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Active Recruiting: 5 Ways to Boost your Strategy

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In any job market, expanding your team starts with active recruiting — going after talent that is already looking for a new employer.

With a well-crafted active recruiting strategy, you’ll be able to hire faster without compromising on candidate quality. It will also drive more top job candidates to your talent pool so you can build an engaged candidate pipeline that will support your future hiring needs.

What is active recruiting?

Active recruiting is the process of attracting and hiring candidates who are actively searching for a job. According to a 2022 survey conducted via recruitment websites, 42% of people are actively seeking a new job.

As opposed to passive candidates, active job seekers are looking through job boards, reaching out to people in their networks, updating their resumes, and applying for open positions. Active candidates may already have a job or be unemployed. 

The difference between active vs. passive recruiting

When developing an active recruiting strategy, it’s important to understand what motivates active vs. passive job seekers. Relying on a one-size-fits-all approach for both active and passive recruiting will fail to address the unique motives of each group, which will impact your hiring success.

Active candidates are primarily motivated by opportunities to take on a more senior or interesting position. While pay and benefits are important for active job seekers, they are not the primary reason active candidates look for a new job. As for passive candidates, they are mostly motivated to switch jobs by better pay and benefits.

What motivates active vs. passive candidates?

Active candidates

  1. 40% want increased seniority or a more intriguing role
  2. 26% say there isn't enough opportunity for upward mobility at their current job
  3. 25% are interested in a different occupation
  4. 24% are unhappy with their current employer's pay or benefits
  5. 22% are currently unemployed

Passive candidates

  1. 65% would be interested in a new job offer if it had higher pay and benefits
  2. 39% would be interested if the company had more opportunities for upward mobility
  3. 31% would be interested if the job position was more intriguing or senior than their current role
  4. 28% would be interested if the new position offered a better work-life balance
  5. 21% would be interested if the new job provided opportunities to try their hand at new things

How does a good active recruiting strategy pay off?

An effective active recruiting strategy addresses different aspects of the sourcing and hiring process, which results in a variety of benefits:

  • More qualified candidates in your talent pool: Instead of casting a wide net and hoping you’ll catch the right candidates, a good active recruiting strategy allows you to attract more people with the right skills and experience from the get-go.
  • Less time spent filtering candidates: Advanced filtering capabilities allow recruiters to quickly identify the top candidates based on their skills, education, and experience.
  • Reduced time-to-hire: Building a strong employer brand allows you to attract top talent who identify with your company’s values, which speeds up the recruiting process so you can fill positions quickly.

5 ways to improve how you actively recruit candidates

Bolster your active recruiting efforts with the following best practices.

Build an engaged talent pipeline with a CRM

Recruiting is most efficient when you replace reactive hiring with proactive recruiting programs. By proactively engaging with the talent that’s already in your ecosystem, you won’t have to start from scratch when a new role opens. 

A candidate relationship management (CRM) solution allows you to build talent relationships with email campaigns, keeping your company top of mind for people in your industry even when you aren’t actively recruiting for a role. When a vacancy does open, active candidates will already be familiar with your brand and more likely to consider a new opportunity at your company.

For example, you could send a monthly newsletter with the latest industry trends or share helpful tips tailored to different audience segments, such as marketers, software engineers, or sales representatives. Findem’s CRM allows you to create talent communities based on unique attributes, job titles, seniority, and more, so you can continuously engage people with relevant, personalized emails.

Apply advanced filters to find the most qualified candidates

Once resumes come pouring into your applicant tracking system (ATS), how do you surface the top candidates? If you rely only on the keyword-matching function provided by your ATS, you’ll miss out on 92% of candidates who don’t have the right keywords in their resumes.

It’s also important to note that keywords aren’t a measure of an applicant’s quality — only whether they succeeded in mentioning the right words in their resume. According to our latest State of Hiring and Recruiting report, 54% of talent leaders feel pressure to improve candidate quality, a strong indicator that organizations need a better way to find the most qualified applicants.

Enter attribute filtering, a core feature of Findem’s talent sourcing solution that allows you to look up candidates like you’re running a Google search. You’re not limited by keywords or Boolean strings — instead, you can find candidates with attributes such as “fast career progression,” “saw a company through IPO,” “SaaS experience,” and many more. 

Findem’s attributes are generated from more than 100,000 external data sources, such as LinkedIn, GitHub, or public company data. Attributes allow you to gain the most comprehensive understanding of an individual, which is impossible using resumes or LinkedIn profiles alone. Findem integrates with your ATS, enabling you to enrich and refresh your existing candidates’ profiles with attributes as well.

Write a compelling job description

A well-written job description uses clear language, is transparent in terms of needed skills and experience, and paints a good picture of your company culture. Specifically, pay attention to:

  • Avoiding the use of superlative adjectives: “Perfectionist” and “rockstar” are adjectives that might turn away highly qualified candidates who don’t resonate with this terminology. Not to mention it could hamper your diversity hiring initiatives due to the confidence gap between men and women in the workplace. 
  • Address internal mobility: Opportunities for talent mobility are a major motivator for active candidates. Be specific about any mentorship programs or other ways in which employees can advance their careers.
  • Address job seekers’ current concerns: In an uncertain economy, job seekers want to know that they’re applying to work for a stable business. Emphasize any recent growth, awards, partnerships, and media features to illustrate the stability of your organization.
  • Be transparent about compensation and benefits: Eighty-two percent of employees wish companies were transparent about salary and benefits in job postings. Providing this information will improve the candidate experience and attract more applicants.

Invest in niche job boards and paid ads

Niche job boards and ads are an important active recruiting tool, especially when hiring for hard-to-fill roles or if you’ve had little success with big job boards.

When hiring for a content marketing role, for example, Superpath’s job board can help you reach an engaged community of marketers. Dice is another niche job board that you can turn to when filling a tech role. As for paid advertising, Google Ads is an effective way to get your job opportunity in front of the greatest number of potential candidates possible. 

Use social media to build a strong employer brand

It’s not enough to make a hiring announcement on your LinkedIn page and wait for applications. On social networks, your job posting is competing against all sorts of engaging content — videos, images, and hot takes from thought leaders.

One strategy to build a strong employer brand is to boost engagement for a high-performing job post by promoting it alongside a short video testimonial or a clip showing a day in the life of a current employee. Social media platforms are prioritizing video content due to its high engagement rate, and 85% of marketers agree that video is effective in engaging their audience. 

You can also take inspiration from companies like HubSpot that have dedicated entire social media profiles to promoting their employer brand with different types of visual content, including employee takeovers. This is another way you can proactively build a talent pipeline before you even begin to hire. 

If your page doesn’t have many followers yet, make sure to include relevant hashtags and see if you have any employees with large followings who could share the content to extend its reach. 

Finding the best talent takes more than resumes

Great candidates are more than just the right combination of skills and experience. But how can your recruiting team easily identify applicants with an “entrepreneurial spirit” or a “go-getter attitude” at scale? 

Start with the warmest leads

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