Update on our platform!

Finding the passive candidates you need... when LinkedIn isn't enough

Only 18% of talent is actively looking for a new job, according to our study conducted with YouGov. So passive talent can be a goldmine when it comes to recruiting: sourcing (or talent hunting) has become mandatory, and recruiters often turn to LinkedIn to find the perfect candidate. While this tool is interesting, it's not enough. For example, some profiles are less representative than others, and the competition from other recruiters is greater. What other methods can you add to your short or medium-term direct approach strategy? How should you choose them?
Finding the passive candidates you need... when LinkedIn isn't enough

Who are the “passive” profiles to source, and how do you deal with active sourcing?

There isn't just one type of passive candidate, and your sourcing approach must consider all of them. This is one of the reasons why a single active sourcing channel is not enough.

Talent types
What they want
Open passive candidates
They are not looking to change jobs, but are open to career opportunities offered by recruiters
Passive candidates on alert
They're not looking, but they're listening for job market opportunities by reading posts, shares, etc.
Semi-active passive candidates
They are not looking for a new position, but are discussing possible opportunities with their network
The unavailable They're not interested in another job... unless there's a strong argument for it

However, there are many benefits to focusing on passive candidates. In addition to being able to activate contact with talent who wouldn't automatically apply to your company even if they were looking for a job, you'll also have better-quality candidates. They'll be more motivated because they weren't really looking and you've convinced them to apply, and perhaps more loyal in the long term because they believe in your business project.

Above all, you'll have less competition if you approach these candidates who are “unknown” to other recruiters; moreover, those in active search often parallelize several recruitment processes, unlike passive talent.

What arguments can convince passive candidates?

Of course, don't go sourcing passive talent if you have nothing to offer them. Avoid something you read about more and more often in the HR media: “love bombing”. It's an effect that appeared in couple relationships, but is also becoming increasingly true in recruitment: complimenting the talent you've spotted, telling them that the company is just waiting for them and absolutely needs them to join... only to end up with nothing but words - and no real project.

Passive talent are ready to become candidates if you offer them:

Motivations qui poussent un candidat à considérer un job
Source: LinkedIn

Key to success: tailor your approach to your target profile

To truly address the topics that interest them and make them consider you as a future employer...  there's only one thing to do: get to know them! But how can you understand these profiles if you've never spoken to them before?

Keep one very important thing in mind: the emergency you experience as a recruiter is not the emergency of a candidate who is not planning to change jobs.

If you inevitably have positions to fill in the short term, considering the acquisition of these passive talents over the medium term. It's hard to see over several months if you source only from LinkedIn, isn't it?

Why isn't LinkedIn enough to source passive candidates?

We're convinced that a 360° sourcing approach is essential to find the talent you need. Here's why.

Not all profiles, sectors and professions are on LinkedIn

When we think of “talent hunting” today, we think of LinkedIn. As the professional social network quintessence, it is part of almost every recruiter's daily life, whether they use it for their professional life within their company or for more personal use ( news watch, exchanges with peers, keeping up to date with current events...).

But what if the profiles you're looking for (technicians, engineers, service professions, catering, construction, etc.) aren't on LinkedIn? Or not active enough? You'll find only a small percentage of those professionals, and you won't be able to get in touch with them.

By the way, do you know which professional sectors are the most represented on LinkedIn? Here's a clue: your core business is in the top 3...

  • 🥇The recruitment sector
  • 🥈The venture capital / private equity sector
  • 🥉The human resources sector
  • 4️⃣Le management consulting sector
  • 5️⃣Le online media sector

These professions are not necessarily among those identified in the labor shortage gripping France, Europe and the world today.

Key figures: LinkedIn is not adapted to 100% of your needs

A few key figures confirm that LinkedIn alone is not enough to bring you the quantity of talent you need to fill all your positions.

... and what it teaches us

+ 75% of LinkedIn users are under the age of 34


Not all age groups are on LinkedIn (for example, compared to Facebook, where 60% of users are over 34).

