How to recruit, engage, and hire passive candidates

According to a new report out from Workable, 37% of American workers are described as passive job seekers. Passive candidates are not actively applying for jobs, updating their resumes or fretting over the dreaded cover letter. However, they are open to hearing more about what a new opportunity or change in their career could bring to their lives. Before you can turn a passive candidate into an active hire, you must first understand the passive persona.

A passive persona is like a buyer persona—the same tactic marketers use to identify through research what makes a person want to buy a product or in our case as recruiters—what will drive passive candidates to engage in our opportunities. Crafting a passive persona requires research that begins with which industries have the most passive candidates. Interestingly, candidates working in industries like finance, education, retail, and healthcare have some of the most passive candidates on the market.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how we could create a passive persona for an accountant working in the finance industry. Websites like Zippia and Data USA are great places to begin gathering the demographic data you need in order to understand the challenges these candidates may face in their current roles and thus, give you the material for your initial outreach. A quick review of Data USA reveals the average age of an accountant is 43, there are more females than males in the profession and the most common race is white. As a recruiter, you now know that most accountants are from Generation X and what Gen Xers value is a balance between time spent at work and personal time. We also know from McKinsey’s 2020 Women in the Workplace study that during the Covid-19 crisis women were tasked more with managing both home and work which has left them burned out into 2022.

Recruiters have a small window of opportunity to spark passive candidates’ curiosity. Therefore, taking the time to connect their potential challenges to what your company offers in terms of time off, flexible work arrangements or even employee resource groups could be the hook. Even if your initial outreach doesn’t result in a hire, ask to connect for future networking purposes but don’t forget about them. Every few months, reach out to your passive pipeline candidates and share relevant industry updates, company news, or even an insightful article. Often called drip campaigns, it’s one way to continue to gain their share of mind and convert passive candidates into great submittals one day.

The best candidates are off the market in 10 days so building passive candidate personas via research and personalization is the go-to recruiting strategy for 2022.

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