passive candidates

One of the biggest challenges in the job market right now is that we can’t find qualified candidates. They either don’t exist because you are recruiting for a new specialization, or they are not interested in certain jobs, or they do not apply, because they have jobs or projects that they are satisfied with.

LinkedIn studies show that more than 7 out of 10 candidates are passive. At a time when the shortage of labor and skills is growing, passive candidates simply cannot be ignored. Otherwise, you risk affecting the quality of work and results, with effects on business development.

90% of BIA recruitment projects were successfully completed in 2022, by  involving direct search/headhunting techniques.


  • Improve the company’s employer branding
  • Assess current and future staffing needs
  • Create the database
  • Be present where passive candidates are active
  • Recruit
  • Convince them to accept the offer


Passive candidates are often attracted to companies that align with their own goals and values. A strong employer brand means involvement in the community, through employee volunteering and company events; employee ownership in the organization to invest and contribute to organizational growth; a fun, free-thinking workplace dedicated to innovation and collaboration; professional development and growth; long-term leadership.


57% of job seekers say employer brand is important when considering a new position. (Robert Walters Whitepaper – Managing your brand throughout the recruitment process).


Regardless of the brand you represent, work to boost your employer image so passive candidates know it’s a good place to work. Identify the positive aspects of the employer brand as well as the negatives and work to improve this. Start with these questions: How is the company viewed in the community? On social media? By potential candidates? Is it considered an employer worth choosing? What are current and former employees saying about the company?

If you need to work on your employer brand to improve its image, here are some steps:

  • Give employees the opportunity to get involved in community projects.
  • Participate in certain events, charts, and competitions and use the opportunity to affirm the brand and qualify for the employer of choice.
  • Recruit a talented social media specialist to promote your employer’s brand



To know what qualities and knowledge to look for in future colleagues, it’s important to understand the company’s current staffing needs. Through an assessment, you can identify current gaps and anticipate future ones, such as knowledge and skills. This analysis will help you define the profile of the passive candidates you are looking for.
To assess the skill gaps that may exist in your team, consider the following steps:

  • Identify the skills the company needs today, taking into account its mission, vision, and goals. Once these skills are identified, assess how critical they are based on the business objectives, ranking them in order of priority.
  • Assess the current skills of your employees. This data can be gathered by reviewing performance appraisals, skill analysis questionnaires, and one-on-one discussions with employees and managers. As with the first step, rank those skills by how critical they are.
  • Evaluate the results. Comparing the findings from the first two stages, the differences found will reveal the current skill gaps.
  • Perform the same analysis if future skills needs are known

In order to target passive candidates, it’s important to understand staffing needs. These can be forecasted by considering future job growth based on the organization’s strategic plan, turnover rates in the company, and retirements. If the strategic plan includes an expansion of the company in a certain city and a reduction of the activity in another, you can anticipate the number of employees and their profiles.



Call the specialists you have known at the interview or at various events
Keep in touch with professionals who you liked at the interview, but who, for some reason, did not fit the job at that time. Also, if you meet qualified candidates during professional events, be sure to ask for their contact too! Another way to meet potential candidates is to host themed events that can attract people with the expertise you need.

Check out portfolio websites
Researching passive candidates by reviewing their portfolios gives you an objective assessment of their skill set. This method works well for creative professionals like graphic designers who are on Behance, Dribble, or Carbonmade.

GitHub is a great option for finding web developers. You can also run different coding challenges on sites like HackerRank and Codility in order to identify the best passive candidates based on their scores.


Build communities of talent
Talent communities are a genuine way to give candidates an insight into the company you work for, keeping members up to date with relevant news and career opportunities. By fostering an active talent community, you’ll stay in touch with many passive candidates and build relationships with them until they’re ready to explore new opportunities within the company.


AI (Artificial Intelligence)
If recruitment time is limited, you can use different AI tools that, for example, scan several social or professional networks and identify how suitable a profile on LinkedIn is with the requirements of a job.



