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Unlocking the Secret to Reaching Passive Job Seekers

Posted by Mathew French

10 March 2014

83% of fully employed LinkedIn users are passive job seekers, according to a recent LinkedIn research. That’s over 186 million LinkedIn users who are not actively searching for a job.

With an ever-present war for talent, active job seekers are no longer enough. More and more recruitment managers are trying to reach those passive job seekers who stay behind the comfort of their screens.

Of course, there has been a multitude of experts discussing how to reach and influence the passive job seeker. But the general consensus is that there are two main ways to reach them:


As discussed in a few of our past blogs, mobile has proven itself to be a critical component of recruitment success over the years. Not only does it help HR Managers or recruiters establish immediate contact with job seekers, it has enabled them to generate exposure for their brand and the available jobs to the passive job seeker. Of course, this is partly due to the ‘mobile culture’ that most people now follow. No matter how busy people are, their smartphone or tablet stays with them for most of their day.

When it comes to job seekers, mobile recruitment becomes even more valuable. Jason Pinto of CBG Benefits points out that passive job seekers tend to spend a significant amount of their time researching a company before pursuing a job opportunity within that company. They typically use their mobile phones or smartphones to do this since their current employers might have the ability to monitor their web history on the company device. 

Overall, mobile recruitment can significantly boost your company’s reach to both busy candidates and passive job seekers.


Social media has been the subject of many debates on recruitment. Some refuse to believe it can deliver any value and want nothing to do with it, while others understand its value when put in context of the passive job seeker. Similar to mobile recruitment, social media provides an avenue for HR managers and recruiters to reach their job market exactly where they have a presence at.

Think about the social networks that your target employees frequent, and you have the 2 – 3 channels that you can use to communicate your message.  The existence of streams (through hashtags on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn Groups) only supports this. For instance promoting your job on Twitter and using the hashtag ‘Sydneyjobs’ you will be visible to all those who frequently look at that stream.

Research by Bullhorn on staffing and recruitment professionals uncovered that 36% of the survey respondents believe social media is the biggest opportunity in recruitment as it gives them “access to passive candidates”. Since high-level executives, or C-suites generally have social network profiles, but don’t have the time to actively look for a position, social media is the perfect channel recruiters can use to reach them.

Below, we outline a few tips for HR Managers and recruiters to follow when targeting passive job seekers:

  1. Have a fully mobile platform – Now we’ve come to a time where having your website on mobile is not enough. You must have a mobile-optimised careers site to ensure passive job seekers are not shown a page that is hard to read on a mobile device. This is especially critical since 79% of job seekers will switch to a mobile-optimised website if they land on a website that is not mobile friendly, according to Career Builder’s Upward Mobility Report.
  2. Post updates on job openings regularly - TLNT – The Business of HR points out that passive job seekers tend to search at specific intervals, based on their work activities. Therefore it’s important to make sure you post regular updates. One job posted only once at 10 am on a random day will yield only a percentage of the results if it’s posted several times throughout the week. Of course, you’ll need to be cautious so as not to deter people away.
  3. Offer several options – To ensure you make the job searching and application process as easy as possible for the passive job seeker, ensure you provide the options for them to contact you and / or submit an application via their mobile device, a social network, SMS or even Skype.
  4. Track and measure – To make sure you have the right mix of ingredients in successfully targeting passive job seekers, you should always measure the results of your social recruitment and mobile recruitment efforts. Tracking is also a good way to filter out those passive job seekers who were interested and might have ‘liked’ or marked your post as a favourite for you to contact.

Topics: social recruitment, passive job seekers, Social Media Recruitment, mobile recruitment

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