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Don’t Overlook Passive Candidates

Talent shortage is one of the biggest hurdles faced by recruiters in 2018. According to recent statistics, 42% of employers are worried they won’t be able to find the talent they need, approximately three quarters are struggling to find relevant candidates, while 86% of the most qualified candidates for the open positions aren’t actively looking for a job. Chances are, the person you want to hire, the one with top-notch skills, potential to be developed, international mobility and an in-depth understanding of your industry, probably already has a job, and is not responding to job postings. People like that are called ‘passive candidates’.


Many companies make the mistake of neglecting passive candidates. And they are missing out on a giant pool of talent that would potentially be willing to switch jobs if the offer was right. Passive candidates haven’t prepared a resume, and their interview outfit needs to be dry-cleaned. They haven’t even bothered to push the apply button. But many employed people are at least interested in hearing about good opportunities that allow them to move up the ranks or learn new skills.


Identifying passive candidates
You can identify somebody and not recruit them. However, identifying is also the first step in the recruiting process. Here are some passive candidate sourcing techniques that search consultants can leverage:


– Check your recruiting database
There is a possibility that your perfect passive candidate is already in your firm’s recruiting database.

– Ask for referrals
Let’s say you’ve identified some potential passive candidates in your database. Not all of them are interested in your client’s opportunity, but you can ask them if they know anybody who might be qualified and interested in an opportunity like this. Top passive candidates likely know other top passive candidates.

– Screen through social media, Google and specialised sourcing tools
You can source candidates on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. A Google resume search can be an effective strategy as well if you know how to do it. There is also a variety of internet-based sourcing tools and recruitment management systems available for recruiters.


Attracting passive candidates
Passive candidates are open to exploring a new opportunity, but only if that opportunity is better than the one they have now. In other words, you’re going to have to get their attention. You need more than just a recruitment script; you need an approach and a strategy that includes a bit of psychology, a calculated process, and an awareness of how the candidate is viewing the call.


The key to recruiting top candidates is to focus on what THEY want. Put the candidate first. What we want can come later. Too many recruiters go straight to what the recruiter wants and neglect the long-term goals and ambition of the candidate. Focus on the candidates’ needs and build relationships. When you keep in touch with them, you find out how the candidates’ want to grow in their career, what’s the most important criteria for them in a new employment opportunity and under what circumstances they would make a move. Once you know this information, you’re no longer hoping to attract them with something they might want, but offering them something you know they want. And these are the people who often don’t even update their Linkedin profile. They’re the ones with one line and one connection.  

Since finding passive candidates is a time-consuming task, it’s a good and cost-effective idea to partner up with an Executive Search firm. Executive Search firms can reach more people more quickly, they know what opportunities passive candidates might be interested in, and their business revolves around building and maintaining relationships with top-notch talent. Also, candidates tend to trust these firms more.


Hiring passive candidates
Passive candidates won’t settle for a lateral move. Besides a better salary, they want opportunities for professional development and the chance to add more skills and experience to their resume. Instead of offering them a job, you have to offer them a career path. Show the candidate how the position will help them achieve their long-term goals. 

High potentials want to work for companies that have big goals and a huge impact on the industry. They also want to work for organisations that have the same core values as they do. That means you have to understand what the candidate’s core values are.  

Company culture is also a big consideration for top talent these days, especially the younger generation. They want to work in an environment in which they feel comfortable. After all, this is a generation that’s seen the rise of mega-companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon.  

Always keep in mind that it’s crucial to leave the door for top talent open and engage with candidates without wasting their time.

Alvaro Carcel Ribes

Search Team Manager, leading a team of consultants specialised in CPG, Retail, Fashion, and Pharma. His main areas of expertise are Sales, Marketing, Retail, Digital, E-commerce and Supply Chain.


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