How to Source Passive Candidates as a Freelance Recruiter

Posted in Seekers, Recruitment, Human Resource, Success Story on Nov 30, 2018

Source: Nikoletta Bika | Workable

Sourcing passive candidates isn’t just about finding them. It’s also about screening and engaging those candidates in conversations.

Meet passive candidates online

Try more targeted social media.

The more social media you’re involved in, the more likely you are to stumble upon someone great. Platforms like Instagram, Reddit and Snapchat aren’t as popular for recruiting as professional-oriented sites like LinkedIn or Xing. But, that also means that recruiters will be scarce on these platforms and competition will be lower.For example, on Reddit, you can search for discussions of interest and spot those who seem knowledgeable on their field. Or go through subreddits where people are looking for a job. Be careful, though: users on these platforms mightn’t like aggressive recruiting. It’d be best if you’re a committed user.

Check out Portfolio/Work sample sites.

Another advantage of online sourcing is that you could actually see candidates’ work on online portfolio sites. This works well for creative professionals like designers who contribute to Behance, Dribble and Carbonmade. Github is also a good option to find developers by looking at team or individual projects. A good alternative for sourcing engineers would be sites like Codercred, Codility and Hackerrank. Through these sites, you can host coding challenges and choose candidates who got the highest scores.

Meeting passive candidates in person

Even in the age of social media, there’s still nothing better than actually meeting someone in person. Being in the same room and connecting with passive candidates builds trust and rapport.

There are many conferences and events you can attend or participate in. Search sites like and to find relevant events. You can also see who will be attending so you can prepare. Knowing more about a person before you meet them can help your conversations flow easier. You can use People Search for this purpose. Highlight a name from an attendee list and right click. People Search will provide you with information you can use to have meaningful discussions. This works after events, too – if you meet someone great, you can use People Search to look them up and contact them afterwards.

Hackathons, career fairs and campus events are other great options to meet great candidates. Hosting your own events is a good idea too.

When you meet with people in person you have better chances to find out if they’d be interested in a new job. Try to discover whether they’re happy in their current role. You can ask them about their future plans for their career – if they’re moving up in their company, they’ll probably be less likely to want to leave. Focus on what they want and decide if you can offer them a job that matches their aspirations.

Meet passive candidates through connections

Often, the best employees are those who are referred by other employees. They’re usually more productive and less likely to quit. Same goes for those referred by people you trust, like an external recruiter. Send your colleagues an email asking for referrals. It’d be best if these emails are specific. Describe the role you’re sourcing for and brief them on your most important requirements. Setting up a program with incentives for successful referrals can also be a good idea.

Before you turn to other people for referrals, think of your network first. You probably already know someone, like a previous coworker or fellow alum, who is familiar with the profession you’re sourcing for. You could reconnect and discuss opportunities.

Meet through past hiring processes

Rejected candidates from the past could be the best candidates in the future. If you already have a candidate database or an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you have an abundance of candidate profiles at your fingertips. Sift through your talent pool and talent pipelines. Many candidates might have been rejected in the final stage of the hiring process. In the meantime, they could have found other jobs and gained more skills and experience. See what they’re up to.

Note that for this approach to work, your company should aim to provide a great candidate experience. Candidates who were treated well and were impressed with your company are more likely to consider working for you in the future. Conversely, those who had a bad experience mightn’t be too pleased to hear from you again.

Coming soon Part 2: How to screen passive candidates...


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