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How to Ace Passive Candidate Sourcing?

August 15, 2022

Sourcing and recruiting the right candidates has become more challenging than ever. Do you remember the last time you hired an immensely talented individual through a job board? Even if we keep aside the huge efforts involved in shortlisting and screening, getting your ideal hire among active candidates is occasional. And you are not alone, 69% of the recruiters are facing difficulties in hiring due to talent shortage. The glimmer of light can only be seen in passive candidate sourcing, which refers to finding candidates who aren’t looking for a job but their talent and experience can add great value to your company. 

Especially when it comes to senior-level roles with the required experience, sourcing actively doesn’t help much. Why? The top talent with rich experience and a decent role won’t bother to apply for jobs that you post.

Around 85% of the total employed workforce are open to switching jobs! Surprised already? There’s much more to unravel – to help you source better and hire the best. 

Hiring talent is more than facing competition now. It has now become a fight for existence and growth for organizations. Amidst all the noise, you need to understand the perfect candidate won’t just walk through the door. You need to trigger them and passive sourcing is the way to go!

If you’re wondering – “Is it easy?”

Here’s the good news - Yes, if done strategically. And don’t worry about how to do it right. As you’re already here, you will find everything you need to know about passive candidate sourcing in this guide, let’s dive in.

What is Passive Candidate Sourcing?

Passive candidates are individuals who are not actively searching for a role. None of them would have even applied for a job at any organization. However, you want them to join your organization for the talent and skills they possess.

Passive candidate sourcing is identifying and connecting with people who are currently not looking for a job or to switch. Sourcing and acquiring high-quality passive talent is one of the most sought-after skills for recruiters. 

As we discussed earlier, a large chunk (about 85%) of the overall employed individuals are open to switching, but why would they want to? Here are the possible reasons:

  • They hate their current job but don’t have the risk appetite to lose it.
  • They don’t see growth in their current role but are too busy to apply for another one
  • Even though both of the above criteria are unmet, they are not paid well

As a recruiter, you need to identify the sweet spot which you can target and pitch in your open roles. That can happen through continuous engagement and analysis of those candidates. 

Why Should You Hunt for Passive Candidates?

Passive candidates might be tougher to engage with and hire, but the efforts are worth it after all. Unlike in active candidate sourcing, you are completely independent in this approach of sourcing and hiring. As you decide who to approach, you can begin directly by reaching out to talented and experienced individuals. You no more need to wait for applicants and then perform multiple rounds of shortlisting to interview a few among them.

In the case of a passive candidate – you know where they are working (the biggest factor), what they are doing and their ability to fulfill your requirements. Additionally, the competition to hire passive candidates is slightly less. Don’t forget about attracting their peers and colleagues once you hire them with much better perks!

Active vs Passive Sourcing: What’s the Difference?

Before we dive deep into the passive sourcing strategies, it’s essential that we discuss the differences between active and passive candidate sourcing. So that you can understand the primary approach towards passive sourcing that will yield quality results.

Active Sourcing Passive Sourcing
Active candidates are continuously browsing job boards, applying for jobs, sending emails to recruiters and searching for jobs on social media. Passive candidates are not searching for jobs at all
Active sourcing involves posting jobs across various professional and social platforms and independent job boards Passive sourcing involves searching and identifying talented individuals and connecting, networking and engaging with them across professional and social platforms
Candidates are very receptive to opportunities as they are in desperate need of a job Candidates are not much receptive to opportunities and cold outreach because they don’t care about applying right now
Multiple rounds of shortlisting before screening round Direct screening round to know if they are interested and available for a role at your organization
1 in 152 candidates gets hired among the applicants 1 in 72 candidates gets hired when passively sourced
More time is spent in filtering CVs and screening rounds Most of the time is spent in sourcing the right candidates, because that cuts off the time for upcoming rounds
Easy to source candidates this way but the quality of talent is usually not dense Tough to source even a few candidates but most of them are worth hiring
Mostly suited to entry level or junior roles More suited to senior roles with the requirement of experience

How to Source Passive Candidates for Successful Recruitment?

