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6 Strategies To Get Passive Candidates Onboard

Published: January 27, 2016 In: Remote Hiring

Strategies for Passive Candidates

Are you blaming a diminished candidate pool for your open position at your company? That's probably because you are looking in all the wrong places - and at the wrong people. This article will help you find out how to attract candidates who may not be looking for you.

In your journey as a recruiter, you have heard of passive candidates. Candidates who aren't vigorously looking for jobs. But who aren’t necessarily un-interested candidates. Many could be open to a new position if the right job comes along — and if that right job does come along, they can prove to be a valuable asset to their new employer. Why hire passive candidates? A research by CEB showed that these candidates perform 9% higher as new hires and are 25% more likely to stay at an organization than traditional candidate.

Among the 79% of candidates who are employed, at least 61% are open to, and maybe even hopeful for, a change of employer, according to various sources. Even if they were exaggerating, let's consider that at least 50% of the candidates are interested. That's half of the entire available candidates out there. 

What's important while you source and hire a passive candidate is the extra swag that you will work with, the swag of a sales rep. You have to technically sell the position to him, tell him why this job is an important step in his career, how it could benefit him, and why he is the best bet for the open position - you get the drift, don't you?

4 Best Ways to Reach Passive Candidates

Recruiters are the seekers of candidates as a part of their profession. But as a recruiter, have you ever wondered how do candidates want to be contacted by the recruiters? Well, if not, I think you should give it a thought. As a responsible recruiter, it’s the duty of yours to find out the preferences of your mass candidate pool. Actually, the way candidates want to be contacted by the recruiters are the most common and simple methods which are both professional and traditional. Based on various surveys and parameters, I have listed down the order of choices of the candidates which are at ease for them. So, here is the list of modes of communication according to the candidate’s preferences for being contacted by the recruiters.


Unsurprisingly, Email is the most usual way of communication which has witnessed its presence in the professional culture of each industry and establishment. It is the most authentic and convenient method to reach the mass population or the talent pool of prospects. It has been rated as the best tool by the candidates as they want to get contacted by professional emails from the recruiters with all the necessary information being offered. Email has been the choice of each age group from 18-60, as many research findings have claimed this. So, clearly, it is the wisest choice to use email as a mode of first contact with the candidates.

LinkedIn and nothing:

As social media is thriving in every sense; it is being used by the recruiters also. But the catch is, the candidates want to get contacted only through LinkedIn and not any other form of social media. They consider LinkedIn as the primary and professional method of meeting of the two profiles, the recruiter and the candidate. But, Facebook and Twitter are being totally ignored by candidates as a mode of contact. They literally consider only LinkedIn as a professional social media tool to get engaged.

Phone calls; the traditional approach:

Old is sometimes robust for generations. This is the evidence that the candidates still want to be an active talker and listener on the phone about their career opportunities. They have prioritized the calls from recruiters directly as it would be a free end-to-end approach. They can enquire freely and can be guided in a prominent and instant way. The phone call approach has been liked by every age segment of professionals.

Text messages:

Text messages are the least preferred way of communication as per the candidates of each age group. According to the candidates, the text messages sound unprofessional to them when it comes to recruiting and the job profile. People can relate to text messages only from their friends, family, and social groups, but not from a recruiter. So, communicating with the candidates for the first time through text messages might not be a good practice to follow.    

Six strategies to get passive candiates onboard
  1. Inside Hiring - Most companies forget to look inside their own companies. Most employees you have are multi-talented and might be sitting on ‘the bench’ with nothing to work. Mostly because there aren’t any projects or there are enough talent to handle the work in the team. A centralized process of handling all candidates’ talent is job half done for you instead of having to shoot mails or looking around in the company.

  2. Ditch the Stone Age Job Posting - If you have looked inside your company and can’t find relevant talent (hardly the case) or you are specifically looking to hire an external candidate start writing job postings. Focus on the opportunity and growth in the JD, this should do half the trick. Our candidates are not going to get enticed over roles and responsibilities in a job; they would be interested in how this job would benefit them over the current one they hold. For that matter, it’s time we move over to the world of video JDs - explaining things become much easier and candidates will like the experience.

  3. Explore the Internet - Explore internet as much as possible; don’t just post and pray you’ll hear from candidates. Companies usually limit themselves to job boards and your social network. That may not be the only places they are looking. Try posting on online associations, college career centers social networks specific to your industry. Social media recruiting is the new job board. Moreover, you can incorporate your unique message throughout all of your other strategies, via your blog an event that you are hosting. Winning a little social proof to get people’s attention is necessary.

  4. Career Blog - Blogs for prospective candidates, have subscription get email IDs and push when relevant job crops up.

  5. ‘Refer a Friend’ Drive - Employee referrals are the most effective method of recruitment. That’s no shocker, I’m sure everyone knows that. But it is more effective in case of passive hiring because your current employee plays an important role in selling the perks of working for your company. Also, a study shows employee referrals yield the highest application-to-hire conversion rate.

  6. Take Control of The Conversation - Treating them like demi gods is only going to make the hiring difficult and filtering based on compensation is a big ‘no-no,’ you will only end up losing out on candidates. Instead, take control of the conversation, say something like, “Based on your previous experience, I hope the size of the team isn’t too much for you to handle. I’m saying this only so that it’s not a stretch for you while you shift jobs.”

These are some strategies that has worked for us and we’re sure it will do for you as well. Passive candidates are your unicorn in recruiting, possibly because they’ve been custom-selected to fit the position.

Happy Recruiting!

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Tags: Remote Hiring, HR Tech & AI, Recruitment Best Practices

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