4 Tips For Recruiting Passive Job Seekers

By Lee Hurley

The term passive job seekers may seem like an oxymoron. Yet with unemployment at a record low many qualified candidates for open positions already have a job. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t listen. To reach passive job seekers you just have to mix up the combination of secret recruitment sauce. Engaging and hiring passive candidates is a critical part of this process.

  1. Is your house in order?

The first and best way to recruit passive job seekers is to make sure your company’s culture is healthy. Take care to present your company in a positive light and that your prospects know they walking into a good atmosphere.

  1. You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time…

This could be the most tedious part of the recruiting process but it’s critical. Make certain you understand specifically what this job involves. There is nothing worse than bringing a prospect to the table only to find out that their skills and your needs don’t match. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) companies should “conduct a staffing assessment that can identify current and anticipated gaps in the organization’s workforce, including knowledge and skills. This analysis will help determine which passive job seekers should be targeted and what relationships need to be built for future positions.”

  1. How to win friends and influence people.

The simple truth is finding passive job seekers requires a lot of networking. It’s critical to spend time meeting new people at networking events. That sounds simple, but statistics show people tend to avoid situations where they don’t know anyone. Yet, they work. According to,  “while technology has made it easier to both find jobs and find candidates, it hasn’t replaced the value of face-to-face networking. Conferences, meet-ups, and other industry networking events are still the best way to make connections.”

  1. Make the application process seem tailored.

The last thing you want is to attract the right person only to turn them off with a laborious, generic job interview process. Don’t make them think, ‘hey you wanted me, I didn’t come looking for you.’ According to SHRM’s Recruiting Checklist for Quality Hires, the best performers are often passive job seekers who lack either the interest or the time in going through a cumbersome application process. Don’t ask “why should I hire you?” or expect that they have conducted extensive research about your organization. Instead, entice them with a job that offers additional responsibility or the opportunity to develop new skills and abilities.

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