In today’s job market environment, and in context with the absence of, and shortage of available skilled candidates, much has been said about the lure of the “passive candidate”.  These are individuals who are not active job-seekers – they are highly skilled and employed. Recruiting this valuable group, who are already the most desirable, could be a daunting task. If workforce professionals rely on the same old approach, lack the needed strategy that takes into consideration a true understanding of how this group thinks and “how to win them over,” the results will be disappointing.

A 2017 survey serves up as a warning to employers, “The rise of the passive candidate reinforces the need to take exceptional care of your people and cultivate your employer brand.”  (Recruiting Stats to Know for 2017.)

Are Passives Candidates Worth the Effort?

Competing for the best candidates, whether you are a large, medium or small business in today’s market landscape has intensified, and most especially for small businesses, but don’t count yourself out.  Remember that the latest figures show that at least 84% of candidates would consider leaving their present position if a company with a better reputation and a “true career move” came calling (iCIMS survey).  A company’s reputation holds significant value for these candidates, as is the possibility of faster growth, and the prospects of the “best career opportunity”.

Even though this candidate pool is considered to be very satisfied in their current position, the days of thinking of lifetime employment at one company are gone.  If you are a company not focused on engaging this group, you are probably spending a disproportionate amount of time and money filtering out a small number of skilled candidates from your active candidate pool.

Now That You’ve Found Them, How Do You Engage Them?

It all goes back to eliminating the barriers associated with having superior talent in place and building for the future.  You don’t have to be big to compete like the big guys.  But you have to think like them and act like them.

Invest in talent management as a means to effectively measure workforce performance. The return on investment will out-weigh the upfront cost. Adapt an efficient and effective integrated talent strategy that makes quality of talent a priority.  Streamline the process from engagement, to interview, to accepted offer, it will heighten the likelihood of securing the high-quality candidates before they have time to accept another offer. Even if you don’t succeed on first pass, keep an open dialogue with these prospects, never take no for an answer, and add them to your pipeline for the future.


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