How to Excel with Passive Candidate Sourcing

Hiring managers and recruiters alike are probably growing weary reading about the “candidate-driven market.” Lately, it’s become impossible to avoid headlines about the record-low unemployment and job market where open positions outnumber job seekers tenfold. 

While it’s certainly a preferable environment for the country as a whole to have so many people at work, it makes the job of filling open positions much more challenging. Why? Because the perfect candidate most likely already has a job. 

With so many people actively employed, all methods and strategies must be leveraged for businesses to gain any advantage in this “candidate-driven market” (sorry, recruiters).

Rising to the top of tried-and-true industry techniques to gain the upper hand for recruiters and hiring managers is sourcing passive candidates. Passive candidates are currently employed individuals who may be open to another opportunity.

Deepen your candidate pool and go after people with jobs. We’ll show you a few of the best ways to do it: 

Social Media

Beyond reminding you of grandma’s birthday, and how cute otters are, social media has several practical functions, including being a crucial tool in sourcing passive candidates. LinkedIn would be an intuitive first guess, but it’s become so inundated with recruiters that competition over your passive candidate is likely very stiff.

Luckily, there’s much more out there:

  • Facebook: King of those lifesaving birthday reminders, Facebook tops the list of active users among social media platforms. Take advantage of this. Utilize its targeted search functions to focus your bullseye on potential candidates and message them (remember, no boundaries). Recruiters typically aren’t using this platform, so candidates are more likely to read your message, which is what you want!
  • Twitter: Twitter also has targeted search capabilities that can be used to zero in on hashtags relevant to your industry. Individuals that tweet about the field in which they work are likely highly engaged employees, providing you with another layer of filtering to identify high performing candidates. 
  • Other Platforms: The more platforms in which you’re involved, the more likely you are to successfully engage with a passive candidate interested in the position you want to fill. Reddit, Instagram, and Snapchat may not be typical professional mediums, but they are all absolutely viable platforms to engage with passive candidates. The amount of specific, unique communities on Reddit, for example, is simply staggering. There are subreddits specifically for SEO. Well, more accurately, there is one for “SEO,” “Big SEO,” “Tech SEO,” and more, each with thousands of members. Getting creative with the social media platforms you use enables you to reach a much wider network, and it’s also nice when they organize themselves neatly for your sourcing efforts.

Attend Networking Events

As much networking as gets done online, meeting someone in person can still be the most effective way to connect with passive candidates. 

Take some time to research (using sites like “”) industry-related conferences, career fairs, or even campus events in your area. There’s likely a roster of some of the attendees so you can better equip yourself to engage with potential targets. 

Talking about work is a natural step in the small-talk game, which is a perfect opportunity for you to identify their current level of satisfaction at their job and gauge their level of interest for a new one. Even if you don’t sense any unease, it’s an easy segway to talk about the awesome job opening you’re currently working on. 

Seek Out Referrals

Another valuable avenue for you to explore in your passive candidate sourcing is through referrals. Connect with other colleagues and ask if they may know of some people interested in the role you’re trying to fill. There’s a reason so many companies have referral bonus structures: they’re highly effective. An employee-referred hire is twice as likely to stay with a company for two years than a non-referred hire. 

Consider your own personal network you’ve already curated throughout your life—friends, colleagues, past colleagues, friends of friends, college roommates.  All are great sources for referrals. The odds are high that they themselves have benefited from a personal reference in their professional life and will be happy to help out. 

RHM Staffing Solutions

Having trouble attracting qualified candidates to your business? We’re here to help. Get in touch with the staffing professionals at RHM today and let our deep network and experience go to work to help you overcome any hiring challenges.