We talked about passive candidate sourcing and why it is vital for organizations amidst the competitive heat today. It’s now time for unleashing the elephant in the room: how to source passive candidates? 

While it might look like a simple sequence of steps from a top-level view, passive sourcing requires an intense strategy. There's no way you can reach out to random talented individuals and expect them to be interested in your open roles. So even before you begin passive sourcing, three are a few things to consider and work on for successful hiring.

  • Review your Employer Brand: You need to put out your employer brand’s value proposition. What do you think is unique about your work culture? Why do current employees love working with you? What’s your approach to providing a great work-life balance? How will the candidate you are sourcing will fit in amazingly well?Answer all these questions to prepare yourself for enticing the prospective candidates.
  • Before investing time, know what they’re looking for: One of the biggest mistakes that recruiters make while sourcing passive candidates is they call them directly. Try messaging or emailing your target prospects to genuinely ask them if they are interested in the fantastic opportunity at your workplace.

Once you ensure both of the above aspects, you can move forward to sourcing candidates passively. Know that from here, it’s almost similar to sales – you will face way too many rejections, cold responses and ignorance. But you cannot give up until you find interested candidates and add them to your recruitment pipeline. On that note, let’s get started with the tried and tested strategies for passive candidate sourcing and quality talent recruitment through it.

1. Source Passive Candidates Through Employee Referrals

Your organization’s employees can surely be the biggest source of quality talent if utilized efficiently. Have you ever noticed that a majority of the early-stage startups hire only through senior executives’ networks and employee referrals?  78% of the recruiters claim that the best candidates come through referrals.

There’s no doubt that your colleagues know the company and requirements inside out, so they usually bring the most talented and adaptive people into your organization. Additionally, they take referrals very responsibly as a bad referral may cost them as well as the company in the future. 
In most cases, these employees stay in an organization for longer. They also perform 15% better than other employees.

So what should you as a recruiter do? Ask your employees to recommend the best possible talent from their own network. Reward them in case of successful conversions – it can be cash rewards, shopping coupons, or electronic gadgets like smartwatches. Incentivizing the referral system motivates the employees to get quality candidates for the company. More often than not, the ROI will be much higher if you add up the cost of rewards.

2. Source Passive Candidates From your Talent Pool

Remember the promise you made to candidates about reaching out to them later when you have an opening? It’s now the time to find them out, evaluate their current position and connect with them if they qualify your sourcing criteria. 

Look out for talented candidates in your ATS and talent pipelines who got rejected in the final stages of your interview process. Note that they weren't right for the position at ‘that’ time. It’s totally possible that they would have now upskilled and gained more experience than you require and are a perfect fit for the organization too.

Make sure that these candidates were once disappointed for not getting through the selection process. So the least you can do is provide a great recruitment experience. No matter if they get selected or not, their perspective for you as an employer should not go down to negative. Ensure an extra polite and gentle approach towards them. Who knows, you might get some great hires for your company!

3. Source Passive Candidates from Social Media

LinkedIn is probably the first name you think about when it comes to passive candidate sourcing. With the entire world spending more time on social media platforms than ever, it should be your first place to start after referrals and your internal ATS. Remember the core objective of sourcing passive candidates and not going with conventional application processes. So you don’t want to leave anything on the table now.
To begin with, analyze the role and requirements of the job profile. If I had to hire a software developer, I would definitely check out LinkedIn first. But if I had to hire a creative manager, I would first go to more visual-focused platforms like Instagram.

Once the platform is chosen, find out the best methods to find people belonging to your target candidate persona. For LinkedIn, boolean searches work wonders because you are sourcing passive candidates. Find out people from the companies you know are doing well as they can add great productive talent to your organization. 

For Twitter and Instagram, searching with relevant hashtags will give you some quality leads. For example: use #graphicdesigners to source candidates for design roles. Twitter is an underrated way of sourcing talent, it also allows you direct keyword search just like Google. Imagine how diverse candidates you can find using a Twitter search.

