There’s a certain type of candidate that every recruiter is itching to get their hands on – you know, those highly skilled, highly experienced people who are sitting pretty happily in their current job role with no real desire to explore other opportunities. Passive candidates are what all recruiters want to keep in their pipelines, but that’s easier said than done. Here’s four things to help you engage with passive candidates and keep them open to potential positions:


1. Understand their motivations

Candidates aren’t all the same – they are all individuals with their own desires and ambitions. Get to know each candidate’s motivations and what they want from a career. Find out what they like about their current role and the company, as well as what they feel is lacking or could be improved. Once you know this, you’ll be able to find more relevant roles to match each candidate’s preferences.

2. Maintain an online presence

To stay in the forefront of a candidate’s mind, you need to stay visible on online channels. Use social media to post relevant and helpful information that candidates will benefit from, like a company blog, short videos, infographics, and useful tips. Not everything you post needs to be overly informative, sometimes simply posting amusing, inspiring or intriguing things can capture candidates’ interest. It also makes you seem more relatable, rather than a faceless recruiter who desperately needs to fill roles.

3. Regular communication

Filling your pipeline with talent should be more than a tick-box exercise. Actively focus on nurturing positive relationships with candidates, checking in with them regularly to see how they’re getting on. Circumstances can change fast – even if a candidate has said they are happy in their current role, the situation can turn sour quickly. They may have recently had a request for a pay rise rejected, and be left feeling under-valued and less loyal to the company – bad news for the candidate and their current employer, but better news for you! By keeping in touch with passive candidates, you’ll be the first to know when they’re open to new job prospects.

4. Avoid spamming and pitching

Keeping in contact is all good and well, but there’s a balance. Candidates will quickly get frustrated if you are continually spamming their inbox with emails. Steer clear of sending out impersonal templated emails, and lay off any emails that are a blatant pitch for a role. The more you can show that you’re on the candidate’s side and wanting to help improve their situation, rather than simply filling vacancies as quickly as possible, the more receptive they’re likely to be when you do have a role they’re interested in.

5. Relevant job roles

Avoid sending job roles which aren’t relevant to a candidate’s skills or career ambitions – demonstrate that you understand their needs (refer back to point 1!) and always explain why you think a particular role matches their unique skillset.

6. Show off your employer brand

Whether you’re a recruitment agency or a corporate recruiter, how you are perceived by candidates and clients is crucial to success. If you want talented candidates to take notice of your company, invest some time and effort into showing exactly why you’re a great organisation. Putting a face and voice to your brand helps to engage with people; on social media and your company website, show candidates what your team is like and shout about anything of interest that’s taking place in your office – charity bake sales, team lunches, office football tournament – whatever it is that shows your human side!


Passive candidates are the holy grail for recruiters – follow these steps to keep top talent engaged and on your radar. That way, when you do have a juicy job prospect that you think might tempt them from their current role, they’ll be much more open to your efforts!


This entry was posted in Recruitment, Tools & Tips