How To Attract Passive Job Seekers?

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How To Attract Passive Job Seekers

Despite not actively looking for a new job, passive candidates can be some of the best talents to recruit, especially for jobs that are hard to fill. However, your ideal candidate might be currently employed somewhere else and has no particular reason to switch careers. Not yet, at least.

Only 30% of the global workforce is actively seeking new employment, according to LinkedIn. This means that more than two-thirds of your potential applicants are passive and unlikely to see your job postings and apply. The highly qualified people you require for specialized roles may not be among the 30% or may have already been recruited by a competitor.

If it’s difficult for you to find the right candidates among those who apply, or if the same people keep applying, it may be time to look for new talent and start reaching out to and hiring passive candidates. However, finding the right passive candidate and engaging them in conversation about a possible transfer to your company is not easy, but if done right, it may be quite fruitful.

This article discusses how to locate, attract, and recruit passive talent.

What Are Passive Job Seekers?

Passive candidates are individuals who are already employed and not actively looking for a new role but who may be open to a good job opportunity if one comes along. While passive job seekers are not ready for a career change (not yet, at least), they may be open to exploring new options with recruiters. Active candidates, on the other hand, are individuals actively seeking a new job, either daily or weekly.

To categorize 70% of applicants as ‘passive’ is to oversimplify; you must take into account the various categories of passive candidates. Not all passive job seekers are equally uninterested in changing jobs. Some may be thinking about changing roles but haven’t started looking for new opportunities, while others might be interested in new roles and plan to start applying soon.

Among passive job seekers:

  • Around 15% occasionally use their personal networks to find new opportunities
  • 45% are willing to talk with recruiters
  • The other 40% are happy where they are and have no plans to change jobs.

The last group of passive candidates is unlikely to actively participate in a conversation or want to be interviewed. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to them at all or write them off just because they aren’t ready to change careers right now. If they start thinking about changing jobs in a year or two, they’ll probably remember you and your company, and you might be one of the first people they reach out to when they’re ready to make a move. So it’s always a good idea to keep in touch with them.

How To Target and Recruit Passive Job Seekers?

When it comes to passive recruiting, you need to do some legwork, meaning you should research your market, industry, competitors, and other important recruiting factors. Here are a few tried-and-true methods for attracting passive candidates:

1. Promote Your Company

If your organization is off the grid, chances are your potential passive candidates have never heard of it. It’s important to establish an online presence so they can connect. Share interesting company information on your website, and post engaging content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

This way, candidates can get to know the company as something more than just a name and will be able to relate to the brand on a more personal level. With time, people will become more familiar with your company and its values, so when you decide to start hiring, they will already know all about you. Personalizing your online engagement establishes your company as an attractive, desirable place to work. 

2. Boost Your Compensation and Development Opportunities

Top three things that motivate candidates the most are better pay and benefits, more challenging work, and greater opportunities for advancement. Examine what your company has to offer and compare that with what the other companies in your industry can offer. Then get ready to highlight your benefits and advantages.

3. Identify Passive Candidates That Would Be The Right Fit

LinkedIn is always a good starting point, but it can get overcrowded since most employers use it to look for potential candidates. So, you might need to think outside the box and try other strategies. For instance, you could:

  • Spend time in industry-specific Facebook and LinkedIn groups, especially if you’re targeting remote workers, as these groups are typically global
  • Find industry-relevant Twitter hashtags that passive candidates may be using when they are posting new content
  • Establish an employee referral program that allows your existing employees to refer people from their networks
  • Create a list of your best passive job candidates for other positions so you can get in touch with them again. Even if someone wasn’t a good fit for a current job opening, they might be perfect for another one.

4. Talk to Passive Candidates To See If They Are Interested

To effectively gauge the interest of your passive applicants, you must engage them in conversation and ask the appropriate questions. You may ask them a few questions before telling them about your organization and the position you want to fill. However, you should avoid overwhelming candidates with too many questions; remember to keep the conversation balanced. Some questions you could ask are:

  • Have you considered a job change?
  • What would make you switch jobs? What’s missing from your job?
  • What are the three most important things you’d look for in a new job?
  • Do you have room to grow in your current role?

Let them know you’re interested in hearing from them, even if they’re not currently looking for a new job.

5. Conduct a Quick Phone Interview

If you’ve pre-selected your best passive job candidates, then you don’t want to make the hiring process too complicated. Keeping your application process simple is what engages passive talent. If you have more than five or seven passive candidates interested in the role, you may want to start by conducting short phone interviews and then move on to more structured interviews with your top candidates.

6. Put Flexibility and Balance First

The desire for a better work-life balance is another big motivator for passive candidates. Make sure your company has a policy that outlines your flexible work options. Push content on your website and social media that demonstrates your dedication to flexible and remote work. Encourage your employees who appreciate this flexibility to spread the word to their networks.


Finding the best passive candidates will force you to be more creative and look outside your usual recruiting channels. However, if you follow these six guidelines, you should be well on your way to finding and employing skilled, devoted employees that could become the backbone of your company for many years to come.

Hundreds of new candidates are looking for job openings every day, and CIBR Warriors are here to help you find the right one for you. For more help in advancing your career or finding a qualified candidate in IT and Cybersecurity, contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the best advice for getting started.

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