John Assunto, President, The Hudson Group Inc

John Assunto is a Managing Partner at Worldbridge Partners, President, CEO, and Founder of the Education Division at the Hudson Group. He is responsible for building an executive search team catering to recruiting in the EdTech, Online Education, workforce development, non-profit and education sectors. His career spans over 35 years in both higher and corporate education, workforce development in sales, marketing, and executive roles. His team operates within a vast network of Colleges and Universities, Venture Capital/Private Equity, Private Education, and Pre-K-12 EDU with an interest in sourcing top talent to manage their educational interests.  John has personally been responsible for achieving the highest number of placements recorded from an individual in the firm’s history. Each year, he has been awarded outstanding achievement recognition from 2 different major search consulting organizations and ranked in the top 1% with Management Recruiters International – The World’s Largest Executive Search Firm. He is an active member of several associations and a participant at industry trade shows and conferences as well as several state education associations.


Your Talent Acquisition should not be one size fits all. This article will discuss what a “passive candidate” means, why you should be focusing on this particular group, and exactly how you can start targeting these individuals. This is the key to filling those difficult positions.

Passive Talent May Be the Answer to Your Stubborn Vacancy

Regardless of the industry, it seems like there are always extremely challenging positions that are next to impossible to fill. Whether the requisition has been open for a very long period, and you cannot seem to find strong candidates, or perhaps it is one of those roles that tend to have high turnover. Either way, you seem to have exhausted all of your traditional talent acquisition avenues. This is where you get strategic.

Why you should target passive candidates

Passive candidates are often overlooked. You might be thinking, “What is the point of targeting individuals who are not even looking for a new job?” Remember, just because someone is not currently looking does not mean they could not be swayed. These are some reasons why you should consider switching your focus to passive candidates:

  • Recruiting for your industry is highly competitive, and the standard recruiting pools could be running dry or drying up all of your resources.
  • These individuals do not need to take a job (they already have one), so they are more likely to have relevant skills and make a move only if they feel like are a stronger fit.
  • This Talent Acquisition allows you to be specific about the type of experience or skills you are looking for, which can help grow and strengthen your team.

Venues to explore for passive talent

These candidates are not actively looking for a new position (which includes an estimated 78% of the global workforce), so you will not necessarily find them by posting on the regular job boards. Here are some of the best venues to reach passive talent:

  • Referrals: This is one of the best recruitment venues, period. Talk to your star employees; chances are they know someone with a similar set of skills and work ethics that could be interested in a new opportunity. Offer a referral bonus as an extra incentive.
  • Social Media: LinkedIn and Facebook are both effective ways to source passive talent. You can use filters to find people with the right work experience and send direct messages on LinkedIn. You can also post job openings in relevant social interest groups on Facebook.
  • Recruiters: Tapping a professional to help expand your job search is always a good idea. Professional recruiters typically have large recruiting networks and contacts that can significantly extend your reach.

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