How to attract passive candidates

There are lots of reasons passive candidates appeal as prospective new hires: they have a proven track record of working in a similar environment – meaning they are more likely to be up-to-date with the latest industry developments, plus, as they’re already employed, they are more likely to be honest in their self-promotion and less-likely to embellish skills and experience. As a recruitment consultant, your reputation is built on the quality of the candidates you provide to your clients, so the more reliable they are, the better your company appears. Here’s some tips on how to build your pipeline of passive candidates…

Firstly, what’s the difference between an active and passive candidate? An active candidate is ‘actively’ looking for a job, whereas a passive candidate is not. A passive candidate is usually already in employment, however they could be open to hearing about the right opportunity. 

Exclusivity: Passive candidates are unlikely to be regularly interviewing for roles, because, realistically they will only be looking to move for their ideal opportunity. This means when you have a role they are interested in, they are more likely to be exclusively your candidate.

High quality: As they’re more than likely already employed, you know they have the skills, motivation, experience and cultural fit needed to thrive in the workplace.

Transparency: Honesty from a candidate is of utmost importance for any successful placement. As passive candidates have job security to fall back on, they tend to be more open and honest in both what they are looking for and what they will accept if offered.

Keeping your friends close… and your candidates closer!

Remember to stay in contact with any candidates you’ve previously placed as you can rely on their ability to perform at an interview, plus you already have a relationship based on finding them their current job. Set a reminder every three months to check their progress and to find out if they’re interested in hearing about new career opportunities…

… but don’t forget about the candidates you didn’t place…

Just because they were not suitable for one role, doesn’t mean they won’t be a perfect fit for another position.


Friends, associates, work colleagues, LinkedIn connections… you never know who may be interested in a new career opportunity until you ask! Rules of attraction – how building your brand will bring in more passive candidates:

The more you gain a positive reputation in your sector, the more receptive passive candidates will be to engaging with you. Here’s some tips on how to achieve this:

  • Write industry specific blog posts and build relationships on social media as becoming part of an online community gives you the opportunity to build relationships with relevant candidates
  • Encourage positive reviews on your LinkedIn profile from candidates you’ve already placed
  • Attend networking events where candidates are likely to be in attendance
  • Personalise your communication with past and present candidates by recalling past and present conversations


Building a pipeline of passive candidates is a long term tactic; it takes time to develop relationships, however by focussing pipelines on active and passive candidates, you’ll be able to recruit more effectively. Good luck!

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