What Is a Passive Candidate?
A passive candidate is someone an employer is considering for a certain position, although the candidate has not applied for the open position and is not searching for a new job. However, for a variety of reasons, their qualifications and experience make them attractive to hiring managers, who may begin recruiting by inviting strong candidates to consider the position.
Passive candidates are often those with in-demand skills and experience that make them desirable to employers. They are sometimes difficult to recruit, especially if they are happy and well-compensated in their current job.
Passive Candidate vs. Active Candidate
An active candidate is someone who is dissatisfied with their current employment situation. Active candidates seek new positions by consistently reviewing job boards, networking for relevant opportunities, reaching out to hiring managers, and completing applications.
On the other hand, passive candidates are currently employed and generally satisfied with their current positions. However, they are open to new opportunities for leadership, growth, or higher compensation. Recruiters and hiring managers must actively engage with and compete for passive candidates with streamlined hiring processes and job incentives.
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What Is Passive Recruitment?
Passive recruitment involves a hiring manager or other HR professional seeking out a job candidate who is not currently looking for a new position. Recruiters seek out qualified professionals who may be a good fit for the company and the job that needs to be filled and then try to convince the candidates to consider and apply for the position.
How to Source Passive Candidates
Unlike traditional candidates, passive candidates don’t actively search job boards or apply for available positions. Instead, hiring managers and recruiters use alternative means to source and contact skilled candidates for open roles.
To find these people, recruiters may ask employees or other contacts within their network for referrals. They may search for attractive profiles on LinkedIn, review data from previous employees or candidates, consult professional websites and communities, or use recruitment technologies or talent management systems.
Social media or even search engines may be other helpful resources for locating passive candidates.
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How to Recruit Passive Candidates
1. Meet Passive Candidates Where They Are
The first step to recruiting passive candidates is to reach out to qualified prospects using LinkedIn or other social media platforms. Send a quick and simple message explaining the position and why you believe the individual is a good fit.
Depending on your level of interest in the candidate, you may want to reach out more aggressively with an email or phone call, but avoid using their current work contact information if possible.
2. Reach Out According to Your Recruitment Strategy
Your initial message or introduction should aim to get the passive candidate excited about your company and the position. Include information about what makes your organization stand out, such as awards it has received. Give details about the position, how the passive candidate can benefit from it, and how your company can benefit from the candidate’s skills and expertise.
Explain how the position is relevant to their previous experience and represents a good next step in their career. Because they aren’t currently seeking a new position, your recruitment strategy must convince passive candidates to talk with you further and consider the job in your first message. Be persuasive, enthusiastic, friendly, and to the point.
3. Provide Next Steps and Set Expectations with Passive Candidates
Make sure to outline the next step for your passive candidate, such as a phone call or lunch meeting. Follow up if you don’t hear back from them within a reasonable time period.
When communicating with passive candidates, respect that they may be content in their current job and are not looking to leave. If they decide to accept your invitation to apply, give them enough time to prepare the necessary materials; they likely don’t have a resume or portfolio ready to submit immediately.
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