Last year saw its fair share of trendy catchphrases in the HR and recruiting world: the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, even quiet hiring.
Now that we’re in 2023, there’s a new focus on the radar of people leaders: passive candidates.
Now more than ever, employers need to be proactive about bringing in top talent, and that’s where passive candidates come in. It all goes back to the events of the last few years: The pandemic prompted workers everywhere to reconsider the purpose of their work, their ideal work/life balance, and even the role of work in their lives. That set off the Great Resignation—or, as it has also been dubbed, the Great Reawakening or Great Realization—as millions of Americans left their organizations and even their industries for new ventures. And just as many workers dialed back their investment in their work—bringing the bare minimum to the job, or “quiet quitting.”
It’s now up to employers to not only create environments where remaining workers want to invest themselves—but to boost their ranks with new talent, and a prime opportunity exists in passive candidates. In the past, recruiters likely focused mostly on candidates whom they knew were in the market for a change: They identified themselves as such on LinkedIn or they even started putting out applications. But today, the world of work is different, as the trends of the last few years have meant that so many more working professionals are open to taking on a new role—even if they’re not actively looking.
In a recent LinkedIn survey, 84% of recruiters surveyed cited the importance of engaging passive candidates, particularly for lower- and middle-level roles. It makes sense: With salary boosts hitting record highs—and inflation also at a record level—employers today could have a lot to bring to the table that could easily pursue a passive candidate to make the jump and consider a change. But given the uncertain economy, many workers may be choosing to wait it out and sit tight for the moment—that’s an opening for employers.
Making the contact now, proactively, helps recruiters and hiring managers to establish the relationships they need to get top-tier talent in the door—eventually. Even if candidates aren’t ready to make a move, or even if the role they’d be the best fit for hasn’t opened up yet, making the connection and planting the seed in candidates’ minds—especially when nearly all have already had at least a passing thought about pursuing a new opportunity—can help your organization stand out when the timing is right. And that can make the difference between hiring your first pick for the job and having to settle for someone who’s actively looking, but not may not be as qualified.
Pursuing passive candidates certainly isn’t an easy feat; it requires perseverance, creativity and a lot of strategy. But once those ties are made, it lays a strong foundation of success for both the organization and the (hopefully!) future employee.
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