June 14, 2023

Passive Candidate Sourcing: The 3-How's

Who is a passive candidate?

A passive candidate is a job seeker who is currently employed and is not actively seeking new job opportunities but can be interested in applying if presented with a good offer. Passive candidates are competent in their current roles and possess specialized knowledge, skills, and expertise. They don't make an effort to look for new job openings, browse career pages or job boards and apply to them, rather the recruiters or the hiring team have to find and contact these candidates themselves. The majority of the workforce is built with passive talent as these are highly skilled in their domains.

passive candidate

Active Candidates vs Passive Candidates

The major difference between active and passive candidates can be read below:

Active vs Passive Candidate

What does passive candidate sourcing mean?

Passive candidate sourcing is a process of finding and attracting individuals that are currently employed and are not actively looking for new job roles but might be interested in accepting the offer if they find it best. They are passive because they do not apply for the open positions actively and usually the recruiter or the hiring manager reaches out to them. Recruiters source and engage these candidates and attract them to open positions within the organization.

Passive candidate sourcing

1- How to find passive candidates?

Passive candidates don't actively apply to the open positions within the company, in fact, they are not even searching for one, so all the responsibility for sourcing passive candidates lies on recruiters or hiring managers. Recruiters need to search and identify these candidates, instead of waiting for their applications as it won't happen. Here are 4 techniques that HR can adopt to find passive candidates:

Through Employee Referrals

Employee Referrals are the most effective and important sourcing technique, not only for hiring active candidates but also for recruiting passive candidates.

It is a method where the employees of the team refer or recommend applicants that they think are the best fit for the open position within the organization. As the current employees are fully aware of the company's aims, values, and culture, they know the company inside and out and refer the top candidates.

Recruiters can utilize the power of employee referral programs and ask their employees for recommendations, as a result, if their referred candidates get hired successfully within the company, they are offered employee referral bonuses.

Employee referral bonuses are given to employees to motivate and encourage them to recommend candidates and the bonus can be in any form, such as cash, award, certificates, prizes, trips vacations and etc.

The magic of social media

social media

To start sourcing passive candidates on social media, you first need to identify your targeted audience and then you choose the platform according to that. As the world of social media is wide so identifying a targeted audience will help you narrow down your search and focus on only relevant individuals, otherwise you might spend extra time looking for passive candidates on different platforms.

There are several social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and more, to find and attract candidates that are highly skilled and experts in their domain. There are millions of users on social media, and as a recruiter, you can connect with multiple potential candidates and encourage them to consider job opportunities within your organization.

How can these tools help a recruiter find passive candidates?

  1. Use the advanced search features of LinkedIn, which can help you filter and search for candidates based on specific criteria and ultimately narrow down your results.
  2. Join online Facebook groups where you can easily reach out and communicate with passive candidates, by searching their profiles and contacting them there.
  3. Connect or build connections with highly skilled and expert candidates on LinkedIn, and grow your network with industry specialists.
  4. Use the game of hashtags on Instagram or LinkedIn, related to the skills or experience of passive candidates and grab their attention.
  5. Engage them by posting relevant content on your company's social profile or career page.

Finding them in person

Meeting passive candidates in person can benefit you as you can easily connect with multiple candidates in one place and can identify their communication skills and other important aspects.

  1. Attend industry events such as conferences, seminars, and presentations, where the majority of professionals are gathered. These events are a great source of finding passive candidates as they invite individuals who are experienced and passionate about their field.
  2. Host your own event, where you can showcase your brand, and advertise job openings and company culture, but here you are likely to gain both active and passive candidates.
  3. Engage yourself in communities, and discussions, organize lectures to make applicants aware of your brand, and establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource.

Passive candidates in your talent pool

You were thinking of hiring a candidate in the past, but you felt they weren’t quite fit for the role, but still, you knew they’d make a great addition to the company. Well, it's time to go back to your talent pool and check on those previous candidates, that might have been rejected at the last stage of the process. It might be the case that they are not good for the past role, but could be a good fit for the current job opening.

As they have been rejected in the past, it can be a little trickier to convince them, so you need to try and gain their trust and show them the advantages of working within your company.

It also depends upon their past candidate experience, as if they were treated nicely and had a good candidate experience, they might be motivated to apply for the open positions, but those who had a bad candidate experience in the past won't be glad to hear from you again.

How to find passive candidates?

2- How to evaluate passive candidates?

