How to build a passive candidate pipeline

Skilled candidates are like gold dust for the success of an organization. The competitive job market is inundated with employees of myriad skill sets, with innumerable recruitment agencies vying for capable hires. In such scenarios where time to hire is of utmost importance, to keep chugging along in a competitive landscape, it’s imperative to have a passive candidate pipeline. A passive candidate is already employed but is open to better opportunities as and when they arise.

There are numerous ways to proactively build and maintain a go-to source for the best candidates. The few of them mentioned here are by no means the be all end all.

•    A key to building a credible passive candidate pipeline is to build a relationship with them. It’s important for the hiring managers to keep them in the loop, to have their sustained interest in the brand. Not all the correspondences have to be about job openings. A courtesy email asking about their current professional standing and areas of interest will go a long way in finding their future plans.  A good idea would be to send them an invite to your company’s new product launch or forums.

•    The employee network can be a great source for tapping passive candidates. They may be aware of skilled workers at another company who might be on a lookout for a change. This not only reduces the recruitment cycle but also has a direct impact on time to hire. SHRM report of 2016 has placed employee referral as the biggest source for new hires. A smart strategy would be to incentivize your employees to network.

•    It’s important to ascertain where candidates are searching and make your presence felt accordingly. Social media platforms like LinkedIn accelerate pre-screening with an inside opinion. The use of metrics and tracking can be used to leverage the capabilities of social media monitoring services like Hootsuite or buffer to gain insights into what others have to say about the company. Tracking links like or can be used when posting jobs outside a company’s career portal to gain insights into candidate’s activity on the site.

Building a talent pool of passive candidates is a continuous and a long-term exercise which requires constant engagement to foster a long-lasting relationship with the candidate. A good relationship with passive candidates will keep HR in good stead during times of skilled staff shortage and an expectation to fill the vacant roles quickly.

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