4. Explore Networking Events

While the virtual world is primarily preferable due to its pace and accessibility, nothing can ever beat the experience of meeting people in real life. And what can be better than networking events, conferences and meetups that keep happening around your city? Use websites like meetup.com and Eventbrite to find passive talent that can perfectly fit in your organization. 

A pro tip would be to look out for people who constantly want to learn more and grow in their respective domains. It’s a big green flag when you find such talent, and you cannot afford to lose it! Moreover, hosting similar events would be a great initiative too. You can plan this with your executives and host a physical event or if not possible - webinars. Make sure it’s a valuable event that promises powerful takeaways for the participants.

This is an immensely popular passive candidate sourcing approach these days, especially for B2B companies.

5. Find Candidates in Online Recruiting Databases

The reason you need to ‘mine’ and not ‘source’ here is because this approach will take more effort and time than others. However, resume platforms and recruitment databases can truly be a goldmine for you when it comes to passive candidate sourcing.

You might be wondering how you can use these job boards and resume databases to find passive candidates. Well, candidates upload their resumes to numerous job boards, but their resumes are still there even after they find a job. So you can look out for different relevant attributes including industry, skills and educational background.

Never avoid a resume, just because it’s outdated – you can actually go to LinkedIn and find more about them. 

How to Recruit Passive Candidates?

Now that you have sourced a number of candidates – it’s time to go a step further. Remember discussing – “Hiring is becoming more of a sales practice where you are constantly selling to prospective candidates”? This is the stage of execution. 

Before you hop on a call with one of your passive candidates, it’s crucial to know everything related to the job role – JD, expected remuneration, perks and other benefits of working with your company. Be ready for any of the questions that might be asked upfront. Remember that your aim is to close the deal.

Suppose you got on a first discovery call and they seemed like they were interested. Now what? 

Share with them all the necessary details of the role with clear information - the documented job description, package etc. Ensure sending this on the same day you had a call with them.

You don’t want to turn them off by making the application process complicated and the last thing you would want is to lose out on talented candidates because of that. Schedule a video call meeting as per their availability and you will be well placed to make it happen. Also, ask them if they are available to meet in person.

How to Engage Passive Candidates?

Unlike what happens when someone applies for a job at your organization while sourcing passive candidates – you have to reach out to them for every step and make sure the hiring process happens fast and smoothly. If they have agreed to meet you personally, arrange for a real meeting over the weekend or whenever they are comfortable.

Regardless of how you meet them, your conversation should be focused on them. Follow the typical sales practice - make them feel valued. Your communication and actions should convey that their talent and skills will always be respected at your organization and they will grow with you.

How can NurtureBox Help You Ace Passive Candidate Sourcing?

NurtureBox helps you scale your multi-channel outreach for sourcing quality passive talent. We take care of the repeatable tasks that take a majority of your time and effort. Our Chrome extension enables recruitment teams to manage talent pipeline, candidate sourcing and hiring in a hassle-free way.

Sourcing passive candidates to keep your talent pipeline filled and to recruit the best possible individuals is not a cakewalk. Nurturebox fits in your existing technology stack by integrating all the necessary tools to manage and engage your sourced candidates. Here’s how our platform makes hiring the ‘creamy layer’ simpler and more organized for you:

  • Once you find relevant candidates, use our integrations like SIgnalhire to extract contact details from LinkedIn.
  • With just a single click, you can add them to ATS integration using – Recruitee.
  • Automate your engagement through WhatsApp using curated templates.
  • While you are on Gmail – you can add, update and extract contact details of the candidate directly through Nurturebox plugin

  • Track your outreach results to find out what’s working. Double down on that approach of sourcing.


Passive candidate sourcing is more than a skill. For some of the most successful recruiters – it is their go-to method whenever requirements arise for quality hiring. However, the approach and channels for outreach both need to be changed with evolving human behavior. Like any other milestone, passive recruitment also needs a considerable amount of planning and strategy. If you’re new to recruitment, fret not – this guide will help you ace the unique sourcing approach. The key is to make your sourcing and hiring process as simple as possible so that you can focus on more critical tasks - interacting with people. NurtureBox helps you hire better by integrating all the essential tools needed to source candidates easily and further scale your engagement with automation.

