Skip to main content

Earlier this year, it was clear to see how the shift from a client-driven market to a candidate-driven market had impacted the way businesses recruited new talent.

The so-called ‘Great Resignation’ of 2021 saw a record number of people leaving their jobs and reconsidering their career paths in the wake of COVID-19 — with the number of job vacancies hitting a record high between July and September 2021 due to post-pandemic reopening and Brexit-related labor shortages.

As a result, successfully targeting and onboarding ‘passive’ candidates — people already in employment who are not actively searching for a new job but may be persuaded to change roles — will continue to play a significant part in recruitment strategies for 2022.

The benefits of hiring passive candidates

A recent survey revealed that 69% of workers are ready to move jobs, with 24% planning to do so in the next few months. This reshuffle will impact almost every industry and cost businesses large sums in lost productivity and onboarding processes. For example, if just a sixth of the UK’s 275,000 accountants chose to leave their companies, it would cost firms upwards of a billion pounds in lost productivity alone.

Passive candidates make up 70% of the global workforce. As a result, having an effective strategy for targeting such candidates is crucial for businesses hoping to fill skills gaps and stand out in the increasingly competitive job market. Being approached directly by employers makes passive candidates feel respected and valued, increasing their enthusiasm for a role. They are also more likely to take their time deciding whether or not to join a new company and are, therefore, more likely to stay — boosting retention and company reputation and making it easier to attract more talent.

Since they already possess a proven set of skills before starting a new job, passive candidates are typically 17% less likely to require skills development. So, less time and resources are needed to train them, offering a faster return on investment for the employer and an easier transition for the employee. Plus, research has found that passive candidates are 120% more likely to want to make an impact in their new position, bringing with them the contacts and knowledge that will help to upskill existing teams and springboard businesses into the next stage of growth.

Five top tips for targeting passive candidates

1. Keep doing your research

To find out what it would take for a top candidate to leave the comfort of their position to join your company, you will have to take the time to get to know them.

Taking a personal approach is vital, as the top candidates are likely to have multiple other companies vying for their attention. As such, researching candidates to learn their work history, experience and motivations will be vital in conveying your professionalism, attention to detail, and position in the industry, as well as developing the candidate’s interest in your company.

2. Revisit previous candidates and contacts

Have you ever considered that your perfect candidate may be lurking in your existing databases? Somebody who was not quite experienced enough to secure a role in your team a few years ago may now be the perfect fit.

Plus, they will already be familiar with your company as they were once attracted to a position within your organization, making it even easier to minimize the competition from other interested parties.

3. Build a referral program

There is more to a competitive job offer than an attractive salary. Company culture, flexibility, and benefits are other contributing factors, and who better to provide a trustworthy recommendation than an existing employee?

One survey concluded that 78% of recruiters find their best-quality candidates through referrals. So, leveraging professional networks and incentivizing staff to bring in new talent with a referral program can help to expedite the recruitment process.

4. Work on your online presence

As digitization continues to sweep the globe, it is becoming increasingly important to establish a virtual brand — or risk planting doubts in the minds of prospective candidates about the legitimacy of your business.

Boosting your online presence could involve starting a company blog, upgrading your website, or developing a social media strategy. By sharing industry insights, company news, and promoting relevant events and campaigns online, you can cultivate a following, gain visibility, showcase company culture and, ultimately, attract passive candidates who may not otherwise be exposed to your organization.

5. Refine hybrid working policies

In the post-COVID era, it appears that hybrid working is here to stay. In fact, more than half of workers questioned in the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey said they would consider leaving their job in favor of one that offers flexible working after the pandemic.

But it is not enough to make a vague reference to flexibility in a job offer. Now that businesses are no longer in crisis mode, setting expectations for working hours and availability is key to the success of a hybrid working model and significantly increases the probability of high levels of engagement and wellbeing — boosting employee satisfaction and retention as a result.

By Julie Mott, Managing Director, Howett Thorpe.

Share this post:


Sally Fletcher
Sally Fletcher

Left us a 5 star review

Sally Fletcher
December 12, 2023

I would highly recommend agilis recruitment to anyone looking for work. I was contacted a few weeks ago by Chris, who matched the skills I have to an opportunity I was unable to refuse. He was professional and knowledgeable, but also friendly and down to earth. With quick response times, he was able to answer every question I had about the role whilst selling my skills and personality to the company before I had even met them. The input form Chris throughout the process, not only made everything easier but also it took the pressure off massively. I am very grateful. Thank you.

