Talent Circles

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Four Passive Candidate Recruiting Best Practices

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

How to Build an Online Recruitment Strategy

Passive candidates are the Holy Grail of recruiting not actively or publicly looking for work and are not found in traditional recruiting methods like job boards and at career fairs.  Companies can leverage these passive candidates a number of different ways including building an employer brand, using SEO, and actively targeting these passive job seekers at conferences and through social media through Twitter and more specifically hash tags. 

Building Your Talent Pool with Passive Candidates

The passive candidate recruiting process is a long-term solution to fill your candidate pipeline, not a short term one typically.  Outside of sourcing for candidates for immediate positions on social networking sites like LinkedIn and specific online communities like Overstackflow and sending an email message, the passive candidate game is a long term one. 

But not all experts and practitioners buy into the idea of the "passive candidate."  The passive candidate is found to represent almost half of the workforce after only one year of employment.  In all sense all candidates are passive and active in a constant cycle which makes it even more important to continue to build your pipeline and actively engage your job seeker pool and network.  

  • ·      Blogging.  Blogging is a great way to build relationships with your passive candidate pool before they are actively looking for work.  Draft content to provide resources and help solve problems for your target candidate pool.  It could be something as simple as “5 Ways to Update Your LinkedIn Profile for the Software Engineer.”  Guest blog often on other networks and industry blogs to build relationships and reach the largest target audience possible.  Never underestimate the power of an online influencer and blogger to help you.  These experts are tapped into the industry underground and can be the key to filling your future talent pool. 

  • Employer Branding.  Before you blog or even begin executing any type of online recruiting campaign, it’s important to unify your message making sure your passive and active recruiting plan(s) of attack sync and support one another.  It’s more than surveying your candidate pool and recent hires.  Build a 18-36 month tiered strategy progressing, building, and growing your presence throughout the web.  This slow momentum helps to build a solid relationship with your candidate population giving them time to adjust and adapt to your engagement approach. 
  • ·      Search Engine Optimization.  Also called SEO taps into the power of online search engines strategically placing your content, job postings, and information at the finger tips of those who are searching for it online.  Long tail keyword strategies are best allowing you to reach very specific and targeted job seekers to drive to your job listings, online talent network, or careers page. 
  • ·      Using Twitter Three Ways.  Twitter is a fantastic way to engage and recruit your passive candidate pool.  Using hash tags, you can organize and search for specific communities within the Twitter framework instead of wasting energy talking to microblog collective.  These hash tags are great for events like conferences, meetings, and Twitter chats.  You can easily expert this information allowing you to research this influencers and potential candidates before you reach out to them.  You can also use Twitter to help identify your industry influencers allowing you to research, identify absorb, and learn the online players and how the specific ecosystem works.  And thirdly, having established an employment brand and reputation, once passive now active job seekers will look for you and your job openings driving applications to your ATS and talent community. 

Recruiting Best Practices for the Long Term

Passive recruiting takes time and effort.  Using these recruiting best practices can reap huge rewards.   With a little strategy, preparation and patience, you can build a reputation and establish a conversation that provides a steady flow of interested job seekers and a community that gives back lowering your cost per hire and time to fill your future open requisitions. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs


  1. Do you think it is wise to create an online recruitment strategy specially made for dental companies only? I would like to create my small online temp dental agency to help my relatives who are in the dentistry field.

  2. Yeah! What a great blog you have published. I like it and i will share it to others.

    East Windsor cosmetic dentist

  3. Passive candidate recruiting is one of the easiest practices when we are looking for the best applicant without spending too much time. It also helps us save time for other tasks that we need to do.

    -Keira Arnot