Amidst today’s noisy digital world, brands find it challenging to create meaningful connections with their customer base and target audience. Getting the target consumer’s attention and persuading them to buy from you gets even trickier. Hence, content marketing has become more crucial than ever for brands to attract, educate, and retain customers.

Content creation is a top priority for 80% of marketers, and there is no reason it shouldn’t be. Consistent, high-quality, and engaging content impacts your audience’s decisions through education and persuasion.

Depending on your business goals and requirements, the role of Content Marketers you hire will vary. The primary responsibilities revolve around forming consistent brand messaging and deciding upon a unique and identifiable voice, style, and pitch across various distribution channels.

From raising brand awareness to attracting a relevant audience to your website, boosting social media presence and engagement, generating leads, and building brand loyalty – content marketing drives all the growth efforts for your brand. When done effectively, it can help you:

  • Build positive brand awareness
  • Make your audience stick around for longer
  • Get better traction on social media
  • Gain more trust of your audience than ever
  • Generate qualified leads
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Boost business visibility with SEO
  • Position your brand as an authority
  • Cultivate loyal brand fans

While content marketing is a broad role with numerous areas of expertise involved, it’s vital to thoroughly understand your company’s current marketing goals and the related requirements. In this blog, we will dive deep into the step-by-step approach to hiring a Content Marketer.

What is The Role of a Content Marketer?

A Content Marketer must be deeply passionate about telling your brand’s story to the world. The objective is to educate and nurture the target audience to establish brand authority using thought-leadership and drive more people to buy from you.

As a candidate is expected to be a mediator between the brand and the target audience, they are primarily responsible for planning, creating, and sharing valuable content to grow their company’s awareness and engagement to bring more business.

To be more specific, the role of a Content Marketer requires a perfect blend of creativity and attention to detail in an individual. It’s a balancing role, as they need to ensure creating content that resonates and strengthens business relationships, using strategies that position your business as authentic and problem-solving.

Take a look at the core responsibilities of a Content Marketer that most businesses expect them to take over:

  • Research and Competitor Analysis: The first and foremost step to creating a content marketing strategy is effective initial research. It not only helps a Content Marketer understand the nuances of the industry through competitor analysis but also study and understand the target audience thoroughly.
  • Building Content Marketing Plans: Once the competitor research and target audience analysis is done, a Content Marketer needs to work on the different plans for all the business objectives, targeted channels, segments of the audience, and the bigger marketing strategy. A content marketing plan typically consists of:
  • Specific goals along with a pre-decided timeline
  • Various channels to be targeted for content distribution
  • Types of content to be created
  • Budget for the entire staff, outsourced services, and paid promotion (Collabs and Ads)
  • Creating Editorial Calendar: Creating, managing, and maintaining a content calendar is one of the most crucial responsibilities of a Content Marketer. It is a centralized visual document that enables effective collaboration among the marketing team and helps Content Marketers ensure on-time production and delivery.
  • Content Creation: Once the strategy and calendar have been approved by relevant stakeholders, Content Marketers need to do the on-ground work. This task usually depends on the scale of your company and content marketing strategy. Suppose an organization already has a set of writers, then the Content Marketer doesn’t need to create content by themselves.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Producing quality content that educates your target audience and resonates with them, isn’t enough. You need to optimize your content creation to make it search engine-friendly. While most companies need a dedicated SEO specialist for keyword research and planning, Content Marketers need to closely collaborate with them and should be well-versed in the basics of SEO.

While the practices discussed above are primary responsibilities of a Content Marketer, they also need to be proactive with

  • Content editing and ensuring adherence to a certain style guide    
  • Continous publishing and distributing content
  • Measuring and analyzing performance

How to Hire a Content Marketer: Step-By-Step?

Content marketing has become the key to driving growth for businesses. Unlike a few years ago, it’s not possible now to get away with a one-person team for content marketing. You need deeply trained individuals for specialist roles.

