Who are Passive Candidates and How do You Recruit them?

It is a recruiter’s task to find the best candidate for their organisation. The candidates who approach you and apply for a job role are usually the ones seeking a new position.


But what if the ideal candidate for your job is already a part of another company? What if they are not seeking a new role?

Recruiting passive candidates can improve the chances of hiring more qualified people for your job.


Who is a Passive Candidate?

A passive candidate is someone who is not looking for a new job. They are employed and most likely satisfied with their current position.

These candidates are not as active in the job market and new job prospects usually do not interest them.

Through various sourcing channels, the hiring manager or the recruiter finds that their experience and skillset make them ideal for a job at their company. As a result, the recruiter approaches them instead of the other way around.


Active vs. Passive Candidates

An active candidate may or may not be employed, but they are actively seeking a new job. They may be dissatisfied with their current role or might be looking for better growth opportunities.

An active candidate is easier to find. They are involved in the job market and are the most likely to follow-up on your recruitment campaign. On the other hand, a passive candidate needs to be sourced by various methods as they are not visible in the job market.

An active candidate approaches a new job and the recruiter evaluates their application with the other applicants to select the one suitable for the company.

The hiring manager, or the recruiter, approaches the candidate for a passive hire. The recruitment style you use for active candidates will likely not work here.

An active candidate needs to be screened and goes through the entire recruitment process before accepting an offer. For a passive candidate, the hiring manager approaches them only after ensuring their fit with the organisation. The recruitment team could even skip the initial screening process.

An active candidate takes a shorter time to fill the role than a passive candidate. This is mainly because the active candidate is eager to join the company once they enter the recruitment funnel. However, passive candidates need time to be convinced about the job offer before they exit from their current employer.

An active candidate might have multiple job offers in hand and can then choose the best match from that. But, for a passive candidate, there is not much competition. If you are the first to reach them with a reasonable offer, the candidate may consider working for you.


Steps To Recruit a Passive Candidate

Identify the Passive Candidate Suitable for Your Role

The first step in recruiting passive candidates is to use various sources to identify them. But how do you find the candidates who are not visible in the job market?

An excellent place to start would be on LinkedIn. Even the employees happily working at their current job still have their LinkedIn profiles up-to-date. Finding the right candidate for your role will also be made more accessible.

Your current employee would have a good idea of the candidate you are looking for. So, using employee referrals is also an excellent way to source passive candidates.

Use your database to search for the ideal candidate. You might have rejected a few candidates in the past because of a limited job opening. Such candidates might be a good fit for you now.

It might be challenging to search and analyse candidates for your current job openings from your past applicants. Try using an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to keep track of all the applicants in your database and stay organised. You can search using keywords and tags, see how well they performed the last time they applied for your business, and much more by using an ATS.


Approach the Candidate and Spark Their Interest

After successfully identifying the passive candidate for your job role, it is time to approach them with your request. It would be best if you aimed to spark an interest with the candidate about their job prospects.

If you are approaching your client using a social media platform, such as LinkedIn, reach out to them with a quick message, the candidate would be curious, check your profile, or do a quick google search.

An alternative would be to reach out to the candidate via email or a telephone call. Ensure that you do not reach out to them using their current employment contact info. That would be unprofessional.

While approaching the candidate via email, include details about your company and the factors that make you stand apart from the other companies. Also, add a link to your website so that the candidate can get a glance at your work culture.

Compose the message to explain how you found the candidate, what role would be suitable for them at your company, why you think they would be a proper fit, and so on. Also, mention how they could benefit from this job and the career growth they could experience.

Be enthusiastic and persuasive when communicating with the candidate. Avoid going overboard. The candidate should not feel bothered by your approach.


Be Patient and Take It Slow

The passive candidate had no intention of moving out of their current employment in the first place. Be persuasive, allow them to consider your offer. This is the part where you need to tread carefully.

Once you have made the initial contact, make sure that you wait for some time before you follow-up on it. A candidate who is employed would be busy with their current employment. It is only natural that they take some time to get back to you.

if the candidate shows interest by contacting you, ask for their availability and schedule a meeting. It is best not to disturb them during their work hours.

An employed candidate might not have a resume or a portfolio ready. Ensure that they have enough time to collect the details and put them together.

Always remember to respect the decision of the candidate. If they turn down your offer, thank them for their time and move on.



Your recruitment strategy should not be limited only to the candidates who approach you. It should also cover the candidates who are not seeking a role but would make an excellent fit for your company.

Looking for a candidate outside the applications you receive and following up on them takes a lot. Make sure that these efforts are worth it.

While searching for a passive candidate with the proper skillset, do not disregard the candidates actively applying for your job roles. It is best to keep track of both types of candidates and choose the best among them.



Award-winning recruitment software that will find, attract, hire and analyse the way you want to work. At LogicMelon, we have experienced software recruitment marketing specialists to help you build effective recruitment solutions supported by the best customer service you’ll find anywhere!

Email: sales@logicmelon.com or call LogicMelon (UK) +44 (0) 203 553 3667 (USA) +1 860 269 3089

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