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Passive talent sourcing - the ultimate guide in 2023

Discover why passive candidate sourcing is a game-changer in recruitment. Uncover practical strategies and tools to attract and engage with top-tier passiv
Last update
May 27, 2024
Passive talent sourcing - the ultimate guide in 2023
Passive talent sourcing - the ultimate guide in 2023

In the world of talent acquisition, there’s a hidden treasure trove of potential—the passive candidate. These are the gems who aren't actively seeking new opportunities but could be the perfect fit for companies actively hiring. They're often satisfied with their current roles but open to discussing new, exciting opportunities. As a recruiter, unlocking the potential of passive candidate sourcing is crucial to staying ahead in a competitive landscape.

What is the difference between active sourcing and passive sourcing?

In recruitment, sourcing candidates can broadly be split into two categories: active and passive sourcing.

Active sourcing involves searching for potential candidates who are actively on the prowl for new job opportunities. These individuals could be on job boards, active on LinkedIn, or working with recruitment agencies to find suitable roles. Their eagerness to find new opportunities often makes them easier to pinpoint and engage with. A strong employer brand will be key to attract this active audience. However, bear in mind that because they're on the active hunt, they might be entertaining multiple job offers, potentially complicating your hiring process.

On the other hand, passive sourcing focuses on candidates who aren't actively looking for a new job. This does not imply negativity — in fact, they might be among the top performers in their current roles. Because they're not actively job searching, the competition to hire them isn't as fierce. Sourcing them, therefore, requires a more strategic, personalized approach, as they need compelling reasons to consider changing their current situation.

While both methodologies have their merits, embracing a combination of both active and passive sourcing ensures a well-rounded, diversified hiring strategy.

What are the advantages of passive candidats sourcing ?

Passive candidate sourcing is a valuable method of talent acquisition, and exploring its benefits sheds light on why recruiters should invest time in it. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Access to top talent: Since passive candidates are likely already employed and successful in their current role, they often represent top-tier talent in their industry. Recruiting them can bring high-quality skills and knowledge to your company.
  2. Reduced competition: Because these candidates aren't explicitly searching for an open job, they're less likely to be engaged in conversations with multiple employers. This means you are likely to face less competition in attracting and recruiting them.
  3. Long-term hires: Passive candidates aren't always looking for the next best thing, hence when they decide to change roles, they're likely looking for a position where they can stay and grow long-term.
  4. Broader Applicant Pool: Passive sourcing significantly expands your reach outside the pool of active job seekers. It gives recruiters access to a broader spectrum of diverse candidates.
  5. Running Proactive Recruitment: Rather than waiting for the right applicant to come along, recruiters proactively search and engage with the perfect fit, thus enabling them to fill roles faster.

By leveraging these advantages of passive sourcing, recruiters can shape a more effective, proactive recruitment strategy that brings top talent into their organisation.

Where to search for passive candidates ?

Finding passive candidates may require a little bit of creativity and strategic thinking. After all, these are candidates who aren't necessarily hanging out on job boards or actively responding to job advertisements. Here are some effective methods to find passive candidates:

  1. LinkedIn: LinkedIn remains the best source for finding passive candidates. By using targeted keywords, job titles, skills, or even past employers, you can build a good list of potential candidates who may not be actively looking but fit your job opening perfectly. If you are using LinkedIn Recruiter, you can use the “Open to work” spotlight filter.
  2. Networking Events: Numerous gatherings and forums offer opportunities for networking and meeting new people. Explore platforms such as and to locate events that align with your searched expertise.
  3. Your past candidates found in your ATS (application tracking system): there are likely numerous candidates who weren't the right fit for a past position but could be perfect for new vacancies. By creating talent pools and nurturing lists, you should be able to find the right profiles faster.
  4. Existing Employee Network: Your current team may know someone who’d be a fantastic fit for the role. Employees referral programs can be a great way to unlock this network.
  5. Alumni Networks: Tapping into alumni networks can yield potential candidates who may not be actively looking for a job but could be interested in the right opportunity.
  6. Social Media: Savvy recruiters turn to online social media platforms (other than LinkedIn) like Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. Industry-specific discussion groups or popular hashtags can help identify potential candidates.