Let’s now dive into the step-by-step approach of hiring a Content Marketer. But before you even source your first candidate, you should have a clear expectation of the skillset and experience to look out for top content marketing candidates.

Top Must-Have Skills in a Content Marketer

Apart from having relevant industry experience, a good Content Marketer must possess the following skills.

  1. Excellent Writing Skills

A Content Marketer’s prior skillset should be writing excellent attention-grabbing content. From long-form blog posts to website copy, ad copies, social media content, video scripts, emails, newsletters, e-books, whitepapers, and more – a Content Marketer should be able to adapt to the business’s specific requirements and create quality content.

  1. Audience Research

Identifying user behavior is vital for framing the story in the right direction. So a Content Marketer must know how to identify and analyze the needs and pain points to develop a buyer persona. User research can be performed through social listening, relevant communities, in-person calls with customers, analyzing sales call recordings, and more.

  1. Keyword Research

Creating valuable thought-leadership content isn’t enough. Researching the right set of keywords is an essential skill to further educate your target audience on the Whys, Hows and Whats of your business, and have your website rank on Google.

  1. Data-oriented Content

Content that’s not backed by relevant data points does not build enough trust. Experienced content marketing professionals would always prefer data over hollow claims. No doubt that only data doesn’t help a content piece succeed, but it’s essential..

  1. Project Management, Planning, and Publishing –

A Content Marketer is also expected to break down and analyze the pain points to turn keyword research into content ideas. So a professional must be able to identify and solve content gaps.

Further, they must know how to create a content calendar, decide the different types of content, and choose relevant platforms to publish and schedule marketing campaigns.

  1. Content Promotion

Creating a valuable content piece, for example - an ebook, isn’t enough. Your content marketing team needs to promote it proactively for bringing enough attention and engagement.

  1. Performance Analysis

Setting up goals and plans is one thing, but continuously executing, measuring, and analyzing content performance is another. A Content Marketer should always be monitoring key performance parameters to figure out the upcoming plans with the necessary updates required.

Not to forget - stakeholders and marketing heads need the performance reports regularly. So Content Marketers must be able to collect and comprehend all the data to make it worth presenting.

Step 1: Create a Candidate Persona

Let’s sort out the priorities first, and decide the type of content marketing candidates you want to recruit. From exceptional research skills to storytelling, communication skills, relationship building, audience engagement, and more capabilities must be comprehensively considered. Identify and break down the skill requirements for Content Marketers:

  • What are the educational qualification criteria for the role?
  • How many years and what type of work experience do you want in candidates?
  • What are the specific skill sets you’re looking for?
  • Which industry experience would you primarily prefer?
  • Are there any tools your candidates should be hands-on with?
  • What are some personality traits that will fit your company?
  • Where do they look for a new job?
  • What are their career and life goals?

Forming a candidate persona by answering all these questions would ensure you are not shooting in the dark while sourcing candidates. Further, it helps you determine the traits of the ideal candidate, and plan your sourcing and recruitment strategy further.

Step 2: Document the Role Requirements and Decide on Your Recruiting Process

Next step is determining your role requirements suiting primarily to organizational needs and business goals. A content marketing professional is expected to own the entire content strategy, creation, and distribution. But what about your business’s unique requirements?

You might need someone comfortable with frequently creating long-form content pieces like blogs, ebooks, or whitepapers, or creating engaging video content based on your industry trends.

Talk to various relevant stakeholders for seeking the complete detailed company requirements for the role.

Before you enter the recruitment funnel, outline your talent acquisition process. Identify various strategies, channels, and other informational insights you would need – and maintain a collaborative document.

As you update the tactics and tweak your recruitment process for meeting hiring requirements optimally – keep your document up to date.

Step 3: Prepare a Content Marketing Job Description

Once you have finalized the role requirements with respect to your current content marketing goals and team, you can start sourcing candidates. Preparing the job description is the first task you’ll need to do.

