How to Recruit Passive Candidates

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The key benefit of recruiting passive candidates is the wealth of experience and skills they bring to your business. The biggest problem is convincing them to leave their jobs and jump ship. Not to worry: our guide will show you how to recruit passive candidates and will boost your chances of a successful hire. 

Why Recruiting Passive Candidates Worth It

Recruiting passive candidates is worth it for many reasons. First of all, passive candidates are typically professionals already in a job with years of experience behind them (as opposed to applicants directly approaching your company for work). They are usually reliable and trusted individuals and have proven themselves with developed skill sets.

What this means for your business in a nutshell: less time, and resources, are needed to train them, and you can get up and running more quickly. Not only that, but there’s a good chance they’ll bring with them industry-specific knowledge, best practices you may not have heard about, and contacts that can help advance your company and keep it competitive.

Research suggests passive candidates are 120% more likely to want to make an impact on your business right away. The reason for this is clear: these candidates bring with them a high level of enthusiasm because you’ve explicitly reached out to them, making them feel both respected and valued. Best of all, they have the skills to back this up and will stay at your company longer than candidates recruited in the standard way. 

It’s not uncommon for most of the workforce to switch up their jobs every few years as well, and candidates will always wonder if things could be better with a different employer. That’s why successfully securing top talent in this way is great for business: it brings in a talented group of professionals that will help to take your company to the next level. 

That’s without mentioning there’s less pressure to secure passive candidates. The most qualified active candidates get recruited at unbelievable speed in today’s job market. But passive candidates don’t come with this stressful time limit as you’re directly reaching out to them, removing the fierce competition. You have them all to yourself.

In summary: passive candidates can save you resources, prevent stress, and supercharge growth.

The Investment Needed To Recruit Passive Candidates

Passive candidates can be great for your business, but it’s fair to say there’s a good deal of investment needed to secure them. Recruiting these star candidates is a long-term process that requires both time and money. 

Realistically speaking, employing passive candidates will take longer than recruiting active ones, so if you need to fill positions quickly, we don’t recommend it. That said, if you do have the time, money, and determination, then you’ll often be rewarded for your patience here. 

The very best talent can take months to win over, even more so if they’re already in a job. It’s your task to convince them how much better it is on your side—this won’t be easy, but the benefits we’ve mentioned pay for themselves over time. Ideally, you shouldn’t put pressure on passive candidates, and you’ll need to perform multiple check-ins to welcome them to your company. 

There are several stages to the passive candidate recruitment process, including finding suitable candidates, reaching out to them with a potential opportunity, and the ongoing dialogue. Passive candidates that may not be initially interested can emerge later on, so don’t close down the offer at the first signs of hesitancy. 

Investing in solid HR software can help to recruit passive candidates more successfully too. We recommend Freshteam, which made our top picks list for being the best software for most companies. The software offers a range of onboarding features and a dedicated applicant tracking tool to stay ahead of the game. Paid plans start at $50 per month for up to 50 employees, and a 21-day free trial is available.

5 Steps To Recruit Passive Candidates

Here are five steps to recruit passive candidates and level up your business.

Step 1 – Build Your Brand

You must build up your brand and make it a place everyone would want to work. Don’t forget passive candidates already have a job, so enticing them works best when you demonstrate what they’re missing.

This step is one of the most overlooked areas of the entire process. Many employers believe they can win candidates over with a few messages without clearly showing the value of their company. It’s not as simple as that, and as with most things, the more you put in, the better the talent you’ll secure.

The best way to build your brand is to establish the company’s goals, objectives, and values. For example, today, it’s particularly crucial to show your company is flexible, fair, and fun but doesn’t shy away from hard work. There’s a delicate balance to get right here, and if you can show this to candidates, they’ll be more convinced of your offering.

Once you’ve outlined your company’s goals, objectives, and values, you need to get the word out there if you haven’t already. The aim is to build up your image, establish a positive reputation, and show you’re a credible company. Start posting job adverts across various platforms, and word will soon spread.

Freshteam is useful here because it allows you to post to all the leading job boards through the software alone, including Glassdoor, Adzuna, Ziprecruiter, LinkedIn, and Indeed.

Instead of tediously logging into every job board and checking the status of each, you simply log into Freshteam, and they’re all there. You can see who’s applied for what and when saving you a great deal of time. Even better, posting jobs to LinkedIn costs you $0.

Step 2 – Start Searching for Candidates

Now comes the stage where you need to start searching for top talent. Most companies will have a different idea about the ideal passive candidate, but the technique to recruit them remains the same: you need to woo them from start to finish. In a nutshell, why would they want to quit their job, risk their financial security, and come and work for you?