To identify or find passive candidates, be where they are both physically and virtually. Identify the groups they are active in, the conferences they attend, and their LinkedIn activity.
LinkedIn is probably the most used site for passive recruiting.  Here you can find “Recruiter Lite” and “Recruiter Corporate” options to help you search for candidates. You can also use the “advanced people search” option and enter your criteria for the ideal candidate. Discover other ways to identify passive candidates on LinkedIn:

Develop a keyword-rich profile
Sometimes candidates find your company using the search function and relevant keywords. Keywords are an effective way for potential candidates to find your company. The company profile must include industry-specific details such as areas of expertise, products, and services, and even different locations within the country.
Constantly update the company page to give passive candidates the opportunity to stay up to date with the latest information from the company. Employees can use the “Share That You’re Hiring” feature.

Use the company page to position yourself as an employer of choice
One technique to attract passive candidates on LinkedIn is to refine your company profile. Present constantly the benefits of working in the company and the opportunities for advancement. Include information that puts the business in a good light for job seekers or for those who are open to finding out about new jobs even though they are not actively looking.
Regularly post reviews from colleagues expressing their job satisfaction and use verifiable statistics that highlight the positive aspects of the work environment.

Use the “People also saw” feature
“People Also Viewed” is a LinkedIn feature located on the right side of a company’s profile. Finding candidates on LinkedIn can be easier when you use this feature.

Pay attention to the tags on your profile picture
Make sure you set the #Hiring frame to your profile picture and you can contact candidates who have set their #OpenToWork or #Open to New Opportunities option.

Create a memorable recruitment campaign with a focus on tailoring your message to the professionals you want on your team and creating compelling visuals. Ideal channels are Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

An employee referral program is one of the ideal methods of recruiting semi-active and passive candidates because when they are looking for a new job, they reach out to their friends first. That’s why it’s important to be transparent in your relationships with your colleagues, to recognize and reward their merits, so that they encourage their friends to apply.

Engage with talent – Once you’ve identified passive candidates who are a good fit for your company, make sure you regularly interact with these candidates by reacting and commenting on their posts.



Now you know how to find passive candidates, it’s time to focus on recruiting. Passive candidates are open to considering a new opportunity only if it’s better than their current position. Here are some tips to follow when recruiting passive candidates:

Prepare a compelling pitch. You have very little time to make an impression on a candidate who doesn’t necessarily want to change jobs. It’s essential to give him the job description, mentioning his salary and benefits. Think of the speech as a sales pitch for a product.

Send personalized emails – Passive candidates aren’t looking for a new job, so they need to be motivated to keep interacting with you and consider the role. Choose a personalized approach with them.

Pay attention to your approach during the interview – Start the conversation by making sure people are comfortable and talking about themselves, and their interests. This way you will motivate them to be open to the discussion. Only when you think the time is right can you tell them about your company, the role, and their fit for it.

Emphasize the benefits of the company – Ask passive candidates what would make them leave their current company and identify those aspects where the company you work for can make a difference.



Follow the opportunity
While offering higher compensation might be one way to attract them, you should try other ways as well. Qualified candidates know their worth; therefore, they want other things, such as opportunities to improve their current skill set and gain more experience and professional development. Show them that the new role offers them all these benefits.

Emphasize the organization’s core values and positive culture
Top candidates always aim to work for the best companies. They want to work for companies with big goals and to have a significant impact on society, and on the community, they belong to. They mainly prefer to work for organizations that share their core values. You need to understand their core values and show how they align with your company’s values.
They also prefer work-life balance and workplace flexibility, and providing them with benefits is essential to attracting and retaining talent.

Show how this role aligns with their future plans.
Passive candidates typically have a career perspective and prefer opportunities that align with their long-term vision. Assess their expectations and show how the new role will help them achieve their long-term goals.

Speed up the process
Does the candidate show interest in the position? Then you’ll have to act fast because there’s a risk they’ll lose interest in the role. Take into account that recruiting is not an overnight process, but it will be appreciated if you speed it up while maintaining efficiency. Your actions must reflect the same message and make the candidate feel valued.



READ Also:

The steps of collaboration with BIA to recruit people for your team

How ChatGPT, the new AI tool, helps you in HR

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