26 million members in France (April 2023) but only 12 to 13 million monthly active users on LinkedIn


It's not because there are millions of subscribers that they'll all be attentive to your requests.

Users only spend 17 minutes a month on LinkedIn


There's obviously very little room for discussion with potential candidates, especially if you're looking for quick answers.

15 million fake accounts cleaned up on LinkedIn by 2021


As a recruiter, the time wasted screening all profiles can be considerable, especially if it turns out they don't really exist.

15 times more content impressions than job postings on LinkedIn


LinkedIn is not a job board; people are interested in informational content rather than professional opportunities.

Short-term solutions: social networks and employee referral

You have immediate needs to fill positions: sourcing on LinkedIn is one thing, but it's not the only way! What else can you do?

Are personal social networks a good source of talent?

The answer is yes! With more or less success, depending on the profile of the candidates you're looking for. For example, profiles without a high school diploma or its equivalent are 2.5 times more open to being contacted via their private social networks (CleverConnect / YouGov study on the recruiter / candidate relationship).

On private social networks, you have to try your luck. After all, there are great opportunities here because, unlike some brands that only want to sell their products or services, you can offer real value to your targets: a career, professional fulfillment, a life changing experience, and so on. It's also an opportunity to work on your employer brand.

If penuric profiles such as those in industry, service, hospitality, healthcare, etc. are not on LinkedIn, perhaps they are on other networks? Broaden your sources, and test combinations according to your targets to find your candidates where they are: Snapchat, Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?

Since you don't know exactly what these profiles want, and if they are really active on these networks, you need to test and test again: several messages, several visuals, several catchphrases and on several networks.

If you're an accomplished recruitment marketer, you can do it yourself. But if not, you should consult service providers who specialize in this kind of direct approach. For example, Bonanza offers a tool based on regular training of its AI.

Even if you don't end up getting any applications, you could also quite easily keep these contacts in your talent pools as long as, of course, you ask their permission via an RGPD consent. Some tools allow you to do this automatically, as is the case with our Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tool.

Employee referral is a solution that builds on your employees' potential

A content item is 50 times more likely to be clicked on if it is shared by a member of the target's circle rather than by a company (Forrester: the Social technographics of Web 2.0). Are you really going to miss out on the opportunity to consider your collaborators as supporters to help you recruit the right profiles?

Referral is a highly valuable source of candidates: 1/10 referred candidates are recruited, compared to 1/100 from job boards.

These talents also stay longer with the company (on average 70%). This can help you recruit less in the next months / years, since there are fewer departures. Remember also that, on average, recruitment by referral takes 4 weeks, compared with 6 weeks for other sources.

And yes, referral does reach passive candidates! Proof of this can be found at our client PWC, where 87% of candidates recruited by referral were not actively seeking employment.

Most recruiters are aware of these advantages, and if they've already started a referral program, they're often more interested in how to get more applications through referral. How can they do this?

The answer is simple: by automating some of the steps required in the referral program, in particular by digitizing it. It's easier to get employees hooked on the program when you regularly send them new job openings, content to share, etc., and motivate them to participate on a regular basis. And to do this without wasting time, it's possible to use a digital referral program!

👉 Accelerate your referral strategy with a digital referral program

You can also benefit from gamification options: all actions can be rewarded with a prize; this motivates your employees to be active (sharing offers, sharing posts, successful or unsuccessful referrals, etc.).

In addition, a digital referral program allows you to track your actions, see what's working and what's not, and continually improve your strategy.

In fact, referral is a very interesting mix between ambassadorship and social networking, whether professional or personal.

Find out more about social recruiting

Mid-term solutions: recruitment marketing and nurturing

All short-term actions can have their equivalent in the medium term! After all, if you made contact with talent one way or another a while ago and they weren't ready to join you, perhaps they are now?

If you can make an impact on the first exchange, some talents will need more time to get to know you better: perhaps you'll get an application after the 2nd or 3rd contact, for example.

To avoid always being in a situation where you're looking for new talent for every vacancy, start building and nurturing relationships now. You meet talent today, and thanks to these contacts and connections, you prepare your talent pool for tomorrow and avoid that eternal “rush”.

