Why You Need a Passive Recruiting Strategy and How to Get Started

Have you ever had a hiring emergency? You know, when you unexpectedly have a position open up that you need filled ASAP. 

This can be a stressful situation for several reasons. For one, business operations are often put on hold when you are short an important staff member. And needing to make a hire urgently is not a great situation to be in. It could lead you to rushing the hiring process and settling for the first candidate that comes along instead of the right person for the job. 

But is there really any way to avoid this kind of hiring predicament? 

The solution: Passive recruiting. 

Passive recruiting refers to maintaining a pipeline of high quality candidates that you can reach out to when a hiring need pops up. This also involves advertising future job openings on your careers page or at your business and maintaining a strong employer brand. 

We’re breaking down what you need to know to create a passive recruiting strategy, including why it can be a game changer for your business. 

From reactive to proactive: Why passive recruiting is important 

Any business owner will tell you: hiring is tough. So it’s important to have a strong recruitment (and retention) strategy that makes it easier to hire the right people quickly and confidently. 

One of the most impactful things you can do is to switch from a reactive to a proactive recruitment approach. Passive recruiting is how you do this. 

Instead of relying on Indeed to send you candidates or waiting until someone leaves to post a job, you can accept applications even when you’re not actively hiring. Passive recruitment also involves maintaining contact with candidates you’ve interviewed in the past and were impressed by, but didn’t hire. 

This is important for any industry, but can be especially helpful for high-turnover roles or hard-to-fill, revenue generating positions. If the loss of a teammate would put your business at a significant disadvantage, having candidates you can reach out to right away can make a huge difference in lost revenue. 

Maintaining a relationship with strong candidates makes it easier to hire quickly when an opening comes up. Plus, candidates that apply to a future opening post are typically more interested in your company – not just looking for any job. This means that once they are hired they will be motivated and loyal employees. 

Never miss out on peak applicant volume 

Another thing to consider is that applicant volume ebbs and flows throughout the year. In our annual Recruiting Metrics Report, we often see that employers in various industries hire in months where applicant count is lower and miss out on peak applicant volume. 

However, if you’re accepting applications year-round, you can still take advantage of the months of the year when applicant volume is at its highest. This can give you more options when it comes time to hire. 

How to always be hiring with passive recruiting 

So what does it look like to actually put passive recruiting into practice?

Building a hiring pipeline 

It takes a lot of time and resources to complete a hiring process. In a best case scenario, you have several strong candidates to choose from, and some great people that made it to the final stages of your process that you didn’t hire. 

This isn’t time wasted! Maintaining a relationship with these candidates helps you build a hiring pipeline – or a pool of candidates that you can reach out to when you lose your next A-player. 

Creating a passive job posting

We recommend always having a passive job posting up — this is a job posted only to your careers page (not to job boards) with a status of “Accepting for Future Openings.” A job of this type indicates that you are passively recruiting and will reach out to candidates when an opening becomes available.

You can also use in-person methods for attracting candidates passively. Consider ideas like posting flyers around your business or putting business cards with a QR code near the register that tells your customers you’re always accepting applications. 

Stay in touch 

Make sure that you keep up with past candidates and any that come through your passive job posting. If someone doesn’t check all your boxes, send them a polite rejection email. If they do, schedule a time to call and talk to them about their experience and explain your current availability. Keep in touch with these candidates and send them personalized updates occasionally and correspondence about the company. 

Growing your employer brand 

Another component of being successful at passive recruiting is to maintain a strong employer brand – or your business’s reputation online. 

Having a good reputation makes it so that candidates are actively seeking out your company and keeping a tab on upcoming opportunities. 

Some tips for building a great brand: 

Get ahead of hiring emergencies with passive recruiting

Passive recruiting can help you avoid hiring emergencies and always have high quality candidates waiting in the wings. This can save you time during recruitment. It also saves you money by minimizing the amount of time you go with an empty seat in your business. Plus, it ensures that you’re making the most of applicant volume year round. 

Creating a passive recruiting strategy is as easy as using an ATS like CareerPlug to host a passive job posting to your careers page. CareerPlug also helps you build your talent pipeline and keep in touch with your applicants. A strong employer brand and transparency with all your applicants makes it easier to quickly make the right hire when the need pops up. 

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Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.


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Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

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Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

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After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

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