Jon Ives
December 11, 2023

Chris has done a great job for me. It's most refreshing to have a recruiter that both understands the role being recruited and listens to the candidate's requirements and concerns. Top marks!

Michael-William Kelly
December 2, 2023

It was great to work with Chris at Agilis to find my new role. He was always on hand to guide me through the process and make sure I was fully briefed prior to each interview. I would happily use Chris to find me a job... although I'm very happy where I am now! M-W Kelly

Eric Edge
October 31, 2023

Had a top experience with Edd. Sorted me 3 interviews with my preference of company, landed a role very quickly after. Professional + Friendly guy, would recommend.

Edna Atkins
July 17, 2023

An excellent recruitment experience. From the initial contact and throughout the interview process, Chris and his team excelled. I can highly recommend this agency.

Brendan Dodge
May 15, 2023

Chris from Agilis recruitment was fantastic. Professional and friendly; from providing the role, to the level of contact throughout the process.

Jen Cummings
May 15, 2023

Edd was great, I had some bad experiences with recruiters whilst looking for a new role but Edd restored my faith!

March 29, 2023

Chris at Agilis was professional throughout the entire process and was always available to discuss any concerns. He also made sure to only flag roles that I would have a genuine interest in. Thanks again Chris!

Mac Beirne
March 1, 2023

Chris Ellsworth was my recruiter and I was greatly impressed with the level of his assistance throughout the process from start to finish. He provided me with job role applications that were personalised to me based on what I told him I was looking for. If there was any confusion, I was always able to contact him throughout the whole process and ask for clarification which he would then, always happily give. Chris genuinely made me feel that he wanted me to get the role as much as I did and helped me with every step on the way.

subhash d
May 24, 2022

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. Found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way. Thank you so much for the support Ed.

Jessica Stafford
May 10, 2022

Had a great experience with Agilis Recruitment. Ed helped me find the perfect role for me in a great business. He also was very professional, cooperative but most importantly, understood what was important to me and listened to what I was looking for. Thank you Ed!

Arthur Guide
February 25, 2022

Amazing experience with Agilis, a professional company. I have no words to thank Edward. He found a great role for me.

Miles Jarvis
February 5, 2021

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. It was great to have a recruiter who understands exactly what his clients are looking for in a candidate. 5 stars!

Damian Marchewka
February 2, 2021

Ed was great, found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way, solid agency

Nadia Mkinsi
May 27, 2020

Laura is a lovely individual and easily the best recruiter I have ever worked with: proactive without being pushy, professional without lacking sincerity, and most importantly, she genuinely cares about her clients. She was incredibly conscientious in understanding my background and aspirations, and matched me with a role I WAS really excited about. I knew I was in good hands from our very first conversation – and I am happy to say I am a month into my new job and loving it!

Dean Rudge
April 21, 2020

I worked with Ed when securing my role. It was a massive step in the direction I wanted to move my career in and Ed was pivotal in making that happen. I liked that right from the start he was not pushy, he listened to what I had to say and feedback and he kept in regular contact without bombarding me, using the most suitable form of messaging whether it be LinkedIn, Email or a Phone Call. I would highly recommend Ed and the guys at Agilis - keep up the great work guys!

Paul Stonuary
March 30, 2020

A really nice team to do with. Proactive, prompt and supportive - just what you want, but rarely find in a recruitment agency.

Chris Harvey
March 23, 2020

Have found Agilis recruiting fantastic. Cannot rate them highly enough! Give them a go for all recruitment needs!

Harry Ray
March 20, 2020

Laura and Ed at Agilis helped me get placed last year, and Laura was exceptionally accommodating and patient, calling me outside of hours when it was convenient for me and keeping me in the loop about everything that was going on. I'm happy with my role and feel like the guys at Agilis really put time and effort into their work -- thank you!

Tarnea Garvey
March 20, 2020

My experience with Agilis has been great. I found Laura to be incredible helpful and always ensured she remained in contact with me throughout my job search. Thankfully I managed to find a new job through Agilis and the company has turned out to be everything that they told me the it would be! 5 Stars from me!!

Alex Dewey
March 19, 2020

Great experience with Agilis. Following relocating to Bristol I’d found myself having conversations with a couple members of the team. I’d expressed how important it was for me to find the right role but also due to circumstance I needed the process to be accelerated as much as possible. Laura was my main point of contact and managed to find me the best role I’ve ever had in what must be record time. I couldn’t rate their work higher and will definitely be my first point of contact when looking for new opportunities. Thanks again!

Harry Rossiter
March 19, 2020