How to Engage and Recruit Passive Candidates?

In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, waiting for the right candidate to match the company’s requirements might not be a good option. The recruiters must be proactive in their approach and reach out to potential talent who are comfortable in their current jobs.

This might be a challenge but it is crucial as they are equipped with the specific set of skills matching your requirements. In this article we will look into the complete process of identifying, engaging, and recruiting passive candidates.

Who are Passive Candidates?

A passive candidate is someone who is not actively looking for a new job opportunity. But they may be open to engaging with you for the right job. 

Why are they Important?

A passive candidate is equipped with the skills, qualifications, and experience that might rightly fit into your needs. According to Forbes, 70% of the global workforce are passive thereby forming a vast talent pool. The recruiters miss the opportunity to tap into this talent pool if they focus only on active candidates. Also, the fact that they are employed proves their value as an employee making the process relatively easy for the recruiter.

How do I Approach Passive Candidates on Linkedin?

Tired of the same old recruiting routine? Passive candidates hold untapped potential but reaching them requires a strategic approach. Learn how to:

  • Craft personalized messages: Ditch the generic templates! Highlight shared connections, relevant skills, and unique company offerings.
  • Showcase genuine interest: Don’t just sell the job. Go beyond the requirements and understand their career aspirations.
  • Offer value upfront: Share insightful content, industry trends, or relevant opportunities beyond your position.
  • Respect their time: Be clear and concise in your communication, and don’t pressure them into immediate decisions.
  • Build relationships: Don’t disappear after one message. Nurture connections and stay top-of-mind through valuable interactions.

Strategies for Recruiting Passive Talent

Recruiting passive candidates takes much more effort compared to traditional recruitment as you have to entice them into the new role. Recruiters must constantly reach out and provide value, as passive talents are content in their job and not actively searching for a new job. The process can be broadly divided into three stages.

strategies for recruiting passive talent

1. Identification

Artificial Intelligence

Identifying passive candidates who are more likely to change their jobs using AI models, can significantly save time and money. Rytfit is an AI-powered platform that analyzes talent profiles and offers valuable insights to recruiters to source the right candidates.

Combined with the human touch of manual sourcing, the identification process becomes much stronger allowing the recruiters to source efficiently.

Social Media

Social media can prove to be an invaluable tool as almost 81% of the US population has a social media account. Frequent activity in industry-related topics by a candidate is a sure indication of a high-quality candidate. Targeted messages to these candidates with personalized content ensure higher engagement and healthy relationships.

Almost 49% of professionals follow companies to stay aware of future job opportunities. A strong social presence with tonnes of useful content can help you attract these potential candidates. Also, careful building of your brand as a trusted employer, makes passive candidates more comfortable leaving their current jobs.

Employee Referrals

Referrals are the leading source of candidates for 88% of employers and they are often the best culture fit for the organization. They are more efficient and have higher retention rates compared to non-referral hires.

So, tapping into your employee network and their connections can offer you quality talent. Also, passive candidates are more likely to trust their connections and will be more open to further discussions regarding the opportunity.

Job Boards

Though job boards are mostly used by active candidates, it often proves to be a rich source for identifying passive candidates. While looking for jobs passive candidates upload their resumes and they remain in the database even after they were recruited for a job. Thus, a trained recruiter can easily identify passive candidates with relevant search parameters allowing them to build a pipeline of passive talent.

2. Engagement

Be Personal

Avoid sending standard boring sourcing emails as it would fail to interest any of the passive talents. Craft personalized and relevant messages by understanding the candidate’s needs. As the candidates are not actively looking for a job change, the message must be customized enough to draw their attention.

Establish Your Brand

A passive candidate must be confident of the new opportunity to leave their current job where they are comfortable. Organizations must then focus on building their brand as a fun and comfortable workplace nurturing the personal and professional growth of their employees.

Social media is an important platform where organizations can share photos and videos of outings, celebrations, sports, and fitness events.

According to Glassdoor, 83% of candidates prefer to look at company reviews and ratings before applying for the job. Reviews form an important part of any company’s brand, and hence must be targeted with consistent updates and useful information.

Train Your Managers

Hiring managers should be trained with recruitment strategies allowing them to target passive candidates. The behavior of passive candidates are different from regular active candidates and so the managers must be equipped with the relevant tools to deal with them.

Another inexpensive method is to hire interns and train them in sourcing passive candidates from social media and job portals. This method is mutually beneficial as the interns gain valuable recruitment experience boosting their career growth.

3. Recruitment

Value Proposition

According to PwC, millennials consider career growth and work-life balance as very important for a job.

Therefore, the most effective way to recruit passive candidates is to show them that the new opportunity is better than their current job. Compensation, work satisfaction, professional development, and work culture are the major factors every candidate looks for while switching jobs.

The passive candidate is already in a stable job and your new opportunity must score better in all four departments for them to consider. Thus, every passive candidate must be provided with tailored content that details the growth opportunities and work-life balance available at your organization.

In short, the recruiter must make every possible effort to make the decision easy for the passive talent.

Flexible Interview Process

A complex interview process with multiple rounds is a sure way to scare away passive candidates. According to LinkedIn, 65% of candidates lose interest in the job if they had a bad interview experience.

A better way is to customize the interview process according to the employee’s needs. A fine balance must be maintained between the quality and complexity of the interview process. The process must be flexible enough so that the employee can fit in the process around their workday.

The candidate can be allowed to schedule the process and the interactions must be streamlined. Rytfit is an AI-powered platform that allows its users to automate the scheduling and assessment process with minimal effort.


When you have trouble finding the right candidate, targeting passive talent can help you cater to organizational requirements. However, a comprehensive recruitment strategy caters to both active and passive candidates, recruiting the right candidate for the right position.