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8 Proven Passive Recruiting Strategies For HR Professionals


Did you know, a significant number of organizations fail to realize that ONLY 30% of the workforce comprises active job seekers?

It is owing to the above fact that a large number of these organizations miss out on a staggering 70% of potential high-quality candidates by neglecting passive recruitment!

To add to it, on a recent podcast, Deepinder Goyal, CEO of Zomato, highlighted a crucial aspect of his organization’s recruitment process.

He stated, “Ideally we don’t hire people who are looking for jobs, because the kind of people we need, they don’t search for jobs”.

Having referred to passive candidates here, he highlights the ironic fact that the most sought-after individuals are in fact the ones who aren’t actively seeking job opportunities!

But how exactly can organizations master this art and harness the potential of passive candidates?

Read on to find out as we explore 8 effective strategies to master passive candidate recruitment and secure top-tier talent.

Searching Passive candidate

What is a passive candidate?

For those of you wondering, passive candidates are individuals who are not actively seeking employment but are open to new opportunities. 

In essence they are currently employed, probably content with their employment situation, and not actively searching for another job.

However, around 87% of both active and passive candidates are open to new job opportunities. 

How then, do we differentiate between an active and passive candidate? 

While active candidates are readily available to start work, passive candidates, content with their roles, require persuasion by recruiters.

Would you believe it, almost 75% of employers report difficulty in filling positions? 

Evidently recruitment in itself is hard. 

Imagine a scenario wherein an organization needs to fill critical, specialized and high-demand roles, further adding to the countless recruitment challenges recruiters face on the daily?

The sure-shot solution? Passive recruiting! 

Recruiting passive candidates allows organizations to access high-quality individuals with specialized skills and experience.

There’s no denying the scores of benefits that come with adopting a passive recruitment strategy, a look at which we’ll take in the upcoming section. 

Passive recruiting

Benefits of passive candidate recruiting 

Attracting passive candidates means great things for your organization! Here’s a look at what the perks of adopting a passive recruiting strategy look like:

  1. Expands the talent pool beyond active job seekers:

“The more, the merrier” right? 

Access to passive candidates means tapping into a broader pool of talent with valuable skills and experience, even though they are not actively looking for new opportunities. 

This translates to successful hiring!

  1. Attracts high-quality talent with specialized skills and experience:

It’s a whole new (and better) recruitment world out there when passive candidates enter the picture! 

Passive candidates often possess specialized expertise and experience, crucial for improving the overall quality of the workforce.

This integration of highly skilled professionals directly contributes to the organization’s success.  

  1. Reduces competition for in-demand candidates:

Here’s the trick—there is no need to compete when no one else is participating! 

Since passive candidates are not actively applying for roles, organizations face less competition when recruiting them, increasing the likelihood of securing top talent. 

Put your best foot forward and hope for the best all!

  1. Enhances cultural fit within the organization:

Because of the very selective nature that surrounds the entire process of passive recruiting, all stakeholders involved cherry-pick their choices, be it the passive candidate or the organization. 

Recruiting passive candidates allows organizations to carefully select individuals who align with their values and culture, ensuring a better fit within the team and a positive work environment and vice-versa.

Recruiting passive candidates

How to recruit passive candidates?

A recent study warned HR and recruiting leaders, highlighting a troubling reality – only 16% of new hires possess the necessary skills for their current and future roles!

With the stakes that high and resources quite limited, recruiters face a major challenge.

And the way around? Recognize, engage and recruit passive candidates!

We’ll say it again- embracing passive recruiting strategies is key to bridging this skills gap effectively. 

8 effective passive recruiting strategies for HR professionals

  1. Develop a detailed passive candidate persona:

Searching for something without knowing exactly what you’re looking for could turn out to be a phenomenal waste of valuable resources such as time, money, and recruiter energy.

It is very important for recruiters to determine “what” they’re looking for in order to be clear on “whom” they’re seeking.

Developing a detailed passive candidate persona is not just about avoiding wasted high-potential resources, but is about aligning recruitment efforts to maximize results.

By understanding the specific traits, skills, and motivations of passive candidates, recruiters can tailor their approach to effectively engage and attract top talent. This personalized approach enhances candidate fit and reduces the risk of mismatches, ultimately leading to higher-quality hires and decreasing attrition rates.

  1. Offer competitive compensation and benefits packages:

You need bait to attract your candidates, don’t you?

Providing attractive compensation packages, including salary, bonuses, and benefits, entices passive candidates and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to employee satisfaction.

Crafting an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) showcases the benefits of joining the organization, leading to a 24% increase in the quality of hire.

For those who don’t know what an EVP is – it refers to the employee gains and perks offered by an organization that helps them attract and retain talent.

