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5 tips for fishing the passive talent pool

You have a great new job opening at your organisation and somewhere out in the talent pool is the perfect fit.
But what if they don’t know because they’re not looking? It’s time to fish.
SEP 12, 2023

You’ve got a great new job opening at your organisation and somewhere out in the talent pool is the perfect fit.


But what if they don’t know because they’re not looking? It’s time to go fishing...


They’re not answering your job posts. They’re not checking you out on LinkedIn. They’re not interested in you at all.


Or are they?


Over half of settled employees would, in fact, be open to a new job offer. 


LHH’s research (from our White Paper: The Secret Workforcesuggests that for every 33% of workers actively seeking new opportunities there are 12% genuinely unavailable – and 55% are not seeking but still catchable. These passive candidates are hard to see, swimming below the surface. They’re not looking to move on – but they can still bite if the bait is good enough.


Idly browsing job postings is a normal pastime for around half of the already employed (50.4%), especially after working with one company for a year or two. Nearly 17% of respondents in our recent survey regard this as no reflection on their current employer but ‘something you simply do as a professional’.


Which means many will be well-disposed to a new opportunity, even if they’re not actively searching for it. The problem for recruiters is that this passive talent pool can be all but invisible. 


That shouldn’t stop you.


Using networks, online profiles and, occasionally, a bit of email or DM bravado, you can go angling for the talented people you’d love to hire. 


But can you hook them? Is what you’re offering attractive enough?


Here are our 5 Top Tips for Fishing


1. Net your own team first


Are you getting the most from your people? Regular assessment of your team’s potential means you can create bespoke career plans and upskilling to unlock some in-house passive talent. This is a great toolkit for retention. Opportunity for growth and development was at number 3 in our respondents’ priority list when considering a job offer.


2. Trawl far waters


Remote and flexible working means the passive pool can be an ocean – but did you know 61% of passive candidates would consider relocating for the right role? If you need employees in the office, offer to cover moving costs.


3. Make it easy


Over 30% of our respondents said repeatedly filling in application forms was the worst part of a job move. Answering the same questions over and over in several interviews was a low point for another 20%. You can’t afford to alienate passive potential employees right from the outset, so improve and streamline your application process. (Better still, route candidates via LHH to cut down the form-filling in one stroke).


4. Be transparent


Clarity on hours, flexibility and career potential are important – but salary transparency is becoming pivotal. This is a tool for closing the gender and race pay gap and if you’re not using it, you’re signaling a lack of concern about a very big issue.


Sharing the organisation’s values is also key. Its ethos and practices on sustainability and inclusivity are a big selling point – as well as what it does for fun. Don’t be shy when it comes to highlighting your company’ social side.


5. Don’t lag


Although it’s now common to be interviewed twice for a job, more than this will annoy 81% of candidates. Nobody wants a bad hire, so it’s tempting to take your time, but over 68% expect final interview feedback within a week. While over 28% rate overdue feedback as the worst part of the application process.


Overhauling your assessments framework should help you make a decision in no more than two interviews.


Lagging on the job offer process also runs the risk of losing not only your prime hire’s patience and respect, but, worse, their talents to another employer.


They might have been passive when you found them, but your interest may well have triggered some curiosity and then an interview with the competition. If the offers and the prospects are comparable, you could lose them simply because you don’t reach the finish line first.


Don’t let your star hire turn into the one that got away.


Not enough time to sit around fishing? LHH can help. Contact us here.