Passive Candidates: 5 Strategies for Sourcing

Oct 22 / Steve Lowisz
Passive candidates are key for recruiting in today’s market.

The Great Resignation is in full effect, and it’s actually still accelerating. In August, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs. The previous records were July and April of 2021.

As a recruiter, theres’ two main takeaways here.

Firstly, the hiring boom isn’t going anywhere. If you’re waiting for hiring needs to ease up, don’t hold your breath.

Secondly, workers are experiencing a lot of dissatisfaction – and are more open to new opportunities than ever before.

In fact, A recent survey by Workable showed that 70% of U.S. workers are actively or passively looking for new work.

The bottom line? If you’re struggling to find candidates, you should be targeting passive candidates.

Here’s 5 strategies to source more passive candidates. 

Passive Candidate Sourcing Tip #1 - Get Social Beyond LinkedIn 

Every recruiter knows to use LinkedIn.

But are you using Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms to find candidates?

To find candidates that fit your profile, search for hashtags relevant to your industry.

Alternatively, you can join groups related to specific professions.

You never know where you will find someone who’s open to a conversation! 

Passive Candidate Sourcing Tip #2 Leverage a Referral Program 

This is one of the easiest ways to make great hires.
According to ERIN, an employee referral software company, employee referrals are 4x more likely to get hired than other candidates.

Additionally, 45% of hires from employee referrals stay for longer than 4 years. In comparison, only 25% of hires sourced through job boards stay for over 2 years.

So offer a referral bonus. Remind your team members about the program. When you have new openings, announce them to the team.

It may not meet all your sourcing needs, but it’s an easy way to find more candidates. 

Passive Candidate Sourcing Tip #3 Make the Application Process Quick and Easy 

Passive candidates are already gainfully employed. They’re typically not hurting for income, or spending hours job hunting every week. In other words, they don’t have time for you if the application process is long and tedious.

Whatever you do, do not make applicants upload a resume, then manually enter it into your system as well!

Design the process so that applicants can apply in just a few minutes. This is important! 

Passive Candidate Sourcing Tip #4 Dig Through Recruiting Databases 

Do you or your client have a large database of old candidates?
People grow and develop new skills over time. Maybe a candidate was a great choice, but someone else was slightly more qualified.

In short, you never know what excellent candidates may be waiting in a database until you look.

It can be really time-consuming to dig through a large database. However, so is trying to find candidates on LinkedIn these days. It’s worth a shot to see who’s already applied, even if it was years ago. 

Passive Candidate Sourcing Tip #5 Get Creative

One of the best ways to source passive candidates is to leverage techniques other recruiters don’t think of.

Every candidate gets messages from recruiters on LinkedIn...so they tune them out.

But if you’re able to connect with them through a different medium, you have far better odds of catching their attention.

Consider Github for developer candidates. This is a great way to view work samples, see how developers interact with one another, and overall find developers in your niche.

Conference attendee lists, state directories, and even local MeetUps can be great ways to connect with passive talent. 

Make More Hires With Passive Candidates

If you want to make more hires, passive candidates are your best bet. There’s no sign that the labor market will change anytime soon. As a result, it’s on recruiters to get creative, find ways to uncover more talent, and make a compelling case for their opportunities.