Remember, when reaching out to passive candidates, personalization is key. It's not just about finding them — it's about crafting the right message to peak their interest.

Recruitment Automation in Passive Candidate Sourcing

In passive candidate sourcing, automation can be a game-changer to hire faster. Recruitment automation technology such as can save a wealth of time and improve the efficiency of your sourcing process. Here are 5 exemples on how automation can help you in your sourcing work:

  1. Automated Candidate Sourcing: Automation tools can scrape various databases, social media platforms, and employment sites to find passive candidates who match your specific job criteria.
  2. Candidate Engagement: Conducting manual outreach to potential candidates can be time-consuming. With automation, you can set up personalized email or LinkedIn message campaigns that get triggered based on a specific timeline or candidate response.
  3. Schedule Interviews: Tools can seamlessly schedule interviews with passive candidates, significantly reducing the back-and-forth communication and potential scheduling conflicts.
  4. Follow-ups: Automated reminders guarantee you never miss out on following up with a promising candidate or get lost in administrative clutter. Following up using multi channel will ensure having higher response rates from people in your pipeline.
  5. Analyzing metrics: Automation tools provide insightful analytics that aid strategic decisions. You can track responses, engagement rates, or interview conversion rates, refining your approach as you garner data-driven insights.

By leveraging automation in these areas of passive candidate sourcing, recruiters can streamline their workflow, stay organized, and invest their saved time back into building robust relationships with potential hires.

Step by step exemple using Leonar outreach automated campaign

As we emphasized the importance of personalization when reaching out to passive candidates, it’s essential to have a system that combines both automation and personalization efficiently. This is where Leonar’s outreach sequence shines. Here is a step-by-step example of how it can be used:

  1. Campaign initiation: Start by creating a campaign in Leonar. Define the job role and skills you're sourcing for. You can tailor this as specifically as you wish.
  2. Identify your targeted audience from a LinkedIn search or inside your ATS. Leonar can centralize multiple sources of profiles into one unified database and help you match the most relevant profiles using scoring technologies.
  3. Creating a personalized message sequence: This is the key step. Craft a sequence of messages that will be delivered to your list of passive candidates. While the sequence will be automated, make sure each message feels personal, showcases the opportunity at hand genuinely, and emphasizes why it could be right for the recipient. Leonar integrates AI to craft highly engaging email that don’t feel generic.
  4. Including follow-ups: Make sure your sequence includes follow-up messages scheduled strategically using Linkedin invitation, inMail or email. This increases your chances of getting a response without overwhelming the candidate.
  5. Launch and Monitor: After double-checking your messages, hit launch. Leonar will start delivering your messages according to the schedule. You can monitor responses, track engagements and take appropriate actions based on these insights.

By using the Leonar outreach sequence, the process of connecting with passive candidates becomes more efficient, less time-consuming, and results-oriented.

In conclusion, mastering the art of passive candidate sourcing goes beyond merely understanding the difference between active and passive sourcing. It includes knowing where and how to source such candidates, making the most out of sourcing  automation, and effectively crafting outreach sequences.

Knowing this, it is clear that passive candidate sourcing is an investment—one that has the potential to yield high-value returns in the form of unexplored talent and growth for your company. A diverse, well-rounded recruitment strategy that includes passive sourcing can easily set you apart in the competitive recruiting landscape.

The best hiring companies are often the one able to map and build long term relationship with the best talents in their industry. Talent nurturing and pipeline should part of your employer brand strategy and requires a long term work.

Ultimately, success in recruitment is about both the journey and the destination. A healthy mix of strategic thinking, innovation, and leveraging tools like can steer you towards hidden talent pools, waiting to be discovered.

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