Four Tips to Attract and Engage the Passive Candidate

This article is part of a series teaching you how to Get the Hire You Desire. In the ever-revolving ...

Posted by Berkshire on April 10 2015

This article is part of a series teaching you how to Get the Hire You Desire.

In the ever-revolving world of recruitment, there is always discussion about the active versus passive candidate. Regardless if someone is actively searching for a new job, or has a passive encounter with your organization, recruitment strategies have to cater to the motives of the potential candidate. Active recruitment processcandidates are those who are diligently seeking a new position. These are the potential candidates who are checking job boards, company career pages, and networking in hopes of landing a new job. More than likely they have sought out your organization and are eager to apply for open positions.

As reported by Kelly Gurnett of, 44% of employed workers identified themselves as passive candidates, or people investing little to no effort in searching out new job opportunities. This means nearly half of all talented and qualified candidates are not applying for jobs—however this does not mean they are uninterested. Many of these passive candidates are content with their current employer, but if presented with a compelling opportunity, would not decline. According to LinkedIn’s 2014 Talent Trends report, 45% of self-proclaimed passive candidates were open to talking to a recruiter. Unlike attracting active candidates, when working to gain the attention of passive candidates, recruiters must take more strategic steps to attract the seemingly uninterested passive candidate. Here are four strategic steps to take to attract and engage the passive candidate:

Create Engaging Content

Content is the key to driving interest to your organization. Job postings are not the only way to recruit candidates. In fact, blog posts, newsletters, whitepapers, videos, and company updates are recruiting tools because they are avenues through which company expertise, values, and culture can be expressed. These nonconventional recruiting tools are especially important in attracting the passive candidate because they credit you as being an industry leader. Become a go-to for valuable and unique industry-related content, and both active and passive candidates will be more likely to show interest when employment opportunities arise.

Take Advantage of Social Media Networks

How will candidates apply for jobs if they are unaware your organization exists? Social media networks offer an incomparable platform to promote the purpose of an organization. Use websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as a way to promote engaging content. Blog posts, newsletters, whitepapers, videos, and job postings can all be posted to social media networks. A passive candidate could come across a job listing post on Twitter, and look into it simply because it was presented to them. A passive candidate could also come across an insightful blog post, encouraging them to look more into your organization and possible career opportunities.


Social media websites also offer a great opportunity to network and engage with other professionals in your industry. One way recruiters can utilize these venues to reach passive candidates is through directly connecting to and pursuing qualified talent. According to Sam Friedlander, Senior Manager Pharmacy Data Warehousing at Kaiser Permanente, “It’s a compliment to be pursued by a recruiter. It’s assurance that one is valuable to the marketplace, and it’s a boost to one’s ego.” A brief message from a recruiter can cause a passive candidate to explore professional growth and a new opportunity. Make a great first impression by keeping initial interaction, friendly, short, sweet, and to the point.

Engage Employees during Recruitment

According to the Talent Trends report, 56% of both active and passive candidates agree that a company’s reputation as a great place to work is most important if they were to consider a new job. Who can better vouch for your awesome company than your current employees! Encourage employees to share company content, including job postings, to their professional networks. Employees are your employer brand! Allowing them to participate in the recruitment process allows potential candidates to hear firsthand what it’s like to work for your company. Someone who may not be searching for a job can become curious of your organization based on word of mouth from happy and engaged employees.

The goal of any successful organization is to attract all top talent, whether active or passive. So keep these tips in mind when working through your recruitment strategy!

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