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Passive candidates are not actively looking for a new job – or, perhaps put more smartly, they don’t know they’re looking for a new job. So what are the best ways to go about engaging them as part of your ongoing drive to get the top talent into your organisation?

Passive candidates are, after all, 120% more likely to make a positive impact on your business[1]; and LinkedIn Global Talent Trends showed that 75% of the all-but-critical roles within organisations, the people you hire weren’t even looking for a new role – and for roles considered critical, that figure rises to a staggering 95%.[2]

1.Person-to-Person Communication

Face-to-face communication is often overlooked in our online age, but it can really come into its own when we’re talking about engaging passive candidates.

Networking in the right places is key here, whether that’s conferences, socials or outside-work leisure activities.

Researching who you’d like to meet and why is essential, helping to target your person-to-person activity as well as knowing something about the people involved so that conversation will also flow more easily when you do meet with them.

Personal contact increases trust and you can build relationships and rapport that could very well end up with a particularly talented person coming on board.

2. Be Social!

Equally, don’t neglect the importance of digital word-of-mouth in attracting passive candidates; social media does, after all, offer unrivalled opportunities for easy networking, especially with the social geo-location tools that are now pretty standard.

Content is king here, however – it needs to be good quality, relevant to your target audience, and it needs to flow easily.

Passive candidates abound on sites such as LinkedIn, where 75% of users are already employed. Twitter, with its billions of users, can also be invaluable with the strategic use of intelligent hashtags or Twitter chats. You can use these to identify those passive candidates who tweet interesting and insightful content, or who answer questions well.

More widely speaking, lesser-used social media recruitment platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Github and Snapchat could also be harnessed – so long as they’re used with care and you don’t come across as aggressively recruiting.

3. Respect the Motivators

Passive candidates are very likely to have different motivators than their active candidate counterparts. For example, they’re less likely to be encouraged by a salary increase than by greater potential for growth and opportunity.

This needs to be reflected in the way you approach them, and how you engage with them – you’ll need to emphasize the growth and job satisfaction that your organisation can offer them, over and above anything else.

4. Leave Your Recruiter Hat at Home!

 When you’re speaking to passive candidates, don’t play the ‘recruiter’ role first and foremost; in this situation, you’re best situated as an expert within your industry. Communication should be personalised and meaningful to the passive candidate; using generic, templated emails, for example, won’t get you far!

Remember that passive candidates are not looking to be recruited, but they’re likely to want to engage with dynamic and knowledgeable people from their own sector and beyond.

5. Think Outside the Box

Most recruiters contact potential candidates from Monday to Thursday inclusive. That leaves Fridays, then – but also Saturdays and Sundays – as great times to contact passive candidates. Yes, it might be harder to get hold of people then, especially though using person-to-person networking, but the effort you make will speak volumes in terms of how highly you rate the person and their skills.

[1] Source: theundercoverrecruiter.com.

[2] LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2015.