Recruiting top talent in 2024’s competitive market requires a nuanced approach especially when dealing with passive candidates (those who are not actively seeking new job opportunities but are open to the right offer.) The Great Discontent Survey found that 45% of UK workers are passively open to new opportunities. Converting these passive candidates into active ones can significantly boost your talent acquisition efforts.  

We have created a list of our top tips on turning them active.  

 What are passive candidates? 

Passive candidates are individuals who are currently employed and not actively looking for new opportunities. They are usually satisfied with their current role but may be open to change for the right opportunity. These candidates are often highly skilled, with lots of experience making them highly sought after. 

 What is an active candidate? 

 An active candidate is seeking a new position. These candidates are not satisfied with their current position. They are looking for a new role, challenge, or a bump in pay. 

Unlike a passive candidate, active candidates are engaged in finding a new role by checking job listings, applying for open positions, and proactively contacting companies.  

 Why you should be targeting passive candidates? 

Access to top talent: Passive candidates are often highly skilled professionals who are excelling in their current roles. 

Less competition: Since these candidates are not actively job hunting you will be facing less competition from other employers. 

Cultural Fit: As they are not urgently searching for a new job passive candidates can be more selective about their next move and therefore will consider if they are the right fit for the role more carefully.  

Strategies for Engaging Passive Candidates 

 Build a strong employee brand 

 A strong employer brand can attract passive candidates by highlighting what makes your company a great place to work.  

  • Company Culture: Highlight your company culture through videos, blogs, and employee stories. Show the human side of your business. 
  • Employee Advocacy: Encourage current employees to share their positive experiences on social media. Employee testimonials can be powerful in influencing passive candidates. 
  • Awards and Recognitions: Publicise any awards or recognitions your company has received. This enhances your reputation and attractiveness to potential candidates. 

 Create compelling job descriptions 

 When reaching out to passive candidates, your job descriptions need to be compelling and tailored to their interests.  

  • Highlight USPs: Emphasise what sets your company apart from others as well as the role. This could be company culture, opportunities for growth or even a unique project that you are working on. 
  • Personalisation: Customise job descriptions to resonate with the specific candidate. Mention how their skills and experience align with the job requirements.  
  • Career Growth: Outline potential career growth opportunities as passive candidates are looking for a clear path for advancement.  

Check out: Why Salary Transparency is Key in Recruitment – Hireserve 

Competitive Compensation and Benefits 

 Compensation and benefits obviously play a key role in attracting passive candidates.  

  • Benchmarking: conduct market research to ensure your compensation packages are competitive.  
  • Flexible work arrangements: Offering truly flexible work arrangements such as remote options, flexy hours or a hybrid model can help draw passive candidates especially in the face of return to office mandates.  
  • Professional development: Provide opportunities for professional development, such as training programs, certifications, and mentorship. This demonstrates your investment in their long-term growth.  

 Leverage your social media  

Social media platforms are invaluable for connecting with passive candidates, but you must make sure you are using it effectively. 

  • Profile optimisation: Make sure that your company’s LinkedIn profile is professional, informative, and engaging. 
  • Content Sharing: Share relevant industry news, updates and thought leadership articles to position yourself as a desirable place to work. 
  • Personal Outreach: Reach out to passive candidates with personalised messages.  

Find out more on how to leverage your social media here 

 Building a pipeline 

Once you have engaged with these passive candidates through employee referral schemes, social media platforms and your company website you must make sure that you have the right tools in place to manage your pipeline effectively. With an ATS like Hireserve you can use tools to manage your talent pool, automating the process and making it as easy as possible to keep top talent.  

Nurture those relationship: 

As a passive candidate is not actively looking to leave their role, building positive relationships with them is key. This means that you cannot put too much pressure on them to commit to a change quickly. You must remember that building the right type of relationship will take time, so if you need to fill a role urgently you can only fill it with a passive candidate that has been correctly nurtured.  

Communicate with the candidate in an authentic manner whether that is by email, social media, phone, or a catch up over coffee. If you can understand what drives them, their short- and long-term career goals and help them understand your organisation and keep that contact going for any future roles that pop up.  

This is where recruitment software such as an ATS can help – by automating a lot of the communication that keeps candidates on the hook. Our Candidate Portal can help you actively stay in contact and helps keep track of any changes in circumstances.  

 Turning a passive candidate active requires a strategic approach from leveraging your social media, building a strong employer brand, networking, writing compelling job descriptions, using the right hiring software, and offering the right salary and benefits. By implementing these strategies, you can attract the talent you need.  

Find out how Hireserve can help you turn passive candidates into new hires by booking a demo here.  


About the author

Alisha Cadogan