passive candidates



Reaching Passive Candidates through Recruitment Marketing

With the U.S. unemployment level hovering somewhere near 3.7 percent and more job openings than there are active candidates, recruiters need to get crafty. Facing an uphill battle, the time has come to think strategically and look to passive candidates as a way to fill those open reqs and strengthen their talent pools. But, with job markets shifting and the demand for new skills growing, attracting these folks is easier said than done. Some seem content in their current roles but could be swayed if the right gig came along, others might be lifers and the rest just haven’t thought about switching jobs – yet. It is now part of the recruiter’s job to find and engage the best and brightest around, even if they aren’t necessarily available.

To accomplish any already tall order, recruiters must look beyond advertising openings, to catch the eye of their ideal candidate. They must know where this candidate lives, works and hangs out online, building a basic profile to follow across the web, offering them an incentive to click through, reach out or respond. This is where the overlap between recruitment and marketing exists, giving recruiters the opportunity to showcase the organization’s employee value proposition and overall employer brand across multiple channels. In doing so, recruiters can cast a wider net and reach previously untouched – and potentially viable – candidates. But all of this requires taking on giant step back and getting to know modern candidate expectations and behaviors.

The State of the State

In today’s multi-generational, increasingly diverse workforce, there is, ultimately, a candidate for every job. The challenge is, figuring out which candidate to target. This is the stage in the game that requires recruiters to pause, evaluate and develop candidate personas before doing anything else. Remember, modern candidates are smarter and more informed than ever before, and some hear from recruiters on an almost daily basis, despite their LinkedIn settings. In thinking like a marketer, recruiters need to know who they’re searching for before creating a campaign.

  • Sit down with hiring managers to understand their needs fully.
  • Do an analysis of top performers to determine what’s working and what’s not.
  • Evaluate the knowledge, skills and ability needed for each position.
  • Sketch a list of four to six key characteristics to ensure recruiting efforts stays aligned and focused.
  • Review resources about candidates in general, such as the Candidate Experience Awards annual research report.

Data-Driven Job Marketing Strategies

Once the “who” gets established, the “what” comes next, and in the era of marketing automation, even the recruiting-related possibilities seem endless. However, once again, there’s cause for pause. See, recruitment marketing should be measured and analyzed throughout. Otherwise, it’s back to flinging things at the wall, hoping something will stick. Not exactly good use of anyone’s time or budget, especially when it comes to passive candidates.

  • Create campaigns that correspond with the existing funnel, to maximize spend and concentrate content where it will be most impactful.
  • Start with employer brand awareness, which sits at the very top of most funnels
  • Attach metrics and reporting to each campaign component, such as programmatic job advertising, content marketing and promoted social post.
  • Cover the bases with the aid of Google Analytics and URL tracking tags to start, before tackling anything larger-scale.
  • Look to dedicated recruitment marketing platforms to handle the heavy lifting and provide more comprehensive data and analytics.

Building Competitive Advantage 

From here, with the right persona in place, supported by data-driven marketing, the objective of elevating the employer brand comes into focus. As mentioned, without a well-crafted, deliberate approach to passive candidates, recruitment marketing can fall short, often going unnoticed or worse yet, recognized by unqualified talent.

  • Rather than assume risk, today’s recruiters should err on the side of caution when putting together campaigns.
  • Be mindful throughout and design to raise awareness within a specialized skill set or talent pool.
  • To achieve and maintain a competitive advantage, always actively manage passive efforts.
  • Continue nurturing to keep momentum and ensure candidates continue to flow in and apply.
  • Because the funnel doesn’t stop at the top, don’t overlook subsequent steps in the process, including retargeting and direct sourcing.
  • Leverage awareness to promote learning and development, unique benefits and other pieces of the EVP, before honing in on factors that may appeal on an individual basis and will move the conversation forward.

In today’s digital age, the framework for recruiter continues to evolve and with it, so do the actions and intentions of recruiters, seeking to find top talent wherever, whenever and however possible. 

To learn more about recruiting for the future workforce, including recruitment marketing for passive candidates, register today for the Nov. 28 webinar here MORE INFO


Noel Cocca

CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.