It’s vital to do your research and think about what element of your company would resonant with specific candidates. For instance, it might be your contacts or exciting client success stories that are a selling point, or maybe it’s your workplace culture that works hard and knows how to play hard.

It’s helpful if you reach out to candidates directly and ask them what they’d like to see as well. This approach might seem too direct, but it can kickstart the entire recruitment process, showing that you’re an employer that’s willing to listen—something they may have found hard to find.

You might ask them what areas a company could improve on and find out what’s most important to them. It’s all about determining that possible interest first and foremost. A quick conversation with a few questions can help you decide if they’re the right person for your position.

Freshteam can help here again. It features applicant tracking capabilities such as email templates and the option of seeing what stage each candidate is at, with helpful reminders to stay on top of it and not miss out on candidate recruitment possibilities.

Step 3 – Use Automation Tools

Using automation tools to help recruit passive candidates is a no-brainer. Not only do they increase your chances of success, but they also save you time and keep stress to a minimum.

Modern automation tools enable users to locate passive candidates more quickly and include artificial-intelligence-powered solutions. Algorithms can forecast successful hires better than hiring managers themselves. The tech can even predict which candidates are most likely to want to switch their jobs in the first place.

There’s plenty of automation features in Freshteam, so fret not; you don’t need to spend time researching the best automation tools out there. Freshteam automatically connects candidates from career sites, job boards, and social media platforms and then presents them in a unified sourcing channel.

Not only that, but with the software, you’ll be able to define automation rules for each job—everything from the event, conditions, and actions to help make it all that little bit easier.

An autopilot feature allows you to automate repetitive recruiting tasks like emailing, screening, and follow-ups. You can even configure it to improve the speed of hiring and efficiency and fill those positions faster.

There’s no doubt automations help with the tough task of recruiting passive candidates, so don’t neglect them, and you’ll be halfway there.

Step 4 – Build a Referral Program

Existing employees are one of the most successful ways of recruiting passive candidates. 78% of recruiters find their best candidates through referrals.

It’s easy to see why: who better entices passive candidates than those who already work at a company? These employees know the company culture and what it’s like to work there, and therefore, passive candidates find them more trustworthy.

Your employees will have their own social networks, and these will consist of quality candidates who may be the perfect fit for your company. The best part is that referral programs don’t just help you find more candidates—no, the quality of the candidates is higher as well.

If you’re worried that building a referral program will take too much time, don’t. A simple program that encourages your team to post jobs on their social networks, for example, can be all you need in some cases. Be sure to provide incentives for doing so—this can be financial bonuses, days off, or even out-of-the-box thinking like tickets to an event.

The whole idea is to turn your existing employees into an army of influential recruiters, so reward them accordingly.

Step 5 – Simplify the Application Process

Simplifying your application process is another overlooked area. Most employers assume that passive candidates will be happy to fill in page after page to apply for their advertised position. This approach fails to consider that passive candidates don’t strictly need a new job and are usually hesitant to jump ship if signing up takes too long.

No matter how good your company appears, passive candidates have limited time in their lives. Most will have full-time jobs and other commitments, and while they may not like their job, that doesn’t mean they’ll change straight away. The question is: how can you sell your position and make signing up as straightforward as possible?

The answer isn’t complicated. You need to ensure you spend some time thinking about what you’re asking candidates and acquire the necessary details as efficiently as possible.

Freshteam can make the recruitment process far more manageable. It gets important documents signed and collected in a few clicks. You’ll be able to send friendly reminders to passive candidates, too, keeping them on track but not applying unnecessary pressure and scaring them off.

Most impressively, you’ll be able to customize forms and collect only the data you need from passive candidates, increasing your chances of a successful hire. Be sure to customize forms based on the position you’re trying to fill—this can be decisive in inviting a candidate to make that final leap.

Simplifying the application process with the help of HR software is a smart move, and if you’re worried about the price, remember that Freshteam comes with a 21-day free trial. The trial allows you to test out most of its features, from applicant tracking to employee onboarding, helping you make an informed choice if it’s right for you.

Next Steps

There you have it, that’s how to recruit passive candidates to your company.

Keep in mind the process is always going to come with a fair amount of challenge. While it can be shortened down and made easier, you still need to put in the time and effort to secure the best people. You wouldn’t expect anything else, though, right?

If you’re wondering about the next steps to take, we recommend checking out these guides:

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