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How to Uncover Passive Candidates in your ATS with Automation

Posted by
Alexandra Kane
July 27, 2023

You’ve spent a lot of time and resources over the years to build up your candidate database. The only problem is, at any given time, most of your database sits dormant and your active talent turn to passive candidates. Some may have applied and never interviewed, while others simply applied and never heard back, or even interviewed but didn’t get the job.

For whatever reason they’re not active, you are sitting on a treasure trove of passive candidate data and opportunity. With employers starting to resume hiring, and being more discerning about the quality of talent than ever, truly maximizing your database of passive candidates will prove to be a huge differentiator in today’s economy. And for organizations in high-demand right now, including healthcare, construction, retail and more, automation empowers your staffing firm to keep that pesky job board spend down while simultaneously sourcing hard-to-find talent. 

And that’s worth celebrating 👏.

What is passive candidate recruiting?

A passive candidate is a person who was either sourced, or applied for a job with your company previously. Thus, passive candidate recruiting are the actions your recruiting or staffing team take to activate passive candidates into prospects in your hiring funnel.

Passive vs active candidates

As mentioned, passive candidates are those that have gone dormant and are not currently in your recruiting funnel. Active candidates are those that are currently in the recruiting process.

Automation moves passive candidates into your recruiting pipeline

I almost feel guilty recommending additional steps for staffing firms to maximize ROI and differentiate from the competition. After all, your team is maxed out and you’re squeezing every last bit of productivity from your team already! If you follow this blog, though, you’ve seen how all of us here at Sense are working to not only help you do more, but to spend less time doing it. 

Automation plays a critical role in passive candidate recruiting. Think of it as your recruiting super-sourcer, creating adding new, low-cost talent to your pipeline -- even while your recruiters are sleeping.

Specifically, automation facilitates this talent journey and helps you keep your active pipeline brimming. Here are two critical ways:

1. Automated data enrichment & ATS writebacks

Updating and enriching your talent data is helpful in several ways. For starters, it helps you paint a more complete picture of the talent in your database and make more, better placements. Next, it helps you reopen conversations with dormant talent -- and with unemployment at record-high levels, odds are that your passive candidates are looking for work. 

When you’re using Sense, the process here is simple. Our clients create campaigns that engage passive candidates based on whatever criteria is most relevant (say, last placement, date interviewed, or something to that effect that otherwise marks a candidate as “passive” or “dormant.”). Then, they create message templates to ping those candidates (we find that text works best here, with excellent response rates) asking if their contact information or demographics are up to date. 

You could go a step further and also verify information about skills, education and other professional requirements -- it’s up to you and your needs. Oftentimes, Sense users find that opening the door with these simple questions not only provides valuable information, it serves as a springboard into message workflows that actively move these candidates into the active pipeline. 👉 Check out some sample texts and workflow starters in this post. 👈

2. Automated surveys for passive candidates

It’s the reality we are all facing right now -- there are many millions of Americans out of work. So chances are, you’re going to reach a LOT of passive candidates who are actively seeking new opportunities. That being said, it’s important to know who is actively looking and where they are in their searches. Now’s the time to dig deeper and move candidates back into the pipeline. 

In other words, now that you have the “what” from automated data enrichment, it’s time to get into the “how” of specific roles, skills and opportunities. 

The data enrichment texts or messages can be used to springboard these surveys. And again, remember that these are automated. Your recruiters aren’t spending their days texting potentially thousands of candidates. Instead, they’re creating these workflows and templates once (or possibly a few variations), and then Sense or another engagement platform is doing the work in the background.

Okay, so for these automated surveys, you want to move the conversation forward while gathering still-critical data to help you fill your reqs.

Passive candidate engagement survey example

Here is some of the data you can and should collect using automated surveys of passive or dormant talent:

> Are they looking for work? 

> Has their background/experience changed?

> Have they added new skills? 

> What type of role are they looking for? 

In addition to reactivating dormant talent, there is also tremendous opportunity to gain referrals through automated recruiting surveys. Unfortunately, just about all of us know at least one person who’s looking for work right now. Not only can these surveys move passive talent into your active pipeline, they can also add new candidates to your database!

Automation turns your ATS into a self-cleaning, self-sourcing passive candidate recruiting machine

I’ve touched upon it here while walking you through how automation can move passive talent into your active pipeline, but it bears mentioning directly: automating these messages and workflows to confirm and update data amplifies the ROI of your ATS. 

Keeping costs down and productivity up is always important, but both especially important right now. Your ATS is probably the #1 tech spend in your company, so anything that can help you get more, better value from that investment is probably going to be welcomed with open arms. 

It’s especially true when you consider that the same tech investment can also help your human capital get more, better work done. 

How to engage passive candidates with automated technology

Remember, once you create the message templates and workflows, your recruiting automation platform (that’s us!) is sending out and even responding to messages from your formerly--passive and increasingly-now-active candidates. And, it’s writing that data to your ATS, updating candidate profiles without your recruiters having to lift a finger. 

Your engagement platform and ATS are working together to save you time and money. The right automation partner takes care of a great deal of passive candidate sourcing for your recruiters, freeing them to focus on one-on-one, human interactions.  

Staffing firms around the world are using Sense to facilitate that passive to active talent journey, to build stronger pipelines and relationships, automate their database enrichment and cleanup, and to not only survive in this pandemic, but to thrive

Although it’s fun to talk about and explain, it’s also very powerful to see Sense in action and understand just how our technology fits into your staffing firm and its processes. Our team of staffing industry vets and experts is here to help. Give us a holler to set up some time to talk about your firm and show you how we can help.

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