The candidate campaign format

The key is to think about every possible moment to convince the candidate that it's worth joining your company.

A single message won't be enough: you need to think about what we call communication campaigns: a sequence of messages that can, over time, lead to a better level of understanding of the talent and a greater awareness of you among them. For example:

  1. A message introducing your company and your projects
  2. A message inviting them to watch a video of the team leader on an interesting topic
  3. A message inviting them to come and meet you at an open day
  4. A message inviting them to apply for a job vacancy

👉 Build long-term relationships with your talent pools thanks to our Talent campaigns tool

Repetition: be present constantly so that talent remembers you

82% of talents would like regular information from recruiters after an introductory contact. Don't hesitate to set up regular communication plans with your talent pools: they're just waiting to hear from you!

Different profiles expect different frequencies, depending on the content you can offer your talent pools. We wanted to know what kind of information talent would like to receive from companies, and how regular or infrequent it should be. This regularity is essential to ensure that talent doesn't miss out on you and thinks of you when they start looking for a job.

It seems that sharing job offers adapted to their profiles, news about your company and its sector of activity, or information about the job market (news, training, legal information, obligations...) are contents that interest talents and on which you could communicate once a month to once a quarter.

The ideal tool for building trusting relationships with talent

How can you send regular communications to the right talent, at the right time? It sounds like a lot of work, but it's worth it. The key is to find the right tool to ensure that your sourcing work can be used time and time again.

CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) tools have a real impact when it comes to attracting talent over the long term, and ultimately sourcing from your own qualified and active talent pools.

By building up talent pools, you will no longer lose contacts from the different sources you have activated: LinkedIn, private social networks, events, former candidates or former employees, job board recruitment campaigns, referrals, etc.

Talent pools within your CRM tool eventually become THE preferred sourcing channel for easily finding relevant profiles, and completely free of charge.

👉 Need to understand how CRM works? Ask for a demo

The difference between talking to passive and active candidates

While finding the right sourcing channels is essential, you also need to think about what you can say to these talents!

Perhaps using a different tone of voice, perhaps using more humor to attract them, or having a colleague talk about you in a video, for example... you need to consider new formats for capturing passive talent, no matter where your source is. If LinkedIn limits you, using other contact channels can also enable you to test new ways of presenting and expressing yourself in different formats: video, podcast, infographic, testimonial…

The important thing is to have the right message, adapted to each type of profile, never generic!

Recruitment process timing: a differentiating approach

And don't forget: if the passive talent applies and becomes a candidate, you've got to play the game and get back to them RIGHT AWAY. You need to attract them more than any other candidate, and provide them with the information that they might not have compared with an active candidate: information about your company, your project, the missions you offer, etc.

Les avantages de la cooptation
Source : Bonanza

As you can see, you can quickly lose out on 50% of the passive candidates you would have managed to convince to apply... what a shame!

Once they've applied, you really have to keep them on your toes and live up to what you've promised them: speed, support, listening, closeness, etc. That's the only way you'll succeed in convincing them that you're on the right track.

That's the only way you'll win them over, whether they come from LinkedIn or elsewhere.

👉 Take your recruitment strategy to the next level with our Talent Acquisition platform

The newsletter that speeds up your Talent Acquisition strategy.  
Join the CleverConnect community!
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Liked that? Check these out:
Recruitment sourcing: the HR skills of the future
min read

Guide: turn your recruitment team into proactive sourcing superheroes

Turn your recruitment team into sourcing superheroes to improve the performance of your Talent Acquisition strategy.
Sourcing: the key is to adapt your existing missions
min read

Sourcing: the key is to adapt your existing missions

Adopting a proactive sourcing approach doesn't necessarily mean adding new missions to your daily routine. Our advice on how to become a sourcing pro.
Candidate relationship management : profitable tade fairs
min read

Candidate relationship management (CRM): when job fairs become profitable

Improve your job fairs & events profitability with a CRM tool - collect contacts and nurture them over the long term.