Passive Recruiting Strategies 2

Hiring managers and recruiters are accustomed to actively pursuing candidates. They post job openings in different outlets and wait for the applications and press releases to start rolling in. They go to networking events and put the word out there about the company and its positions. They have a talent pipeline primed and are ready to fill in positions as they open up.

Another good recruiting strategy that every recruiter should implement in order to find and keep top talent is a passive strategy.

Passive recruiting means courting potential candidates who are not currently looking for a job. This may sound like a waste of time, but it is actually a great investment in your talent pipeline. Since passive candidates are not actively looking for a job, they are less likely to be interviewing with other companies.

They’re also more likely to stay with your company longer, since their conscious decision to leave a good job and join your team would likely be based on certain alluring benefits such as professional advancement, a better salary, or a more suitable work-life balance. In fact, according to a recent study by recruitment company JobsTheWord, passive candidates stay at their jobs 21 percent longer than active candidates.

The key to a passive recruiting strategy is to remember to take it slow and steady, as this will help you win over the top candidates. You have to look at it as dating or courting—take your time to establish and build a relationship, promoting your company’s many positive attributes in a passive way, so that the first place they think of when they’re ready to make a change is YOURS.

Here are six tips to get you started on a slow and steady and successful passive recruiting strategy.

Get yourself out there

Recruiting top talent takes more than just the HR department. Everyone in the company can help your recruiting strategies, especially passive recruiting. Since the idea is to make sure candidates out there know about your company (whether they’re actively looking for a job or not), you have to get yourself out there and, as in dating, passively let people know what you’re about. Work with the marketing department to create branding that attracts not only clients but also potential candidates. By familiarizing people with your brand, you’re opening the door to a conversation with passive candidates in which you won’t have to waste time explaining who you are—just mention the company name and watch them nod with recognition.

Harness the power of social media

One way to reach passive candidates and lay the groundwork for future contact is by using social media as your branding vehicle. Any successful company these days has a strong web presence, and that means having active social media pages. Whether you have a hundred or a million likes, your social media followers can be the foundation for passive recruiting. Keep in mind that social media is a two-way street, so try to engage with your followers without spamming them about openings at your company.

Create employee ambassadors

Just like the marketing and communications departments can help your passive recruiting strategy, so can every employee in the company. Making sure employees are happy, motivated, rewarded, and encouraged is the best way to create ambassadors for your company—employees who want to share how great your company is with everyone they meet and who promote its benefits to potential candidates without taking an outright recruiting approach. They’re just touting your horn to everyone, including people you might contact about a position later. They can also bring in top talent through referrals, since they are glad to suggest the company as a great place to work.

Show off your expertise

Consider for a moment the passive candidates you might be interested in. What are their interests? Where do they keep up with the industry? Put yourself in their shoes and then establish a company presence in the places where you think they go, like trade magazines, industry blogs, and related websites. Show off your expertise in these places so more people see and appreciate that your company is a field leader and therefore would be a great place to grow professionally.

Wine and dine them

Again, remember that passive recruiting is like dating, so consider wining and dining passive candidates. Invite them to company events and dinners where they can mingle with other professionals in their industry. If you happen to be in a town where a candidate you’re interested in lives, try reaching out to him and inviting him to something low-key, like a cup of coffee. The worst that can happen is that they politely decline, but if they agree to go, it’s a great step toward building a relationship that can end in talent acquisition for you.

Remember the woo factor

Most of all, remember that passive candidates need to be wooed. You have to make sure they know you like them and think they would be a great fit for your company. Show off your attributes without coming on too strong. The important thing is to establish a relationship that can last a long time, since in many cases a candidate won’t be ready to make a change right away.

Do you have any passive recruiting strategies that have worked for your company? Do you think passive candidates can be better choices than others?


  • Macy Miller says:

    The tips that you suggested in this article are interesting. But it is especially interesting that you draw a parallel between recruitment and dating. Usually during the first date, the tendency is to exaggerate and present ourselves in the most favorable light. Do you mean to imply that we must somehow lie when hunting for people to work at our company?

  • Barton Jones says:

    I think passive recruitment is an easy step for those in human resources if the process is conducted for a well-known company with a reputation for social responsibility and success. In this case, the work of those who want to recruit professionals is half done, because everyone wants to evolve, improve their lives, make their careers great, and build a strong reputation by being associated with this type of company.

  • Ryan S. says:

    I disagree with the suggestion in paragraph three. To recruit employees using the friendships that they have with employees of other companies does not seem fair! We must not forget that the tables can turn at any time. Even if the company you are working for is better, “stealing” employees from other companies can be a double-edged sword. The fact that you would use your employees as bait may be somewhat immoral.

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