SmartRecruiters Hiring Success Journal

Three Ways to Drive Passive Candidates

There is a distinct difference in a recruiting strategy when it comes to a passive versus active candidate. Active job seekers are doing just that. They are aggressively looking for work. Applying for positions, calling on recruiters, and attending job fairs. Passive candidates on the other hand are testing the waters, getting a feel, and doing their research just in case. Passive candidates are typically employed, sometimes high performing talent who are looking for a change if given the right opportunity. And sometimes, passive candidates can be exactly what you are looking for, but how to you compel them to complete that online application?


• Provide Resources. Passive candidates can become the champions for your organization when you provide them with valuable resources, information, insights into the organization, and best practices. These tips could be in the form of white papers, blog posts, or even videos. Companies like RackSpace provide their job seekers with an intimate look into the culture of the where they work. Their Racker Talent blog has led to less candidates but more qualified candidates. Go beyond the typical Careers page and provide your candidates more information instead of less.

• Referral Programs. Some say it takes a village to raise a child. Think social. I like to think it takes an entire organization to court a candidate. Social referral programs matter. Give your current employee incentives as well as resources to recruit for you. Referral programs provide candidates more insights and a better understand of the job and organization saving you turnover and hiring costs in the long term.

Make It Easy. Your top passive candidates aren’t trolling the job boards or spending 45 minutes to complete an online application with your ATS. Use creative strategies to help keep them engaged with text job alerts or allowing for engagement opportunities with recruiters or HR professionals within an organization. Much like a customer service virtual chat, you can allow for candidates to easily ask questions during scheduled hours of recruiting Q&A.

Depending on your industry and company, it’s important to remember that all candidates regardless of active or passive can be potential customers or candidate referral generators. They are members of your local community or industry. These candidates are likely to recommend companies to their friends and family based on their own experiences with your recruiting process.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.