How to Win Over Passive Candidates: 11 Best Strategies

Passive candidates should never be overlooked during the recruitment process.

If you have been in the recruitment business for a while then you may know how important it is to consider passive candidates when attempting to fill a position.

Do you know how to attract the best employees?

These may not be the typical candidates seeking your services, but they still might be the best candidate for a job. And when you know how to attract passive employees, you have a greater chance of placing the perfect person to the exact role you are hoping to fill.

Let’s face it, a recruiter’s job is not always easy.

You need to please the employer who is searching for someone who can perform. And, you need to attract high quality, dependable employees who are likely to perform the position at a level that is well above standard.

The best recruiters appreciate the challenge of matching the right person to the role.

Sometimes, this means recruiting passive candidates who might not even be considering leaving their current job. These workers are known as passive candidates to the professional recruiter.

So how do you get an employee to consider a new position?

Here are the 11 best strategies to win over passive candidates:

1. Use Cold Emails to Reach Out to Highly Qualified Passive Candidates

This is a trick of the trade advised by applicants to reach out to the companies they would most like to work with. Cold emails offer applicants a way to get your foot in the door even if the company does not claim to be hiring.

The same tip can be applied to reach out to the most highly qualified passive candidates, even if they do not appear to be job-searching.

There is even a cold email tool that has been developed especially for recruiters to reach highly qualified candidates.

2. Create Your Own Blog

Don’t just read other people’s blogs. Create one of your own.

Make it attractive to job-seekers and job-holders by answering questions and offering insights on issues that are applicable across the board.

You can also use your blog as a resource to advertise and gain attention for positions as they open.

If the information that you provide is not geared only towards the candidate who is seeking work, then you will be able to reach anyone who finds the blog’s content useful.

3. Work With Companies Who Score High Ratings

Convincing someone who is happily employed to come to another company is harder if the company has never earned any credentials of their own.

Recruiting for a highly acclaimed and renowned firm, however, is not usually as difficult. Even if the candidate was not planning on leaving their current position.

Most employees will listen to recruiters for top companies who have made a name for themselves already in the business world. Even if you approach someone who is not currently looking for work, often times a respected company name in their business will get their attention long enough for you to interest them.

If you are planning a career as a recruiter, the best way to earn a respectable reputation is to recruit for worthwhile employers. Of course, you won’t start out recruiting for Fortune 500 companies all of the time. But, the more businesses that you represent that have established their professional good name, the better off you will be.

If you have been in the industry long enough to be choosy, choose the companies with the highest ratings to recruit for. Not only will more candidates listen to you, but you will become more esteemed for working with respected brands.

4. Consider the Role You Want to Fill

Certain industries are comfortable with outside recruiting. In fact, many employees in fields such as technology, have come to expect it.

Likewise, there are certain companies, such as Zappos, that pride themselves on recruiting from the pool of passive candidates.

When you are recruiting for positions or for companies that depend on recruiters for operating their business, such as the tech industry, then it is much easier for you to get noticed. Furthermore, candidates in these companies or industries are far more likely to feel comfortable entertaining outside offers without hesitation or guilt.

5. Create a seamless job application

Creating a seamless job application will appeal to all of the parties involved.

If you come up with a way for applicants to apply that requires little effort on their part, it greatly increases the chances of them applying for the job.

This is especially true for passive candidates.

Candidates who can choose to apply via LinkedIn, for example, are more likely to apply for positions that interest them even if they are not necessarily looking for a new job.

Not only will applicants find this feature appealing, but potential customers will be lured by the possibility of candidates applying with just the click of their mouse as well.

6. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Connect with as many high-quality professionals as you can via social media.

Expert recruiters work hard to develop their brand. Many top notch candidates do the same.

By staying connected, it is easier to identify the right candidate for the job. Often, you can get an idea of the qualifications and skills potential employees can bring to the table.

Like and follow their feeds, updates and pages to stay up to date on the pool of potential employees, and to get an insider’s view of their skills, their likes and their dislikes.

Often, being a part of one’s online inner circle will allow you to be the first to know when they are less than fulfilled at their current position. Then, if the position fits, you can pursue them with less effort than if they were 100% committed to their job.

7. Alert Your Audience

Through your own efforts, or by employing a professional email outreach service, be sure to announce any of the positions that you are attempting to fill.

Even if you do not think that the audience would be interested, often this can be a valuable advertising technique.

Subscribers who read your emails are highly likely to pass the information on to qualified candidates they know personally. And subscribers might have a greater idea of who is looking, if the seeker is outside of your close circle of connections.

8. Encourage the Employer to Reach Out to Highly Qualified Candidates

Even if the candidate is not searching for a new position, they will probably appreciate the effort of the employer who reaches out to them.

Encourage the employer that you are working with to make contact with the most qualified applicants. This can turn the heads of those who might not otherwise be interested in the position. And it just might nab the best guy or gal for the job.

9. Be Able to Sell the Job

You must know everything about the job that you are recruiting for, especially if it is a high profile position.

Memorize the perks, and be prepared for questions, so that you can portray the position in its best possible light to anyone who you might approach for the job.

9. When in Doubt…Do

If you are unsure about a candidate’s willingness or availability, don’t let it stop you from contacting or approaching them.

According to a recent survey conducted by LinkedIn, a solid 45% of workers would entertain an offer from an outside source, albeit cautiously.

That is why it is important to have your selling points memorized.

Don’t shy away from approaching someone just because they are not advertising that they are interested in a new position. Dependable workers often come from positions that they exemplified loyalty.

Sometimes even the most passive candidates will respond to a position if it sounds like a perfect fit for them.

10. Build Relationships

Recruiting the best employees often takes time and commitment. The best workers are not often those searching the want ads, after all.

Make the most of the opportunities to build relationships and network with other professionals.

You never know when someone will become interested in a new career venture, and successful recruiters realize the importance of striking while the iron is hot.

11. Incorporate Technology into Your Search

In today’s world, there is an app for everything and often, a computer program can offer valuable research for a small fraction of an investment.

Recruitment-based technology can be a valuable resource for those in the industry, revealing insights on growth, employee feedback, and project and office management.

These tools are readily available, as are others, such as email management, social media management and profile-boosting services. Use what’s out there to help you perform at your maximum potential.


If you are a recruiter who wants to become a recognized name for delivering performance and results, you need to know the latest tools and trends in the recruitment industry.

With a little help, you can be among the best professional recruiters out there.

Staying on top of your game is important in every industry, but the most successful recruiters know that it takes something extra to be considered as one of the top-notch names in recruitment.

With the right tools and techniques, you can get the attention of passive candidates while creating long-lasting professional relationships.

Are you ready to get started making a nabbing the best of the best in the recruitment biz?

Stay up to date on the latest and greatest tools, tips and news available for recruitment pros who are ready to take their profession to the next level!