Here are the necessary components you must have in your job description:

  • Job Title: The position you’re looking to fill. For example - Content Marketing Specialist or Content Marketing Manager.
  • Roles & Responsibilities: An outline of the candidate’s day-to-day activities. From ideation to implementation and the impact on the organization, everything should be covered.  
  • Skill Requirements: Skills and abilities a candidate must have to perform the job successfully.
  • Perks and Benefits: The compensation details, perks of the job, and any other benefits.
  • About the Company: Why should a candidate consider working with your company?

Content Marketer Job Description Template


The job of a Content Marketer is to perform competitor research, create user persona, and write plagiarism-free content for blog articles, social media, and the company website. They need to stay updated on the latest SEO techniques.


  • Develop, write and deliver persuasive copy for the website, email marketing campaigns, sales collateral, videos, and blogs
  • Build and manage an editorial calendar; coordinate with other content crafters to ensure standards
  • Measure impact and perform analysis to improve KPIs
  • Include and optimize all content for SEO
  • Contribute to the localization of processes and content to ensure consistency across regions
  • Review and implement process changes to drive operational excellence


  • Proven content marketing, copywriting, or SEO experience
  • Working knowledge of content management systems like WordPress
  • A well-maintained portfolio of published articles, blogs, copy, etc
  • Proven experience of working under pressure to deliver high quality output in a short span of time
  • Proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications, Google Suite
  • Fluency in English or any other required language

Soft Skills

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • The ability to handle multiple projects concurrently
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task projects and deliverables

Step 4: Source Candidates

Once you have the tailored job description in hand, it’s now time to do the groundwork and source candidates. Create an attractive job post to promote your job across job boards and social channels.

  • Begin with what to expect from the role at your company?
  • Why should candidates apply for the position?
  • Highlight the growth opportunities
  • State the company vision and mission
  • Briefly describe the recruitment process

Prepare an impactful job post and also execute paid job ad campaigns if required. The next step would be promoting your jobs on various job boards and hiring platforms. You can leverage the following platforms for hiring Content Marketers:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Instahyre
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Monster
  • GlassDoor
  • CareerBuilder

Not to forget - almost 3/4th of the workforce includes passive candidates, so you cannot miss out on passive talent sourcing as well. Reach out to qualified candidates on communities, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook to offer them suitable opportunities.

Step 5: Evaluate Candidates and Interview Shortlisted Ones

Once you have filtered candidates based on their experience and skills listed on their profile, it’s time to evaluate them deeply. Ask them to create a content strategy for your website, along with a value-adding content piece like a small blog. The topic of the article must fall within the scope of the strategy.

Interview the candidates whose profiles got shortlisted. Keep in mind the parameters covering skills, relevant experience, and personality traits of candidates.

Step 5: Make the Hire

Reach out to selected Content Marketers and communicate about the compensation.

Further, extend your offer letter to all the candidates who have been selected. In the case of passive sourcing, extend to only those who were aligned with you on the compensation and are willing to move forward.

Ensure having a deadline for the joining date and mention the necessary documents required by your recruiting team.

  • Get the required documents and set up the offer agreements with candidates
  • Organize an orientation session for the onboarded candidates
  • Introduce them to the entire team and the marketing teams they will be working with
  • Guide the new candidates about your company management tools and communication channels
  • Provide candidates with forms for benefits and perks like Health Insurance.

Supercharge Your Hiring for Content Marketer with Nurturebox

Inbound candidate sourcing doesn’t work effectively anymore. Do you also find challenges in closing quality candidates through job posts even after spending on ads?

Don’t worry, passive candidate sourcing can be an optimal solution for hiring top content marketing candidates.

Nurturebox is a one-stop talent sourcing and engagement platform which is powered by automation. Here’s how you can source product managers from LinkedIn using Nurturebox:

  • Install the Nurturebox Chrome plugin and sign up.
  • On your LinkedIn profile, start sourcing Content Marketers with boolean searches stating the required experience from targeted locations and including other criteria
  • Add the qualified candidates to your sourcing campaign pipeline with just a click
  • Automate the candidate engagement through email, Whatsapp and LinkedIn direct messages for reaching out and nurturing candidates at scale.

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