How To Effectively Source Passive Talent

Emily Kocoloski   July 14, 2017  


In today’s job market candidates are labeled with all kinds of unique identifiers by industry experts. We read articles, blog posts, and books that strive to define different types of talent – in hopes that we can establish a pattern to help us recruit them.

But the most popular trend in candidate classification may be one that holds the most merit. Thought leaders of the recruiting world have been summarizing the modern talent market by defining 2 simple, but unique groups– the passive and active candidates.

Which begs the question, what do these terms really mean?

As recruiting industry pros, we encounter active talent every day – through job boards, resumes, and social media. They are the candidates that are actively seeking new career opportunities.

Passive talent is more elusive – they aren’t jumping at jobs ads or eagerly sending connections their resumes. No, these professionals are focused on the current position they are holding rather than spending their time looking elsewhere for new career opportunities. But that doesn’t mean that they are going unnoticed by recruiters –  in fact, they are some of the most sought after talent.

In other words, recruiters need to stand out to grab this valuable candidate population’s attention. Check out these 3 strategies to help you effectively source top passive talent.

1) Don’t waste their time: This holds true for any candidate you want to forge a solid connection with – but because passive talent isn’t openly looking for new opportunities it is imperative that you keep the conversation engaging enough to keep their eye.

One way to attract and retain these candidates’ attention is to only contact them about positions that relate to their background or career aspirations. If you try to recruit passive talent for every requisition that comes across your desk you will lose the connection quickly. Nothing turns off confident, all-star candidates like attempting to sell them on the wrong types of jobs.

Instead – get these valuable connections on your side by lining up a few knockout roles that could truly lead to a new, better professional opportunity in their field. That way if it doesn’t work out, they will see you as a recruiter of choice – meaning that you still have them in your pipeline for future openings.  

2 )Personalize your communications: Another great way to ensure your messaging attempts are acknowledged and even answered is to be specific and focused in your introductions.

Blindly reaching out to new candidate prospects can destroy your credibility as a top talent professional. Doing some research on the individual and the current company they work for can help you get your foot in the door by peaking a candidate’s interest. This information can also lead to a more in-depth conversation about what the individual’s goals and professional aspirations are – giving you a real shot at finding their dream job.

Pro Tip: Keep your candidate information organized in a mobile-friendly ATS so that you can have access to the correct profile details anytime, anywhere.

3) Look sharp on social media: We live in the era of Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn where candidates can find out everything they want to know about us via the internet. Make this work to your advantage by ensuring your profiles are up to date and professional.

You can build trust with top talent without even speaking to them just by becoming a socially savvy recruiter. Do this by picking a great, professional headshot, sharing relevant content and adding your expert outlook to each post with a clean caption. Always use your characters wisely when crafting bios and listing skills for the public to consume.

By having a positive social presence available to speak on your behalf, you are allowing busy passive talent to learn more about you at their convenience.

Don’t let passive talent pass you up – use these tips to take control of this powerful candidate population and create quality partnerships.