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From ‘Passive’ to ‘Active’: Strategies for Converting Passive Candidates into Job Applicants

Updated: May 30

Passive candidates can be a goldmine for employers. These are individuals who are currently employed but open to considering new job opportunities. They are highly valuable to employers because they have already demonstrated that they have valuable skills, experience, and a solid work ethic. However, converting passive candidates into active job applicants requires a delicate balance of personalized messaging, showcasing company culture and values, offering a competitive compensation package, and making the application process as seamless as possible. In this blog post, we will cover strategies for converting passive candidates into job applicants.

Develop Relationships with Passive Candidates

The key to converting passive candidates into active job applicants is establishing a relationship with them. This means creating a connection that goes beyond a simple job pitch. Begin by following the candidate on social media, such as LinkedIn. Once you’ve made a connection, you can start engaging with them by commenting on their posts or sharing their content.

The goal is to build rapport and establish trust. When you eventually reach out with a job opportunity, you will be seen as someone who is interested in the candidate and not just trying to fill a job opening. Use LinkedIn InMail or other social media platforms to establish these relationships.

Personalize Your Message

A personalized message is essential when trying to convert passive candidates into active job applicants. Candidates receive a lot of generic messages from recruiters, so personalizing the message shows that you’ve taken the time to research and understand their skills, experience, and interests.

When sending a message to a passive candidate, take the time to reference specific aspects of their background or career achievements. This shows that you’re not just reaching out to anyone but that you’re reaching out to them specifically. It also demonstrates that you understand their experience and how it can be beneficial to your company.

Highlight Company Culture and Values

Company culture and values play a critical role in attracting passive candidates. They want to work for a company that aligns with their values and has a culture that they can be proud of. Therefore, highlighting these aspects of your company is essential when reaching out to passive candidates.

Share information about your team’s accomplishments or provide testimonials from current employees. Showcase your company’s involvement in community outreach programs, environmental initiatives, or other programs that align with the candidate’s values. Highlighting these aspects of your company can differentiate you from other employers and make you more attractive to passive candidates.

Offer a Competitive Compensation Package

While it’s essential to focus on company culture and values, it’s also essential to offer a competitive compensation package. Passive candidates are often not actively searching for a new job because they are content with their current salary and benefits. Therefore, to attract these candidates, you need to offer a compensation package that is competitive and attractive.

Consider offering equity or stock options to entice passive candidates. Additionally, ensure that the salary and benefits package you offer is on par with or better than the candidate’s current compensation package.

Make the Application Process Easy

Making the application process easy and accessible is critical when converting passive candidates into active job applicants. Often, passive candidates are hesitant to apply for jobs because they don’t want to spend a lot of time on the application process. Therefore, you should streamline the process and make it as easy as possible for the candidate.

Ensure that the application process is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. Additionally, consider eliminating lengthy and irrelevant application questions. Focus on asking only the most critical questions that will help you understand the candidate’s qualifications and suitability for the job.

Follow Up and Nurture Relationships

Following up with passive candidates after initial contact is essential to converting them into active job applicants. It shows that you’re interested in them and that you’re willing to put in the effort to cultivate a relationship. Send follow-up messages and invite them to events or offer to connect them with other professionals in their field. This will help you maintain a relationship with the candidate, even if they’re not immediately interested in the job opportunity.

Additionally, nurturing relationships with passive candidates can help you build a pipeline of potential candidates. Even if they’re not interested in the current opportunity, they may be interested in future job openings. Therefore, maintaining a relationship with them can be beneficial in the long term.


Converting passive candidates into active job applicants requires a combination of strategies, including developing relationships, personalizing your message, highlighting company culture and values, offering a competitive compensation package, making the application process easy, and following up and nurturing relationships.

By focusing on these strategies, you can differentiate yourself from other employers and attract passive candidates who may not have otherwise considered your company. Keep in mind that converting passive candidates into active job applicants takes time and effort, but the payoff can be significant. By building relationships and maintaining them over time, you can create a pipeline of potential candidates and build a strong employer brand.

If you’re an employer looking to attract and convert passive candidates, consider implementing these strategies. By doing so, you can improve your chances of attracting high-quality candidates who will be an asset to your organization.

Thank you for reading! If you’re interested in learning more about recruiting strategies, send us a message and connect with a member of our team today.

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