The digital skills gap and significant candidate shortages mean that recruiters and hiring managers can’t wait for the perfect candidate to land in their inboxes.

With many active job seekers already having been snapped up, recruiters are turning to the passive candidate market to fill the tech vacancies in their pipeline.

So what exactly are passive candidates, and once we have them in our sights, what can we do to tempt them away from their existing employer?

What are passive candidates?

Some job seekers are actively searching for a new role. They are open to being approached about new opportunities and welcome a conversation with recruiters about new jobs that may be of interest to them.

Others aren’t. These candidates are what we call passive. They may be employed already, or be one of the growing number of economically inactive people choosing to step back from employment.

How do you attract passive candidates?

Here are some strategies to help secure passive candidates and attract those who aren’t actively looking for new opportunities.


Approaching a passive candidate is all about showing them that the grass is greener. Spending time researching your candidate and where they work will help trump the hand of an existing employer.

When approaching a passive candidate, you need to make sure they’ll be suited to your job. This will automatically make your approach and communications more personalised.

Using social media and corporate material, you may like to find out

  • What they may be being paid.
  • How long they’ve been at their current employer
  • What does this package offer that they may not already be getting?
  • What experience do they have that makes them a great fit for your job?

close up of male hands typing on a laptop keyboardping on a laptop

Offer a competitive salary.

Following the pandemic, salary alone doesn’t have the same appeal it once did. However, what you are offering needs to be competitive and in line with industry benchmarks.  Research the regional variations of your role and, if you can, make sure that your offering is at the higher end.

Consider your working arrangements.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 received royal assent at the end of July, and will come into effect in 2024.  This means that the clock is ticking for employers to address their flexible working policies in line with this new legislation. Ensuring that you have robust flexible solutions in place early will not only mean you are compliant ahead of the game, but that you get ahead of competing organisations.

Candidates know that hybrid and remote working will soon be a right. Therefore, you should try to accommodate some form of flexible working options now rather than wait until the deadline. Flexible working may include remote or hybrid options. It also may look like 4-day weeks or split shifts.

If you want to secure and retain passive candidates, there must be efforts to incorporate long-term, flexible working policies.

Are you worried about how remote working may affect your company culture? Don’t be. Read our advice

Showcase your company culture and values.

Passive candidates will need to know that the values and company culture are genuine and authentic. To help recruiters sell your company, organisations must make sure its brand culture and values are consistently represented in policy, action, and communication.

Candidates are growing increasingly aware of company values and how they should go beyond policy and into workplace practice.

This may refer to inclusion and diversity, gender equality initiatives, work-life balance, or any other aspect of your brand that makes it a nice place to work.

Find out which core values will attract top talent here.

Leadership and team relationships.

When looking to attract and hire passive candidates, your current team is your biggest asset. If past and existing staff speak highly of a company, it will create a positive overall impression. You may like to encourage existing team members to leave reviews on reporting sites such as Glassdoor. Positive reviews may be the deciding factor for a candidate weighing up whether to accept a new job offer.

Ignite Digital recruitment partners have networks that go back years. We have placed today’s tech leaders in their first role, and now they come back to us to find their teams!

Our network is full of passive candidates that span the tech, digital, and data space. Reach out today to find out more about how we work.

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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