Attracting Passive Job Seekers

Is it us, or are there more “just browsing” job seekers in today’s hiring market than in recent memory? When you consider the country’s historically low unemployment rate, the rising voluntary quit-rate, and the fact that job hoppers tend to get a bigger salary bump than employees that stick around, it makes sense that workers are catching a case of wandering eye.

How to Attract Passive Job Seekers

Is your next “ideal hire” currently working somewhere else?

The answer is, possibly. For starters, there are a lot of them. As Bloomberg reports, as much as 23% of current employees are actively looking for another job. For some, it means browsing, checking in on favorite companies, and scanning job boards. For others, it involves completing up to five applications in a four-week period. In short, there’s definitely a broad spectrum when you unpack the word “passive.”

No matter how “active” these passive job seekers are, many keep a toe in the waters as a way of staying in game shape. And when you consider things from the candidate’s perspective, it makes sense:

  • If something changes at your current job and you’ve been looking, it’s easy to ramp up your job search and go into “active mode.”
  • If you’re casually checking out jobs that are available in your field, you can begin to narrow your search when it’s time.
  • You’ll also have a better sense of a competitive salary range, and can use this information when negotiating with your current or future employer.

Why are they looking?

As the links above suggest, and as we pointed out in our previous post about the candidate-driven market, a “grass is greener” mentality has set in for today’s employees. Many can’t help but think that they might be missing something by staying put. And while more money is definitely part of the equation, salary is not the only reason. Here are just a few others:

  • They feel stuck in their current jobs.
  • They want to shift their work-life balance.
  • They want new challenges.
  • They want to work for a company/brand they admire.

How can you catch passive job seekers when they’re browsing?

As we mentioned in our recent Spotlight report, “Matching Your Recruiting Efforts with the Candidate’s Experience,” two key issues are at stake when you consider catching job browsers: how they see you, and how you reach them.

Download My White Paper


It’s important to connect with passive job seekers, no matter where they land on the passive spectrum. The following three steps will help support your recruiting efforts across the board:

  1. Make sure you’re keyed into your current and anticipated staffing needs.

When’s the last time you or a colleague checked in and led an assessment geared around filling current employment gaps? What about anticipated needs? And not just those brought on by growth or retirement. We’re talking about employees leaving for something new.

As we cited above, voluntary quit-rates are trending up. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to look deeper into your crystal ball and consider that some of your current employees may already be eyeing the grass beyond the fence. Start by considering your company’s typical turnover rate, as well as turnover in your industry. In today’s candidate-driven market, consider that both of these rates may experience a bump for the foreseeable future.

  1. Identify areas where the company is excelling, and where it lags behind.

This step is all about helping you determine the type of workers you want to target in order to maximize your company’s strengths, and build the places where you want to be stronger.

Start by identifying places where your organization needs to grow, in relation to where you have an abundance. For instance, are you missing a particular skill set in one department? Wouldn’t it be great to add individuals who can meet that need?

As you evaluate your current employees’ skills and strengths, make note of what changes you can make to create a more balanced, diversified workforce.

  1. To attract passive job seekers focus on your company’s culture and “recruitment brand.”

If it feels like we’ve been banging on the “culture and brand” drum a bit lately, you’re right. In a candidate-driven market, it’s more important than ever to put your culture to work for you. In fact, one of our upcoming articles will be all about culture—keep a look out!

Here are some key takeaways related to conveying your culture as part of your recruitment brand.

  • Your employment brand helps describe who you are as an employer.
  • The “just browsing” passive job seeker is focused on “who” and “what” you are. And they’re using the luxury of time to find a company that lines up with their own values.
  • As you take an inventory of your culture and brand, consider the places where you stand out from the pack.
    1. Are you a “work hard/play hard” environment?
    2. Can you leverage national or even international appeal?
    3. Has a knowledgable worker or company leader recently been a featured presenter at a major conference, or published a book?
    4. Or perhaps you’re all about the local economy, and supporting your community.
  • No matter how your company defines itself, make sure your recruitment-focused marketing supports and shares your story.

Once you’ve identified these key messages, put them out where passive job seekers can find them—be it on social media, your careers page, or elsewhere. This will help open the door to engage with them, establish a relationship, and ideally encourage them to apply when they’re ready to go beyond browsing.


myStaffingPro applicant tracking system helps companies attract passive job seekers

The myStaffingPro applicant tracking system can help companies attract passive job seekers with employer branded job applications and career sites. Contact a sales representative to find out more.

Contact myStaffingPro Today