Only 14%?! Why your favorite candidates have no idea your company even exists (& what do about it)

Top talent is always actively looking for a job. They’re waiting on pins and needles for you to announce a job opening.

Nope. In fact sometimes, the most talented individuals don’t even know their dream company (you!) exists. So, it’s up to you to make them aware.

Field of Talent combines centuries of talent acquisition experience in a nimble, tech-forward recruiting firm. So we know what we’re talking about when it comes to sourcing the best talent possible – active and passive candidates.

While active candidate campaigns are often the go-to and should be a part of any good recruiting plan, you can also use passive candidate strategies to make sure you hire the best talent.

Here’s why passive candidates are always a great option – even though they may take a bit longer to secure – and how to get the attention of those who may not be actively looking for you.

Active candidates aren’t your only option

Pie chart of current Bureau of Labor and Statistics

This data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics should be enlightening: Only 14% of the labor market is actively looking for a job, meaning more than 85% of your potential candidates aren’t looking for you – much less another job.

So apart from recruiting those who are actively seeking you out, you have to attract others.


Well, not every active candidate is the best fit for your company. The more candidates you have in your pipeline, the more likely you hire the right person.

Passive candidates may not have updated their LinkedIn profiles or resume in years – gasp! But they’d still be valuable additions to your team.

Relying solely on active candidates and those who applied to your job within minutes of its posting (let’s be honest – these folks didn’t even read the description) limits your pool of potential hires. You can do better.

Don’t miss out on top talent simply because you didn’t go above and beyond. The best recruitment strategy includes both active and passive candidates.

This is why networking & branding are so important in the hunt for the 85%

Your reputation precedes you… But only if you’ve created one.

To reach the 85% of the labor market that isn’t actively looking for a new opportunity, you’ve got to invest in networking and branding.

This is how you stand out. This is how you make a name for yourself, your company culture and your employee experience.

“People don’t join companies. People join people.”

It’s true.

Networking will help you build relationships with potential hires and learn about what top talent wants in a job.

If you’re proud of your brand, show it. Encourage employees to refer friends and family to open positions. Post about your employee experience on social media. Get out into the community.

Your company culture is a magnet for talent.

A strong brand will help you …

  • Stand out from competitors
  • Communicate your values and mission
  • Create a positive image in the minds of potential hires

A weak brand? Well, that doesn’t help your cause at all.

Candidates surprised when you network and brand your company well

Sourcing passive candidates

So your goal is to increase the size of your talent pool.

When American workers are the most diverse they’ve ever been (in terms of where they live online, their interests, their work habits, etc.), you have to diversify your outreach strategy. The more tactics you use to connect with candidates, the higher likelihood you find your knight in shining armor.

Employee referrals

Encourage your employees to refer their network to your open positions.

No one knows your company better than your employees and you. Plus they’ve spent years if not decades in this industry and know countless others who’d be interested in joining forces on the same team.

So why not outsource some of the talent acquisition responsibility and incentivize them to capitalize on their network?

Social media

Quick! Before you skip this section, LinkedIn and other platforms are more powerful than you think.

If you don’t already know your passive candidates, use advanced search features to filter on specific criteria – such as job title, location, industry or maybe even company (wink wink, use this wisely!).

Apart from doing the research yourself, you should arm your employees with the resources to share the open position with their network. Give them some example copy, images and a referral link to make their job easier.

Targeted outreach

Let’s be honest – You’ve been eyeing your competitor’s all-star salesman for years now.

“Dang! I really wish they’d want to come work here. Why do they even enjoy life at that company?”

We’ve all been there.

Try targeted advertising or just plain outreach. What’s the worst that could happen?

By placing job ads on specific websites or social media platforms, you can reach individuals who might not be looking for a new job – but are still open to a new opportunity, given it’s in their wheelhouse.

Spidermans pointing at each other – Employee referrals, social media and targeted outreach

With only 14% of the labor market actively looking for a new position, you have to get creative with your talent acquisition strategy.

Want some help refining your process and plan? You’re in luck. Field of Talent helps organizations like Outside Source and USA Gymnastics do just that.

Get started here.

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Only 14%?! Why your favorite candidates have no idea your company even exists (& what do about it)