find the right topics that would interest them. These blogs need not be all about your company and the recent updates as such news would not get these candidates excited. Choose a route where you’ll craft content that talks about the industry at large.  


4.  Establish a well-defined employee referral program 

Current employees can become a recruiter’s best friend when it comes to sourcing new talent. Modern recruiting has always seen referrals as a reliable source of candidates. Almost every employee will have a strong network of personal contacts. A few of these contacts might be fitting to the open positions in your organization. This is where a referral program will lend a helping hand. The odds of passive candidates responding to a job opportunity from their personal connection is lower than in a case where you are directly reaching out to them.   

Furthermore, candidates who enter into the recruitment process through referral are generally more qualified and better performing than those who apply through other means. Isn’t that enough to try Freshteam’s employee referral tool? Go ahead and let your employees refer friends and family to open jobs. Plus, the tool comes with an internal portal that allows tracking the status of their referrals! 

You have come up with a comprehensive employee referral program. Does your work end here? Absolutely not. Start benchmarking your program against your competitors’ successful programs. You can find information about them on their corresponding websites. Also, get into healthy discussions in HR forums about referral programs and the metrics you need to track for effectiveness. You can get valuable insights into how you need to improvise or where gaps exist. 

5.  Keep an eye on Job Boards and Candidate Databases 

We all know how candidates actively seeking opportunities use job boards and candidate databases to find and apply for the best jobs available. Job boards can be a smart way to go forward for passive candidate sourcing. A typical job board will include resumes that continue to exist even after candidates have secured new jobs, and this opens doors for recruiters to look for passive candidates. 

When you come across an outdated resume, don’t ditch it. Rather, check the career trajectory and reach out to candidates you find seemingly ideal for a role. Chances are high that the candidate might be interested.  


6.  Shift the focus more on company culture 

Most recruiters are skilled at discovering passive applicants, but their sourcing tactics fall short when it comes to reaching out to them. The challenge is that passive candidates don’t care much about the duties and responsibilities of an available position at your organisation. You'll only get their attention if you demonstrate what makes your organization special and rewarding to work for. Build a strong employer brand that will make candidates want to work for you. 

Candidate decision to take or leave jobs majorly depends upon the company culture and career growth. So, your company’s culture must be evidently portrayed across your website, social media channels and wherever possible - no second thoughts on that! For instance, a captivating ‘Life at your-company’ video on your YouTube channel can do miracles in this case.

What is passive recruiting?

The passive recruiting definition is pretty simple - it is the process through which a hiring manager or recruiter identifies the potential candidates who aren’t currently searching for new jobs/roles, convinces them to apply, schedules interviews, and gets them on board. There are quite a few differences between sourcers and recruiters and the same apply to passive sourcing and passive recruiting.

How to find passive candidates?

The following are some of the feasible passive recruiting methods that you can attempt in the long run.


1.  Participate in networking events and conferences

You can build the talent pipeline by attending worthwhile networking events and industry conferences, keeping the need to source passive candidates in mind. You can also take part in social events, training events sponsored by groups and forums specific to your industry. While choosing which event to attend, you can focus on the geographic scope as a parameter. Make sure those events that happen outside your residing geography top your list. 

Don’t limit yourselves to attending external events; you can also create your own networking event and make passive candidates come to you. This can be one of the answers to the million-dollar question: how do you attract passive candidates? Ultimately, you get new potential candidates added to your database for your current or future needs.  


2.  Leverage your social media contacts

Your social media connections can help you move mountains when utilized well. You might already have a good number of connections on LinkedIn and friends on Instagram who can fit well to your needs. This remains an untapped source of potential candidates for social sourcing. Also, spend time to ensure your company’s social media profiles reflect an employee-centric culture that appeals to people out there. We emphasize this because this is probably the second resource (the first being your company website) that candidates may look at after you approach them with an opportunity.  


3.  Use the right passive candidate sourcing software 

Passive talent acquisition can be a tough nut to crack but with the right candidate sourcing software in place, it is going to be relatively easier. The candidate sourcing tool you choose should let you do the following:

Build and nurture a talent pool

Create a robust talent pool full of time-worthy candidates. You can archive exceptional candidates in the database to hire in the near future.

Custom emails in a jiffy

A tailored email address for every job posting ensures when you’re sourcing candidates through a vendor, they get automatically added to the posting.

Drive employee referrals efficiently

Your employees can refer their connections to your company and keep track of their status through the hiring process, using the referral portal.

Freshteam is a sourcing tool that does all of this and much more. You might want to try it. 


4.  Revisit your own database

Previous applicants who were not chosen may still be interested in working for your company (provided your recruitment team handled their rejection appropriately, of course). Examine your own database for candidate profiles that are qualified but were not the first to be chosen when they applied. This might also apply to anyone who has been offered a job but has turned it down for some reason. There’s a good chance that you discover diamonds! So, pro tip: always keep an eye on your recruitment CRM.

An average corporate position has 250 applicants of which you select only one. You have 249 other candidates who are interested in that position. This can be a treasure chest when you hire again for the same position!


5.  Be in the know for trends and news

It’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest trends in your industry that urge people to become open to new opportunities. Imagine your competitor laying off a huge number of employees for some reason. You have two sets of potential candidates - the laid-off people and anxious employees who are now concerned about job security. There’s only one thing you need to do now: Reach out.

How to recruit passive candidates

You’ve done the sourcing part? You’re now one phase closer to your victory dance! The next part would be recruiting the shortlisted passive candidates. You need to ensure they end up attending interviews and joining your company. Here’s how.


1.  Draft emails that are spot on

Writing an email is tricky. Writing a recruitment email is trickier! The difficult part is convincing candidates to read it. Messages that are too long or complicated will almost certainly be discarded. Keep your emails brief, basic, and personalized to encourage candidates to read them. Be to the point and bingo, you’ve arrived!


2.  Write engrossing job descriptions

A well-penned, creative JD can make candidates immediately apply for your positions. If this is where you need help, we’ve got you covered. Freshteam has 100+ customized job descriptions which you can copy and paste directly. Help yourselves! 


3.  Adopt a tailored recruitment process

Passive candidates would expect the best experience from your job portal. Make your application process easy to access and complete. Candidates shouldn’t feel tired by the time they click ‘Apply’ on the portal. Excessive click-throughs and mobile unfriendliness can easily drive them away from you. Act accordingly. Ultimately, ensure you help candidates understand what drew them to you and a clear picture of what you can offer them.


4.  Actively engage with the candidates

Take every step to build an ongoing relationship with passive candidates. Over time, understand what they need to know and what their short and long-term goals are. Don’t bombard but do send them content about your company, the industry, and their areas of expertise. Real relationships are an airtight plan when it comes to passive recruiting.