After sourcing or finding passive candidates, the next step is to source them. Here are a few evaluation or screening techniques to shortlist the best fits:

  1. Plan, plan, and plan first: In order to screen your candidates, first identify what methods or criteria you require to screen these candidates and then evaluate them accordingly. Keep in mind what an ideal candidate should possess, what are the must-have skills, the qualifications, the experience, etc in your ideal.
  2. Social accounts: Get a clear understanding of these candidates from their social profiles as there is a lot of information, such as their skills, past work experiences, education history, and other background information about applicants mentioned in their social profiles. They can help you get insights into candidates' qualities, interests, and hobbies.
  3. Interviews and assessments: Conduct assessments, and give them tasks, and assignments, designed depending on the open role. Perform interviews of various types, such as phone, online, individual, panel, stress, behavioral, and other types, depending upon the nature of the job role, to get more in-depth knowledge of their skills.
  4. Conduct background and reference checks: Do check and verify the reference and background mentioned by candidates in their resumes or profiles, to avoid any future consequences. Reference checks help verify the candidate's past work experience and skills and background check look for any criminal records or involvement in any other legal activities, so it's very important to conduct these checks.
How to evaluate passive candidates?

3- How to engage passive candidates?

Remember that these candidates are already employed, finding them itself is a crucial task and once sourced, it's very important to keep them engaged.

How to keep passive candidates engaged?

Below are a few tips to help you engage with passive candidates, in order to ensure a positive candidate experience:

Ask the right questions

Ask relevant and right questions in tests, assignments, and interviews. Make sure you craft questions that are related to the required skills, qualifications, expertise, and personality for the role and the company. Keep the tone in interviews polite and avoid unnecessary discussions. In the end, keep in mind to ask candidates if they have any queries and answer them in the best polite way possible.

Keep communicating and updating

The key to keeping candidates engaged is regularly communicating with them, leaving no ambiguity. Keep them updated regarding the next step of the recruitment process, what to expect, what is expected of them, and other necessary details. This helps to create a positive candidate experience, leaving a good impression of your company.

Build a Strong Employer Brand

A great employer brand can make or break your chances of engaging top passive candidates. It can either have a positive or a negative effect on your company. Boost the benefits of joining your company and clearly define the aim, values, objectives, and culture of your company. Provide a great candidate experience so that your organization establishes trust and credibility among passive candidates.

Give and take feedback

Your sourcing process can never be 100% efficient, it can be close to efficiency if you work on identifying flaws and weak points in your sourcing process and devise strategies to overcome them.

In order to identify weak points in the candidate sourcing process, ask for feedback from applicants, and ask questions like: what did they like most about the process? Which one thing do they want to change about the overall process or which step of the process do they think is unnecessary and should be eliminated? Moreover provide them with feedback, even if you reject them, don't leave them hanging or wait for the update, politely explain the reason for rejection, and how they can improve, and craft an email, wishing them luck in the future.

The key point to remember while engaging passive candidates

As passive candidates are not actively seeking new job roles, and will switch only if presented with an excellent job opportunity, you need to keep them engaged, throughout the hiring process, creating a positive candidate experience and increasing your chances of hiring and onboarding them.

How to engage passive candidates?

Source passive candidates with an ATS

An Applicant Tracking System serves as a powerful tool, for sourcing passive candidates. It is an all-in-one platform to source, evaluate, track, and hire candidates, optimizing your hiring cost and time. Following are some ways in which an ATS can be helpful for sourcing passive candidates:

  1. Go through the candidate database in your ATS of your previous recruitment process and analyze their skills, experience, education, and qualifications and find out who you might want to reach again and consider in your next hiring process.
  2. Use search and filters to identify potential passive candidates and narrow down the list on the basis of specific criteria.
  3. Use the power of automated emails, to notify and keep them engaged and updated constantly regarding company news, open positions, and the next steps of the recruitment process.
  4. Set reminders to check with the passive candidates and provide them with details regarding career opportunities within your company or invitations to company events.



When is a passive candidate the best option?

A passive candidate is the best option when you are recruiting to fill an open position that requires highly specialized skills, qualities, and experience such as a senior position or a leadership role, and a passive candidate who has all these might be an excellent fit, as passive candidates are greatly experienced and competent and possess knowledge and skills that may not be present in active job seekers.

What is the best source to hire passive job candidates?

The choice of sourcing medium for hiring passive candidates varies from organization to organization. The first step is to identify your targeted audience and then source the applicants according to that. Generally, employee referrals are the most effective medium to source passive candidates as employees are fully aware of job and company requirements and refer candidates that are competent and culturally fit.

How can AI help with passive candidate sourcing?

AI chatbot

AI can play a very important role to source passive candidates, as it is very important to keep these candidates engaged, therefore there are several AI tools such as AI chatbots to assist these candidates, answer their queries and provide them with relevant details. AI tools can also help recruiters rank candidate profiles, based on their skill set, experience, job requirements, and other defined criteria. AI powerful search can assist recruiters or sources to narrow down their search by applying filters, cutting down the time to manually search passive job seekers.

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Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier