Converting Passive Candidates

The best person for the job you're trying fill is probably working somewhere else. If she is capable, skilled and professional, it's highly unlikely that she is unemployed and is searching for the open position your company recruiter just posted on She is what the HR buzzword mavens call a "passive candidate."

The challenge then is to somehow get your company on the passive candidate's radar screen. This is hard. Unless you are actively marketing your talent brand, you are invisible.

But you may stand a chance of getting her attention:
 - If her peers are talking about your company (on the conference circuit)
- or if she hears about how amazing your product is (via press coverage)
- or if she becomes aware of how attractive your company culture is (via social chatter)

Here's the upshot: passive candidates are not passive at all. They are resistant to change. They actively avoid unsolicited advances. So you need to also market your company as a first class employer along the periphery - with discipline and frequency.

Conversion is hard. You can't do it with a single shot. It takes a concerted campaign and repetition matters. To paraphrase Paul Mitchell: Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

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