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Why passive candidates are valuable and how to source them

Around 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive candidates who aren’t currently job searching. This enormous and extremely valuable talent pool is often underutilised during recruitment processes, however, businesses can’t afford to do this any longer if they want to source the very best employees. There are numerous reasons why passive candidates are valuable, and with the war for talent intensifying due to a shortage of skills, your company must know how to get ahead of the curve and effectively target these individuals.

Why passive candidates are valuable

Access to top-skilled workers

The tables have turned, and in this candidate-led market, it is often the job seekers that hold the power. As we know, competition for the best talent is fierce, and many of the top workers have already been chosen and offered jobs in leading roles. There is a reason why these individuals have been employed and still hold their position – because they are good at what they do, are valued by their firm and are reliable. These people will undoubtedly be an asset to any business and employers can count on them for being more than just capable.

Access to niche skills

While active candidates do offer value, it is often the passive candidates that have the necessary skills needed to make a business really thrive. This is particularly true when it comes to niche skills and hard-to-fill roles. It is well known that there is a severe shortage of skills disrupting a wide range of sectors, and that many companies are having to invest in future generations to get access to the talent they need. However, by attracting those already in jobs, you are able to acquire trained, and high-value employees.

Get ahead of competitors

The digitalisation of recruitment means that ‘post-and-pray’ strategies are no longer effective. Businesses must now become even more active in their search for candidates and utilise technology to source the best talent. Effective planning, use of social media and networking will allow you to access passive candidates and get ahead of competitors by finding the people your business needs to thrive. By mapping external markets, companies will be able to plan for the long-term.

How to source passive candidates

Employer branding

Although passive candidates are likely to be happy in their current role, it doesn’t mean that they are not open to genuinely attractive offers. According to a LinkedIn study, 87% of active and passive candidates are, in fact, open to new job opportunities. However, to ensure that your offer has the maximum chance of being accepted, it is vital to ensure that you have a strong employer brand. A loyal employee is unlikely to leave their job for anything less than outstanding, which is why it is vital to continuously maintain a credible reputation. This can be achieved by providing an excellent candidate experience during the recruitment process, being active on social media and by nurturing your company culture.


As passive candidate will not be on job boards, it is important to use your networks to identify the people you need, and ensure that your job opportunities get in front of them. This is the perfect time to promote an employee referral scheme. On average, staff have 10 times as many connections as a company has social followers, so it is certainly is worth utilising their networks. Having a connection within the workplace will also likely entice the passive candidate to join the company or at least research the offer.

Why a dedicated internal talent acquisition team is needed

Attracting passive candidates requires a completely different approach to engaging active candidates, and typically more effort. The person best suited to be successful in doing this is often situated in an in-house team. This is because the person presenting the opportunity must have extensive market knowledge and know the business inside out. Being able to sell the role to high-value candidates requires an authentic passion, dedication and answers that may sway from the script.

For more help with attracting and sourcing passive candidates through an internal talent acquisition team, get in touch today.