8 Passive Candidate Recruiting Strategies

Chelsea Heltai

They’re out there, somewhere: talented, experienced, and qualified candidates, perfect for filling an open role in your company. Many, however, are happy at their current jobs with heads down, and definitely not on the hunt for new opportunities they’re exactly right for.

These folks represent just one drop of perfect talent in a huge passive talent pool that dwarfs active candidates by 4 to 1, as LinkedIn suggests.

Such odds are not as disheartening if you remember that every passive candidate is simply an active candidate who hasn’t met you yet. Given the right opportunity and engagement, every passive candidate could morph into an enthusiastic, active candidate.

Every passive candidate is simply an active candidate who hasn’t met you yet.
#passivecandidates #recruitingstrategies #visageinsights

Ready to reach, engage, and recruit those valuable individuals? Read on to explore the eight passive candidate recruiting strategies we discuss below.

Passive Candidate Recruiting: It All Starts With Strategy.

Firing off random emails won’t drive a stampede of passive candidates in your direction. You need a plan. More precisely, you need an overarching passive candidate recruitment strategy.

Strategy provides clarity of purpose and process. It gives you a direction, based on a solid understanding of what success means to you, and a way to measure it. Your strategy articulates where and how to find target candidates, and how to engage them, once identified.

The most effective plans are built around three major recruitment strategies:

  • Sourcing strategies> – To direct your proactive outbound activities.
  • Engagement strategies – To keep your candidates warm and interested.
  • AI strategies – To underpin and assist sourcing and engagement strategies.

Sourcing Strategies

You can’t recruit passive talent unless you find it first.

Passive Candidate Sourcing Strategies

    1. Social sourcing

Go where your passive candidates hang out, which is on social media. Leverage platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You’re not just there to look, but to build an online presence that attracts your target candidates. Showcase your brand personality, build relationships with influencers, use hashtags to take part in relevant conversations, post enticing opportunities, and share positive testimonials.

    2. Creative searching

For in-demand roles, use skills and experience-based searches rather than job titles. You’ll find a bunch of passive candidates with job titles that don’t match the one you’re hiring for, but have the skills to take on the opportunity. Go wild with Boolean strings for precise targeting.

    3. Employee referral programs 

Build an employee referral program that makes it easy for your current employees to refer contacts. Be sure to reward the referrals themselves, not just the ones that result in successful hires.

    4. Previous candidates

Burrow into your applicant tracking system’s rich historical data to find candidates who weren’t placed in past roles, but may be perfect for other opportunities.

Engagement Strategies

Sourcing is about getting passive candidates who once didn’t look at you to look only at you. Engagement is what makes you worth noticing. Here’s how to strengthen your engagement game and create a stellar candidate experience.

Sourcing is about getting passive candidates who once didn’t look at you to look only at you. Engagement is what makes you worth noticing.

Passive Candidate Engagement Strategies

    5. Build solid branding

When you first connect with a passive candidate, they’ll check you out online.

If what they find doesn’t gel with the values, or if there’s nothing to pique their curiosity, they’ll write you off and get back to work. Are you presenting yourself well online? Is your company culture enticing or a turn off? How well do you handle negative reviews?

    6. Make a strong promise

Give passive candidates a reason to jump, or at least to stay curious. Paint a picture of a great place to work for that candidate.

Not everyone wants the idealized fast-paced, results-driven, rock-star opportunity. Some candidates want super-flexible working hours or structured career development.

What do they like about their current workplace, and how can you use that information? Be specific. “We offer professional growth opportunities” isn’t as engaging as “You’ll be mentored by senior-level staff for the first year, and each month you’ll build a personal and professional development plan to support your career goals.”

    7. Connect on their terms

Too many emails can turn a passive candidate off. Too few, and they’ll lose interest. Remove the guesswork by asking for, and respecting, their preferences. Personalize the cadence of your direct communications.

    8. Be useful

Spamming newly-identified passive candidates with increasingly desperate, “salesy” messages isn’t a good look. Your messaging should be about them, not you.

This means asking about their skills, experiences, and – yes – even hopes and ambitions. It means providing them with helpful resources and industry information that are genuinely useful to them.

Offer your insight into translating the value of their experience to other roles.

AI Strategies

Successful passive recruitment relies on human connection, but that doesn’t prevent AI from playing an important part. Creative and consistent use of AI will help you:

Reveal candidate insights. AI can quickly unearth passive candidates’ interests and personalities, giving you rich and more accurate candidate insight for better-targeted engagement.

Foster deeper connections. Automation eliminates the time and tedium of repetitive, manual tasks, empowering recruiters to spend more time creating deeper, more productive relationships. Say goodbye to hours of sifting through social media profiles and hand-picking potentials. 

Scale personalized engagement. Despite common perceptions, AI and personalization do mix. You need stratospheric levels of personalization to reach and engage top-tier passive talent, however, especially among Gen Z. 

By using AI functionality – blended with your brand personality and human touch – you can scale a tailored approach to passive sourcing. Visage offers this blended approach via smart campaigns and customized outreach templates, verified to keep you compliant with privacy regulations and out of spam folders.

Visage’s Hybrid Model: The Best of AI and Real Humans

The trick to passive candidate recruiting strategies that work is balance. The Visage team has focused on getting the balance right between the speed, accuracy, and insight of AI, and the connections and engagement that only real, warm, human beings can create. Leveraging AI and the power of a 4,000+ community of trained, global sourcers, Visage solved the passive recruitment problems of companies like Cielo, Guerbet, and Siemens Energy. Want to learn how Visage can turn your passive talent pool active? Take us for a test drive now.