June 21, 2017 8:32 AM

Passive Attraction - Getting Your Company Noticed by Passive Candidates

LinkedIn’s recent article on the top companies of 2017 and their methodology in compiling the list got us thinking about what it is that attracts people to these businesses. It also made us wonder how we in the recruitment industry can do more to make our own companies and the workplaces we recruit for more attractive to candidates. Can we follow their lead?

Making your place of work more appealing to people who are actively seeking employment isn’t all that difficult. After all, they’re looking for a job, and you have one to give. Sounds simple. But what about the passive candidates, the superstar employees that have settled in their jobs, and that you would do anything to get into your talent pipeline. How exactly can we make ourselves more attractive to those that have no real interest in leaving their current positions?

If anyone knows how to attract passive candidates, it’s the companies on LinkedIn’s list and so with this in mind we analyzed what it is that makes these companies stand out from others. A pot of coffee and a lot of reading later, we came to these three conclusions.

The brand image is king (sometimes)

A company’s corporate social responsibility (more on that later) is incredibly important to today’s candidates as is the company’s public image. People’s attitude to where they work has seemingly come full circle, and no longer is it all that impressive to say you work at some never heard of start-up when your friend works for Google. Generally speaking, candidates now want to work for recognized brands.

Having said that, there are some instances when public opinion of the company doesn’t seem to matter at all. With Uber’s recent troubles you would expect that very few people would want to work there, but they are, in fact, more popular this year than last. It seems that many candidates are prepared to ignore the bad press in order to work for a company that aspires to be a game changer.

Candidates want to work for revolutionary companies

Considering that Google and Facebook dominate their respective industries, it’s hard to imagine them as being revolutionary companies, but that is exactly what they are. They challenge the status quo in such a way that is audaciously innovative, and that makes them an attractive option for candidates that want to push their limits.

Others such as Uber and Airbnb are on similar paths, and the perceived notion that they are breaking up monopolies and revolutionizing their respective industries endears them to even the most passive of candidates. After all, everyone wants to be a revolutionary.

Work culture is everything

If brand image is king then work culture is everything. The employee of today is no longer primarily driven by salary (although they do want to talk about it). They also want to feel proud of the brand they represent and know that the brand has their back.

This is why the most successful companies on the planet ensure that their workplace is the kind of environment that encourages both development and freethinking, and is a place where employee happiness is a priority.


Getting noticed

Of course, not every company can be a Google or Amazon. It’s possible however to implement a few strategies that will help a company increase their standing with prospective job candidates, passive or not.


Get social

Never underestimate the power of social media. With over three-quarter of Facebook’s 1,870 million users using it on a daily basis, social media is the perfect platform for working on brand awareness and building a positive online presence. However, think carefully about the content you publish as it has to be relevant to your target audience and represent the company’s core values.


Be an expert

A company without a blog is missing out in a big way. Creating regular content that is of value to your target audience is a surefire way to portray the company as an expert in the field and a leader in your industry. The added bonus with this strategy is that you now have content to share through your social media channels thus promoting your expertise to those passive candidates.


Ask your employees to toot your horn

There’s no better way to build a positive brand image than to have happy employees. Happy employees are more likely to tell their friends and family and even former colleagues how great their place of work is and what a wonderful employer you are. They may even share some of your content on their personal social media profiles.

Some companies will even offer financial incentives to their employees in a bid to involve them in the recruitment process, which can be a rather ingenious way to make an immediate personal connection with passive candidates.


Host an event

Most advice on such matters suggests hosting a networking event allowing your employees the opportunity to meet and trade contact details with a diverse range of potential candidates.

However, we would advise taking a slightly different approach. A charity event sponsored by the company not only showcases the brand's stance on social responsibility (and benefits a local cause) but gives people that attend the event a chance to see how your employees enjoy being part of a responsible organization.


Optimize your job posts

While the average passive candidate may not spend every waking minute thinking about a new challenge, a Talent Attraction Study by Indeed revealed that 58% of adults, regardless of their employment status, look at jobs at least once a month. That’s a staggering number of passive candidates that may stumble across your job ad if it’s optimized correctly.

Make sure that you are using the correct keywords for your niche by using a tool like Keyword Tool to gauge how popular the words and phrases you plan to use are in job searches.

But your job posting is not just about SEO, the copy you use also plays a key role in attracting the right candidates. You can learn a lot by studying how successful companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook craft their copy to appeal to their candidates. Are they writing about the position or the work culture? Can you adopt a similar approach in your copy?


While most small to medium-sized companies can’t hope to compete with the big guns in terms of brand recognition or revolutionizing their industry, they can definitely take a leaf from their books. By following the top companies’ lead and adopting a similar philosophy towards social responsibility, and employee happiness and development, they too can make themselves an attractive option to passive candidates.

Stuck in a talent pipeline-building rut? Contact one of our sourcing consultants today and learn how we can help you add those presently unattainable passive candidates to your talent pipeline.

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