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The best prospective hires are the ones who are not currently looking for a job – at least not actively. Passive candidates generally are happy where they are, but may be open to considering a better offer. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that passive candidates currently comprise 84 percent of the nation’s workforce. Just because most top talent is currently employed doesn’t mean they are out of your reach. The energy you put into recruiting passives today will more than pay off tomorrow.

Follow these guidelines to find – and land – the best passive candidates:

Flatter passive candidates.

Think of recruiting as a long-term strategy. Let passive candidates know that you like them and give them a reason to become – and remain – interested in you.

  • The best compliment you can pay a passive candidate is to have your recruiter contact them on your behalf. It reassures them of their marketplace value and boosts their ego. Most importantly, it may ignite a spark to consider a new professional opportunity.

Make good use of employee referrals.

Your current employees are your best brand ambassadors. Be good to them and they will spread the word.

  • Optimize your employee referral program. A good work environment and a positive brand are critical to attracting passive candidates.
  • Be sure your employees know when and for which positions you are hiring. Your current team members have extremely powerful networks.
  • Ask employees to identify the best talent in their fields. People always ask their friends about the best jobs.

Find candidates’ pain points.

Money is not always the number-one motivator for job seekers. Passive candidates may not love their jobs, but they have established a work/life balance that is comfortable and easy. Listen to them and find out what is missing in their otherwise perfect picture – and figure out how you can fill that gap.

  • Present opportunities and let the candidate’s responses guide you in understanding what they want. Keep pitching, but do not make a hard sell. Let them know you are trying to improve their situation. Emphasize opportunities at your company and current projects that may pique their interest.
  • Be patient. Passive candidates have the ball in their court. They will not make the leap to a new role until you compel them to do so. You need to communicate a unique value proposition that scratches an itch not being met by their current employer.

Maximize your social media approach.

Take every opportunity to connect and interact with passives via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other relevant social platforms. Drive attention to them. Let them know that you are both their promoter and part of their audience.

  • The more engagement you have with a potential candidate, the more likely you are to get their attention. After you have received a few replies from them, you can easily approach them. Build trust.
  • Participate in groups and conversations. There are millions of passive candidates who take part in hundreds of thousands of online groups. Monitor them, identify key contributors and become one yourself. For instance, you can offer yourself up as a subject matter expert or share a relevant article. The key is to give something before you expect anything in return.

The best candidates in the market have strong relationships built with their recruiter. While the tactics outlined above will help position you for improved results, the best method for tapping into the passive talent pool is by partnering with an executive search firm. Turn to the experts at BrainWorks for access to the best passive talent in marketing research, consumer insights, analytics, big data and related fields. Contact us today to learn more about our executive search services.


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