Today’s passive candidate journey is anything but a straight line that quickly leads to a transactional exchange. It’s winding and complicated, but offers so much potential for employers ready to reach more candidates and expand their talent pool. Knowing what the path looks like is essential to making an impact on your future employees, so here we’re breaking down the six steps of the passive candidate journey.

In part one we explored the first two steps – starting out as unaware, oblivious and employed, and moving to the aware but disconnected stage – and now we’ll look at how a passive candidate goes from there to being ready to make a decision.

Step 3: Budding interest

After a passive candidate has had time to warm up to the idea they were presented with, they start to see it as a potential option and interest grows. How this stage is handled depends entirely on the candidate, but some will simply think about it while others will do online research, talk to friends and family or ask their recruiter questions. These actions aren’t necessarily to uncover whether or not this is a good opportunity (that will come next) but is more of a sign of their growing interest.

Step 4: Weighing options and predicting outcomes

The idea has been introduced to the passive candidate, they’ve given the issue space in their mind rather than dismissing it, they’re talking and thinking about it, and now they’re ready to consider whether or not it’s something they want to pursue. In this stage, the passive candidate is weighing what they know about the new opportunity with what they know about their current employment, and it’s possible that they may start thinking about other employers as well. After all, they’ve warmed up to the idea of making a switch, but who’s to say this one is the right one? The wheels are turning in their head to predict what this new workplace will be like immediately after starting, a year or so from now, and much further down the road in their career. We all want something that’s good for us in the long and short term, and passive candidates are definitely evaluating that.

 Step 5: One foot in, one foot out

If your candidate is still on the path of potential employment at this point, there’s a good chance they’re ready to take the plunge, but it’s important to remember that a passive candidate’s decision making time will likely be longer than an active candidate’s. In this phase, it’s vital to foster a relationship with the candidate, work to create a tie between them and the company, which can often be accomplished through a talent network, and create a familiarity. All these things add up to a candidate that feels welcome before they ever walk through the door, knows someone at the company, which easies uncertainty, and has an emotional connection to the organization. When it comes time to really make a decision, those considerations hold a lot of weight and make the answer more likely to be a yes.

Step 6: On solid ground and ready to make a decision

Despite how long it takes or what brought them here, decisions must eventually be made, making this the final step in the candidate journey. In a perfect recruiting world, an offer extended would always equal a yes, but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, there’s a greater chance of this occurring with passive candidates who may have continued on the path unsure of what their answer would be than with an active candidate who sought you out. That’s what makes the first five stages of the journey so important. However, passive candidates are still worth pursuing and many do bring a resounding yes to this stage. Either way, what’s important is that both parties feel sure of their decision at this point, whatever that decision may be.

Passive candidate recruiting presents a great opportunity for employers this year. Ready to get started recruiting passive candidates? Download the new, free passive candidate recruiting e-book from Talent Objects to learn about the three keys to recruiting this group.