How Passive Candidates Can Improve Your Talent Pipeline

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2022 by Graham Quinn

A lack of candidates with the required key skills is ranked as the most significant challenge for global business today. Recent insights on the talent crunch suggest the battle for talent is increasingly competitive, with 72% of leaders struggling to find the right candidates compared to 59% in 2021.

Previously, companies tended to focus their recruitment process on the pool of candidates actively seeking work. However, in the current talent shortage, this doesn’t yield the results hiring managers require.

Advertisements are attracting large numbers of applicants who don’t fit the requirements. Vacancies often stand open for long periods as a result. This can actually discourage quality candidates from applying as they presume the long-standing vacancy must be unappealing to others.

In contrast, using both an active and passive hiring strategy has benefits which are especially relevant when talent is scarce.


Why Sourcing Passive Candidates should be part of your Recruitment Strategy

Access a larger Talent Pool

According to LinkedIn only 25% of the workforce is actively seeking work. This means by only targeting active candidates companies are seriously narrowing their talent pool. Although 70% of the workforce is not actively searching for work, LinkedIn research suggests 45% of these passive candidates are open to offers. Targeting both active and passive candidates therefore greatly increases the chances of reaching top talent.

Reduce Competition

When sourcing active candidates, you are fishing from the same pool as your industry competitors. As they will have very similar candidate requirements, this means battling to win the best available candidates.

As a result, the ability of your recruitment process to act quickly has become more important. According to research by ERE Media, the top 10% of candidates are usually snapped up within ten days of entering the market.

In contrast, sourcing passive candidates has the benefit of little or no competition. As they aren’t searching or interviewing with anyone else, this dramatically increases the chances of landing an ideal employee. 


Higher Quality Pipelines

On average, only 2-3% of job applicants are selected for interview, meaning  the vast majority of applicants for each advertised vacancy don’t meet the requirements. 

Rather than sifting through and rejecting many applications, all the passive candidates you locate for your pipeline will be worthy of interview. Searching for talent already performing a specific role makes it much more likely to locate candidates who meet the requirements.


The more scarce talent is, the less likely ads are to yield suitable applicants. Accessing the passive talent pool becomes important to increase the amount of quality candidates in the pipeline.


Tips for Sourcing Passive Candidates


Using Social Media

As the world's largest professional network on the internet, LinkedIn makes an obvious choice for sourcing candidates. Paid services like LinkedIn Recruiter enables subscribers to find candidates who aren’t already in their connections. It also makes it possible to search for specific skills and to receive updates on users who have been identified as of interest.

Experienced recruiters do use LinkedIn without its paid service to search for candidates. However, as there are around 740 million LinkedIn profiles to go at, it can be a daunting task. This is why many companies opt to outsource and hire an experienced search recruiter. In addition to assessing hundreds of LinkedIn profiles each day, search experts can craft a list of keywords and synonyms to narrow potential candidates to a manageable list.

Networking Events

Online events can be great places to make connections for passive sourcing. Hosting webinars on industry topics helps you identify potential candidates who have a genuine passion for your field. In addition to creating an impression of your company as an industry thought-leader, online events can help you reach an international talent pool.



Creating a referral system can be a useful and cost-effective way of finding passive candidates. According to Zippia, 45% of referral hires on average stay longer than four years, compared to only 25% of job-board hires. This is true not only of referrals made by employees but by former colleagues or a trusted external recruiter.

Start by outlining the role you’re sourcing for and inform both colleagues and recruiters that you are seeking referrals. Include specific details of the requirements you are looking for in candidates. Many companies increase their pipeline by offering employees an incentive for sourcing successful referrals.


Use a Specialist in Executive Talent Search


Sourcing passive candidates is a successful strategy for overcoming many of today’s recruitment challenges. However, many companies are put off by the skills needed to conduct a passive search quickly and effectively.

This is why many companies opt to outsource to an experienced specialist in talent search. Well-established specialist searchers understand their market niche and are well connected with excellent candidates. This means they develop a pool of pre-screened, high-calibre passive candidates, making hiring top talent even faster.


Wireless Mobile International Search successfully recruits executive talent across all territories globally for top blue-chip companies. Get in touch to discuss how our experts can locate the best passive talent for your team.


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