The passive candidate: highly sought after by recruiters as these candidates provide a great opportunity to recruit top talent with little or no competition.

What’s the big deal about passive candidates? Unlike ‘active’ candidates – people who are actively looking for a new job and therefore have put themselves on the job market – passive candidates are not job hunters. Instead they are professionals who might be interested in having a conversation about your role, but are not actively seeking a new job. If you can engage with these candidates, you can target the best people for your role and potentially avoid the problem of your preferred candidate being offered another job.

Recruiting passive candidates can streamline your recruitment process by removing unsuitable candidates from the equation, and take the pressure off by engaging with candidates that are focused on your opportunity alone.


How to find passive candidates

To engage with passive candidates you’ve first got to find them.  The most effective way to do this is to explore your own networks and connections, as well as candidate databases from previous hires and specialist finance recruitment agencies.

No doubt you and your colleagues are connected with many other finance professionals who may be open to a discussion about your vacant role. They may be former colleagues, fellow graduates from your university course, or people you’ve met at industry events. If they’re not suitable candidates themselves, they may be able to recommend people from their network for the role.

Additionally you may have a candidate database from previous recruitment activities that may have potential passive candidates on it. Perhaps a candidate was overqualified for a previous position but would make an excellent hire for your new role?

Specialist finance recruitment agencies will also have a strong talent pool of passive candidates. These are often people they’ve placed in other roles over the years and are now at a point where they might interested in making a move for the right opportunity. The most valuable IP a recruitment consultant has is their candidate list, and a good recruiter will be proactive in approaching passive candidates for your role.


Engaging passive candidates

Before reaching out to passive candidates there are a few things your organisation can do to help engage them when you do.

Having a strong employer brand is important. Passive candidates are cautious, they’re generally happy in their current roles and so if they do move jobs it has to be to a good employer. Explore ways to promote your employer brand through social media and the company website. Passive candidates will be searching these platforms to find out more about your company culture, so make sure they can find what they’re looking for.

Brand awareness in general is important too. Ideally you don’t want to approach a passive candidate and receive the response, “never heard of you”. Talk to your marketing team about how you raise awareness before you make an approach. Targeted social media advertising can be a very effective way of putting your organisation in front of passive candidates.

Share content that will interest and engage passive candidates. As well as information about your employer brand, candidates will also be looking for content that helps them to understand your business objectives and the people within your organisation. By publishing blog posts, sharing articles on LinkedIn and putting out useful information on social media, candidates will become more engaged with your organisation.

Make it personal. Recruiting passive candidates is not the same as recruiting active candidates. Typically the latter will respond to your job advert and they’ll be trying to sell their skills and experience to your organisation. Whereas with passive candidates your organisation needs to sell your job opportunity to the candidate. Therefore communication should be personalised and highly targeted.

Put yourself in their shoes. What would motivate you to agree to an interview? What is it about your job opportunity that it better than their existing role? What is it about your organisation that would encourage a passive candidate to leave the security of their current employer to work for you?

As specialist finance recruiters we invest in our recruitment brand to help our clients engage passive candidates. We advertise in the national press to raise brand awareness, so that when our consultants approach a passive candidate they know who we are.

While this opens the door to a conversation with a passive candidate our clients also need to be focused on engaging with them too. By following the advice above you can engage passive candidates more effectively and tap into this high quality talent pool.