Has the passive candidate been forgotten?

Nowadays all the talk is about job hunters. Those actively looking for pastures new on social media. The hundreds registered on job sites for the latest hot vacancy via a mobile app. But what about the contented employee? The individuals who are relatively happy in their job but, and it’s a very important but, who may be interested in moving, if something more interesting comes along. How do you reach them? Do you believe all the best people for your company are following you on Twitter or registered on your careers site?

We’re being told it’s all about pull, not push. Don’t attract, engage. And heaven forbid if you should consider ‘advertising’ – in any shape or form. “That’s just not recruitment 3.0,” is the cry, “build a Talent Community and they will come.” Really? Tell us, how will they find it? Passive candidates aren’t scouring Twitter or Facebook to follow all the companies they could (or would) work for. They’re not tapping into Linked In to see who’s recruiting for where. Remember they’re happy with their lot, doing what they want to do.

So how can you reach them now, to show them something they may not know that’s so attractive that they’ll want to leave their comfortable office chair? It’s not just about ‘being there’ as a business, it’s also about ‘selling’ what you’re like as an employer. Yes, selling, telling and even broadcasting why they could (and should) be interested in joining you.


  1. An interesting post on a usually overlooked resource – yet overlooked, I also think, to people’s detriment.. Just because some candidates aren’t looking for a job doesn’t mean they aren’t the perfect applicant for the role you are looking to fill – it’s often easy to get caught up and lost in the sea of the many active applicants who are out there at the moment.
    Not that you should ignore the active candidates at all, just maybe some people should keep the potential more passive ones in their minds!

  2. I thought the idea behind social media WAS to attract passive candidates through content that interests them etc?

    I do agree that traditional methods of advertising posts are possibly being ignored tho, in favour of the ‘new big thing’.

  3. Alconcalcia Said:

    The rule always used to be to try and attract those who weren’t looking. They were perceived as the better candidates, but, with the death of print and the non-stop onslaught of online, the rules changed. People opening their paper or trade mag on a Thursday would stumble across an ad or campaign designed specifically to target them and their industry. Now, the reliance is increasingly on what can be perceived as an unwelcome,unsolicited intrusion i.e. stalking people via Linkedin and Facebook, making an approach and hoping that approach is received favourably. It’s a riskier way of doing things and relies solely on these people having a LI, Twitter or FB account and being receptive, but that’s progress!

    • From a recruitment comms, for a direct client, perspective the rules haven’t changed – just the media that’s being used. The word of mouth of social media can attract those ‘not looking’ to find out more if they’re interested.

  4. thomasoatsuk Said:

    A great post social media is the way forward when it comes to employment, the recent role I’m in at the moment i found using twitter and Facebook to gain more info about the business and communicate with them. It’s definitely overlooked by some companies.

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