Highlighting unique perks and benefits sets the organization apart from competitors and attracts passive candidates seeking growth opportunities and work-life balance.

  1. Strengthen the organization’s employment brand:

Didn’t think investing in your employer branding was important?

Well, guess what – organizations that invest in employer branding are three times more likely to make a quality hire!

Passive candidates need to know what they’re signing up for before leaving a comfortable job for an uncertain opportunity.

Furthermore, organizations that prioritize employer branding not only attract high-calibre candidates but also establish stronger connections with passive talent. 

By highlighting company culture, values, and growth opportunities, employers can differentiate themselves from the current employer, making their brand more appealing to potential candidates. 

Apart from increasing the likelihood of the expected outcome of attracting passive talent, it ensures that candidates have a clear understanding of what the organization stands for. 

  1. Utilize social media platforms effectively for passive candidate outreach:

Leveraging platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, X, and Facebook is all about building rapport and fostering engagement with potential candidates. 

By sharing compelling content and participating in valuable conversations, recruiters can expand their talent pool and therefore address the skills gap within their organization. 

Adopting social media recruiting effectively not only enhances candidate engagement but also provides recruiters with valuable insights into candidate preferences and behaviors.

For an A-Z understanding of how to leverage and implement social recruiting in your recruitment process, be sure to check out our eBook “Social Recruiting Playbook for 2023“!

Additionally, recruiters must also consider incorporating live career page links on their social media handles. 

This ensures continuous visibility and engagement, ensuring a relationship where both parties are equally invested in the recruitment process.

  1.  Implement employee referral programs:

Did you know 48% of businesses say their top-quality hires come from employee referrals?

Don’t miss out on tapping into your greatest source of passive candidates—your own employees.

In fact, organizations must encourage current employees to refer candidates from their networks, making the best use of personal connections to attract top talent. 

Incentivizing the referral program further enhances its effectiveness, making sure there’s active participation and ensuring that recommendations are based on trust and credibility. 

Aside from expanding the talent pool, when an existing employee refers someone, it implies their satisfaction with the organization.

This creates a positive impression for the referred individual, thereby enhancing the company’s overall reputation. 

  1. Regularly revisit and update talent pools:

Requirements change, so do the kind of passive candidates you may require.

Regularly revisiting and updating talent pools is integral to ensure a robust pipeline of qualified passive candidates.

This also helps the organization stay ahead of the ever-evolving organizational needs and market trends. 

It is imperative for organizations to continuously update their passive candidate sourcing channels through  internships, events, and tapping into alumni networks.

This approach not only minimizes the skills gap by aligning candidate qualifications with evolving requirements but also improves the overall quality of the candidate pool

Additionally, by leveraging updated talent pools, recruiters can significantly reduce time-to-hire, as they already have a high-quality pool of candidates at their disposal.

  1. Leverage AI recruiting tools:

Doing all of the above alone might prove to be incredibly difficult!

Investing in AI recruiting tools can significantly ease the process as they streamline operations, engage candidates effectively, and optimize database management.

An advanced ATS with an optimized candidate database serves as a valuable repository from which recruiters can identify potential passive candidates.

Utilizing recruitment automation software and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs)  eases out the majority of the mundane and repetitive tasks that can be quite taxing for talent acquisition teams. 

They also help to maximize the potential of candidate profiles, reduce time-to-hire, and improve the quality of hire as a result of a superior candidate experience provided by the company.

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  1. Personalize outreach and maintain consistent follow-up for long-term relationships:

If you wish to lure in a perfectly content employee, expressing interest or identifying them isn’t enough.

Tailoring communication to each candidate’s specific interests and preferences and consistently engaging with them over time are essential for building rapport and trust

This personalized approach not only strengthens relationships but also significantly enhances the likelihood of successful recruitment. 

Everyones wants to feel wanted, especially a passive candidate. 

By demonstrating organizational commitment and a genuine interest in the candidate’s career aspirations, recruiters can really make their organization stand out from the rest.

Just as many sales teams leverage personalized communication in closing deals, similarly, investing in personalized communication can greatly help in recruiting passive candidates, surpassing one’s expectations of its impact. 

Recruiting Passive candidates


Recognizing the value of passive recruiting strategies is of great importance for HR professionals who wish to enhance their recruitment outcomes.

By tapping into this extremely rich source of talent, organizations can effectively reduce turnover rates, improve the quality of hires, and stay ahead of all competition that stands in their way. 

To optimize these efforts, why not consider leveraging highly advanced software like Zappyhire’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? How about a quick demo to see for yourself? 

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Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari, a Content Marketer at Zappyhire, crafts content on HR tech, recruitment automation, and everything in between. With a background in English literature, theatre studies, and psychology, she brings a diverse perspective to her writing. Outside of work, she finds joy in a good book and exploring her love for cinema.

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