Struggling to Hire Management Talent? It’s Time to Develop a Passive Recruiting Strategy

Has your organization been struggling to find and hire great management talent? Whether you’ve got a longstanding opening for a General Manager role or HR Director job, or you’re trying to take care of one of those hard-to-fill C-suite management jobs, it’s not easy. The people with the right skill set, attitude, and experience aren’t easy to source, and even when you find one, it might not be a perfect culture fit.  


You may be surprised to learn that only 30% of the global workforce is actively seeking a new job. According to statistics from LinkedIn, a whopping 70% of the workforce is actually passive talent—meaning they already have a job. This may be why your efforts to hire management talent aren’t working: you’re going after people who are searching for a job, rather than those who already have one. It sounds paradoxical, but it’s true. 


This is something that management recruiters have known for a long time. Rather than finding an out-of-work management candidate to fill a role, it’s often more effective to find an employed candidate who can be persuaded to consider other opportunities. And your organization can use that fact to your advantage.  

If your management hiring efforts aren’t producing the results you want, something needs to change. It’s time to develop and implement a passive recruiting strategy to go after the cream of the crop.  

What is a Passive Candidate? 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines a passive job seeker as someone who is currently employed and isn’t actively searching for a job but would accept a new job if the right opportunity came along. Remember: 70% of the workforce globally fits into this category. It’s no wonder your management hiring efforts aren’t working if you’re only going after active job candidates.  

Are Passive Candidates Better Hires? 

While the individual themselves is what ultimately determines what is a “good” or “bad” hire, passive candidates often tend to be better hires. There are several reasons for this. First, they’re currently working in the field at the level you’re hiring for. There’s less likely to be advanced training needed—at this level, your management candidate will probably be ready to jump right in, whether they’re coming into an Executive Director job, a C-suite management job, or something in between. 

There is also data that backs up the point. Statistics from The Undercover Recruiter show that passive talent candidates are 120% more likely to want to make an impact in the organization they join. They’re also 56% more likely to want a corporate culture that fits with their personalities. To put it simply, passive candidates want to be engaged and make a difference. And that’s a good thing for your business. 

How Can You Attract Passive Management Candidates if They Aren’t Looking? 

You might be wondering: if passive candidates already have jobs, how are you supposed to attract them? What can you do to convince these candidates that your offer is superior to their current role? 

Here are some tips on attracting passive management candidates:  

  • Know who you are looking for. It helps to have a laser-focused view of the candidate you’re looking for. Take time to think about exactly what you want and need out of the management role you’re filling, and target those candidates only to avoid wasting time and resources. 
  • Have an employee value proposition. Passive candidates won’t give up the positions they have for no good reason. You must convince them with value, whether that’s salary, benefits, culture fit, growth opportunities, or something else entirely. 
  • Connect with employed talent online and in person. Social media is a great place to find passive job seekers. Social recruitment strategies expand your reach beyond job boards and help to reach those candidates who aren’t on the boards looking for work. And if you’ve found a particular individual that you’d like to target, it never hurts to set up an in-person meeting.  
  • Build a relationship. When you’re courting C-suite level executives, it’s all about the relationship. These individuals aren’t likely to jump ship and join your organization unless they feel it is the proper culture and personality fit. 
  • Streamline your hiring process. A clunky hiring process won’t help your talent search at any level, much less on the management side of things. Streamline the process to make interviewing and onboarding as smooth as possible for your candidates. 

What Motivates Passive Management Candidates? 

We’ve already touched on some of the things that motivate passive management candidates. Primary motivations include the things you might expect: better compensation, benefits packages, professional development opportunities, and improved work-life balance. If your offer is better than the candidate’s current employer in these areas, you have a good shot at being able to attract them toward your role.  

These aren’t the only motivations for passive candidates, however. From Executive Director jobs to General Managers, these individuals care about things like a better company culture, community involvement opportunities, the chance to support social causes through their work, and the company’s mission aligning with their personal values. If the position you’re offering can meet some or all of these requirements in addition to the primary motivations, the passive job seeker could very well be enticed.  

How To Find Passive Candidates For Management Roles   

We’ve already discussed how social media can be a powerful tool for finding passive candidates. These individuals aren’t hunting through job boards during their off time, so there’s little chance you’ll find them there. Using social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, on the other hand, gives you a good chance of getting noticed by these high-level executives.  

Networking is another great way to find passive candidates. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know—and who you know can make a big difference when it comes to attracting and hiring management-level candidates. Online and at industry events, be sure to network with others in the field. You never know when one of those connections will pay off for your management talent search. 

How To Engage Passive Management Candidates Without Scaring Them Off  

As a person in a management role, you don’t want to be hounded by a company asking you to come work for them. That will only turn your prospective candidates off. How do you go about engaging passive management candidates without scaring them away? 

  • Do it tastefully. Always engage passive candidates with the utmost respect and make your intentions clear up front. You don’t want to come off as shady or ill-intentioned. 
  • Be clear about the advantages. Passive candidates won’t waste their time if you don’t get to the point about why your offer is compelling. Remember: these individuals need a clear reason why it’s worth considering a new job. 
  • Meet them where they are. Remember: passive management candidates aren’t surfing the job boards looking for open positions. Reach out to passive candidates directly, or through social media or at networking events.  

Develop A Positive Candidate Experience   

Rule number one for creating a positive candidate experience for your passive candidates: stay in frequent communication. If your passive candidate hears from you once and then it’s radio silence for several weeks, they’re going to assume you lost interest. Staying in touch with the candidate is the best way to form a relationship and make it clear that you’re interested in what they have to offer to your organization.  

Asking the right questions of your candidate is another good way to develop a positive candidate experience. And the questions might be a little different than ones you would pose to an active candidate. Try things like “What do you like most about your current position? What do you like the least?” Or, “Is your current position as satisfying as it was when you first started?” It’s a good way to get your passive candidate to reflect on what they’d like to improve, and you can make it clear that it can happen with your organization.  

Work With Management Recruiting Experts 

Building a passive recruiting strategy takes time. As you improve your strategies, work with an expert recruiting firm like The Hire Firm. Our staffing agency’s recruitment professionals have been doing this for a long time—we know how to attract passive candidates and help your organization build out your passive recruitment strategy.  

If your organization is in need of management recruiting services in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, NM, and surrounding areas, The Hire Firm can help. Whether you’re looking for a new HR Director or need to fill a General Manager job, trust the proven leaders to get your organization the leadership it requires. You may be surprised to find that it comes from an unexpected place: passive candidates who aren’t necessarily looking for a new job. But oftentimes, these individuals are the ones who make the difference you’re looking for.  

Contact a member of our team today to learn more about passive recruitment and what our job agency can do for your organization. 

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