Engage Passive Candidates

Recruiting during the Pandemic: How to Engage Passive Candidates

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has profoundly impacted nearly all aspects of modern business practices. In fact, an HR survey by Gartner shows that almost 88% of organizations have asked their employees to work remotely. This large number is indicative of the unprecedented transition to the first-of-its-kind virtual workforce around the globe.

If HR professionals continue to operate as if nothing has changed, they will risk their organization’s long-term success. Hiring in this brave new world entails that recruiters adopt new and innovative recruitment approaches to not miss out on top candidates and also engage passive candidates. Passive candidates are 120 percent more likely to make a strong impact on your company and 17 percent less likely to need additional skill development opportunities than active candidates.

However, with this newly formed virtual working environment, recruiters and hiring managers are facing considerable challenges. They are struggling with finding ways to attract and hire top talent when meeting in person isn’t possible. Moreover, they are also trying to quickly shift recruitment strategies in line with the company’s priorities for the new normal.

• Exploit the Passive Candidate Talent Pool

According to the LinkedIn statistics 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching. They are indubitably the best as they have positive employment records.

Earlier when unemployment rates were historically low, hiring and engaging passive candidates was next to impossible because employers needed to offer the perfect combination of money, benefits, flexibility, etc. only to initiate a conversation with a candidate. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has cut deeper into livelihoods than any recession we’ve faced in our lifetimes. Its impact has led employment to reach historic highs. This has made it much easier to engage top-caliber passive candidates in conversation.

• Expand Your Talent Pool with Video Interviewing

In the current world where you may not be able to meet candidates in person for many months, video conferencing has become imperative. The good news is, this offers you an opportunity to attract a higher number of passive candidates. As applicants would not have to take off from work, travel to get to the interview location or take off from work, shifting to video interviews will widen your talent pool. This ultimately increases the possibility of engaging passive candidates.

Fortunately, a study from Lighthouse Research also indicates that video interviewing is one way an organization can provide a more positive candidate experience.

• Leverage Gamification Technology

Is your organization still stuck in the past? Well, then this is the perfect time to upgrade you recruitment tool set. Intelligent hiring platforms, such as AI-powered gamified assessments for pre-screening individuals, engage passive candidates as well as active ones.

These recruitment games not only personalize the recruiting process but also accurately assess talent for skills and fit. Plus, if you intend to dig deeper and assess candidates on multiple aspects, such as their personality traits, critical thinking, behavioral and problem-solving skills, then gamification in recruiting may be the right answer for you.

• Tell Your Unique Story Via Social Media Channels

While the need for brand storytelling is ubiquitous, in these times it is more critical than ever. Recruiters and hiring managers should ensure they share information about their corporate brand using different social media channels. Featuring authentic employee testimonials and stories through video sharing is a great idea.

For the upcoming few months, appearing for physical interviews is difficult for candidates. Many candidates may deter from proceeding with a position merely because they don’t get an accurate sense of company culture. Employers, therefore, should use an online recruitment process that imitates the in-person candidate experience to attract both active and passive talent now and in the future.

Additionally, by harnessing the power of social media to post photos, videos, or even short stories, recruiters can convey a strong business message and ensure that prospective hires go all the way.

• Stay Connected with Candidates

Employers can help identify “passive” but qualified candidates by leveraging their professional network. As a recruitment strategy, networking can help you impart the message about your company and culture. So, staying connected with potential individuals is crucial to nurture and build lasting connections – and of course attract and hire passive candidates.

At this time when personal connections are considered to be few and far between, establishing relationships – even virtually – can prove to be immensely beneficial in the short- and long term.


That said, trying to constantly stay in touch with potential hires can be quite time-consuming and may demand resources that you may not have during the pandemic. Thankfully, there are digital technologies available in the form of relationship management tools that hiring managers can lean on.

While it may be challenging to find a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations that make the most of the opportunity with effective recruiting strategies can manage to hire talent that was previously unattainable.


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