Your Browser Is Out of Date :(

Some sections of this website won’t display properly in your browser.
For the best experience, please update to one of the newer options below.



33 Ways to Attract Passive Job Seekers

Passive job seeker candidates aren’t actively looking for work. They might be happily employed, freelancing, or taking care of the kids.

These “not looking!” candidates are a treasure trove of talent and skills, but employers and recruiters have to work twice as hard to get their attention. Here are 33 things you can do to attract passive job seekers to your company.

The rest is up to you!

1. Make a branded employer profile that tells more about your company

2. Encourage employees to take note of people they like to work with outside your company: clients, partners, consultants, contractors, vendors

3. Reward employees for referring job candidates, even if they don’t get hired

4. Host casual social events, like an open house, workplace tour, or happy hour, so passive candidates can attend without feeling like they’re going to a “recruiting event”

5. Have job listings posted through highly followed social channels

6. Post on social media about the general skills you’re looking for, and ask followers to tag someone they know with those skills

7. Follow, retweet and get to know passive candidates on Twitter

8. Search on LinkedIn for the job titles you want to hire, and to find similar employees at companies like yours

9. Publish original articles on LinkedIn that are valuable for workers in your field

10. Have non-promotional content describing your company and the positive work environment on blogs with passive job seeker audiences

11. Keep track of who interacts with your recruiting-centric social media content

12. Have ads for your jobs placed on channels that reach quality, talented passive candidates

13. Read industry websites and magazines that announce promotions, hirings, and firings

14. Generate video content from current employees talking about why they like working there

15. Go to industry conferences and meetups, and network with both presenters and attendees (even if you can’t attend, you can still cruise the list of speakers on their website)

16. Look for speaking engagements where you can talk about the cool work your company does, and encourage attendees to chat with you one-on-one afterwards

17. Keep in touch with job applicants’ professional references

18. Take a new passive candidate out for coffee every week, and ask them for the names of two awesome people they know

19. Look out for layoffs and shake-ups at your competitors’ businesses

20. Create branded job listing pages that reflect your company’s look and feel

21. Find a job board that has attracted job seekers for years, who continue to get job alerts even while they are actively employed

22. Create an ongoing content series where you interview your current employees. Make sure it is distributed through channels that are followed by talented passive job seekers

23. Send a company-wide email twice a year asking for recommendations and referrals—and all respondents are entered for the chance to win a prize (an extra vacation day would be nice…)

24. Ask your CEO, founder or public-facing leader to publish a thinkpiece about what your company is looking for in new talent. As with other content, make sure it gets distributed to the right channels

25. When you find interesting passive candidates, subscribe to their email newsletter, leave a comment on their website, or connect with them on social

26. If you’re in advertising, write down who makes the ads you like. If you’re in media, take note of bylines. If you’re in tech, keep track of new startups.

27. Research companies where job applicants have previously worked

28. In annual performance reviews, ask employees for referrals

29. Start your own podcast, blog or email newsletter

30. Nominate a “freelancer of the month,” and give them a fun prize they can brag about to their network

31. Stay in touch with former employees and interns who left on good terms (and ask them for referrals when they leave)

32. Add a line at the end of every job listing that says: “Not the job for you? Go ahead and forward it to someone you know.”

33. Make sure your job listings get distributed through email newsletters with passive job seeker subscribers

Interested in employer branding? Find out more about how Mediabistro can help.

Like what you’re reading? Sign up to get our best career advice and job search tips.