Today’s job market favors job seekers, even those who are not actively looking for a job. While some are participating in the Great Reshuffle, passive job candidates are staying put — but are also open to considering new opportunities. In a recent study, just over half of respondents reported they are not actively looking for a new job but would consider switching if given the opportunity.
Workers’ willingness to switch jobs, when paired with a widespread shortage of talent, means that relying on incoming applications alone will not suffice. If companies are to remain competitive and attract top talent, they must also engage in passive recruiting.
What Is Passive Recruiting?
Passive recruiting is a persistent and proactive approach to talent acquisition. A company’s HR professionals, and even other employees, passively recruit by seeking out qualified, already-employed professionals and building rapport with them. Fostering these professional relationships generates a network of talent for the company to tap into.
Unlike active recruiting, passive recruiting isn’t necessarily about filling a current vacancy. Rather, it’s a long-term strategy to stay in touch with passive candidates and keep them engaged until a job opening opens at the company.
Passive recruiting isn’t just for HR professionals, either. Anyone in the company can passively recruit, even inadvertently. Let’s dive into some examples of how passive recruiting happens, who passively recruits, and what it looks like in action.
How Passive Recruiting Happens
Before the pandemic, trade conferences and other professional in-person events were incubators for networking and collaboration. Professionals who meet others in their field at these events reap benefits for their own careers, such as getting hired. But companies benefit from having employees present at these events, as well.
In-person events are slowly starting to make a comeback. However, especially since the pandemic, LinkedIn has become the most likely place to see passive recruiting in action because it’s the largest professional networking site.
Who Conducts Passive Recruiting?
Anyone in the organization can partake in passive recruiting tactics. Let’s explore how. Passive recruiting tactics sometimes happen organically as professionals interact with one another virtually and in person. It’s not as hard as you might think.
A simple, yet thoughtful gesture to build and maintain a relationship with passive candidates is to send occasional messages. For example, anyone from your company who networks with a passive candidate could wish them a happy birthday, congratulate them on a work anniversary, or pass on a news article that is of interest to the passive candidate’s profession.
Occasional notes not only show goodwill towards the professional, but also keep your company on their radar as a place they might like to work in the future.
Your message’s delivery depends on social intelligence and being able to gauge how the recipient will perceive your message. You can send a note via private message on LinkedIn, post it on their LinkedIn profile wall, or even send a handwritten note.
The manner of delivery will depend on the duration and nature of the professional relationship. For instance, if an employee at your company met another professional in the field at an in-person conference and got along very well from the start, a handwritten thank-you note within a couple weeks of the event will likely be well-received.
In contrast, sending a handwritten note to a professional that you cold-connected with on LinkedIn will, at best, get no response. At worst, it could reflect negatively on your organization.
Though anyone in your company can passively recruit, there are some role-specific ways that different members contribute:
- HR professionals send automated, yet personalized messages to qualified candidates about the company, its benefits, and any potential openings.
- Current employees network at events, refer from their professional networks, and advertise on LinkedIn what they love about their employer.
- Marketing teams organize webinars or conferences with professionals outside of the organization in order to achieve mutual business goals and establish both hosts and invited guests as thought leaders in the field.
- CEOs can extend personal invitations to connect and chat on LinkedIn with top talent acquaintances in their professional network.
In short, passive recruiting happens organically when employees across the organization are active in their profession and just all-around nice people. This reflects positively on your company.
Passive recruiting requires tact, authenticity, and high social and emotional intelligence from those who do it. Because of that, passive recruiting actually starts internally with a thriving workplace culture held up by talented, valued, and active professionals.
Attracting and retaining talented professionals who rave about your company and help others has a compounding effect. It builds up a network of passive candidates who not only know of your company, but are already fond of it.
Read next: 4 Ways to Recruit Passive Candidates