How to attract the 30% of workers that are ‘open to opportunities’ Recruiter Advice - Optimise Job Adverts - Attract Talent - Passive Candidates

A new survey from shows that over a third (36%) of UK adults are currently looking for a job. And, while they’re not actively looking for a new role, a further three in 10 (30%) say they are open to opportunities.


With almost 700,000 more people across the UK out of employment compared to pre-pandemic*, potential candidate pools remain vast. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an employers’ market for all businesses. If your ideal candidate is one of the 30% ‘open to opportunities’, but not actively job seeking, how can you reach them?


Make your total compensation competitive – and advertise this


Job adverts that include a salary receive 43% more applications than those that don’t, according to an analysis of jobs adverts on through 2020. If you are happy to hear from candidates that are targeting a base salary outside of your desired salary range, be sure to communicate this to reach as wide a pool as possible.


Base salary, however, isn’t the only element that candidates will want to be aware of before applying. Especially if you’re not in a position to offer a highly competitive salary, it’s important to highlight what pension contribution you offer, any stock options, bonuses, commission or long-term incentive plans. All of these contribute to the potential total compensation on offer and will appeal to different candidates in different ways. 


Further to this point, always call out your most prized employee benefits in job adverts too. Core benefits such as parental leave and health insurance, through to flexible benefits such as, cycle-to-work schemes, retail discounts, gym memberships, volunteering days and so on may be the deciding factor between an ‘open to opportunities’ candidate hitting apply or not.


Focus on your employer branding


There is a fast growing focus on a business’ mission, culture and values. Individuals are drawn towards brands that demonstrate clear and consistent values, as well as a commitment to corporate responsibility and employee wellbeing. Ensuring that key elements of your employer brand are communicated at every touchpoint possible means it’s more likely that a passive jobseeker – one of the 30% ‘open to opportunities’ – will sit up and take notice if they see you’re recruiting.


As well as promoting your employer brand through channels like social media, traditional media, blogs and online reviews, consider how you can bring your brand to life on the channels that jobseekers apply to jobs on. On average, a business with a company profile on receives over 230% more applications than a business without a profile**. This trend has accelerated within the last year (a year ago, the difference was 143% more applicants for adverts with company profiles than without), reinforcing the increasing importance of employer branding.


Build and communicate your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)


Your EVP is your USP for both attracting and retaining candidates – and should form a significant part of your employer brand (see above). 


Your EVP encompasses everything that makes you a great, and a unique, place to work. It should align closely with the values of your company and can be crucial when it comes to competing against offers that a candidate might receive from other businesses.

As for what makes up your EVP, a variety of factors come into play. Your EVP describes what you offer and what your company culture means to those that work at your business.


Understanding your current employees’ perception of your business plays a big role in figuring out what your EVP is and, consequently, how you can promote a positive perception of your company to passive candidates. This is why organisations often conduct internal surveys to answer questions such as:

– What do employees enjoy most about working here?
– What do employees think is unique about our business?
– What do they value most about our  company?
– What about our company inspires our employees?
– What are the reasons why they stay (and leave)?


Getting answers to these will inform you about what current aspects of your EVP might attract prospective candidates, alongside giving your workforce chances to raise important issues, which can be turned into opportunities for you to better align working practices with the values and strategic vision you have as an employer.


Pay attention to the detail in your job adverts

The way you write, structure and format your job descriptions can either play as a massive contributor or a crux to your recruiting success. From simple mistakes like typos, to more problematic content like language with gender bias, candidates are quick to dismiss adverts which appear either unpolished or which feel unobtainable to them. 


When it comes to format, simple is always effective. We analysed all job adverts posted on in 2020 and found that, on average, adverts with job descriptions which include formatting (e.g. font in bold, italic, underlined, the use of bullet points) received 15% more applications than adverts without any formatting.


When it comes to language and phrasing, it is crucial to make the wording in adverts balanced and accessible to all demographics. Whether it’s an unbalanced amount of masculine (leader, competitive, confident) or feminine terms (compassionate, dependable, supportive), or naively miswording the required language candidates must speak (i.e. asking for a ‘French designer’ instead of ‘French speaking designer), poor wording will run the risk of not just putting off an ideal candidate, but unintentionally discriminating against them. To learn more about this, read our tips for avoiding discrimination in job adverts.


Proactively call out flexible working


Dynamic working has come into everyone’s lives as a necessity since lockdown measures in the UK began in March 2020 and it shows no signs of reverting back to the traditional office-based 9-5 when normality resumes.


Candidates not only want, but also now expect, an element of flexibility in their working routine. In a recent survey*** by, over half (51%) of jobseekers said they want to work from home for part of the week.


Whether you’re offering hybrid working, with a balance of at-home and in-office days, or flexible hours to give workers the ability to choose their daily schedules, it’s very important to call this out in your job adverts.



*ONS Labour Market Overview, 23rd March 2021
**Job adverts posted on in February 2021
***Survey conducted among jobseekers on between 21st November – 7th December 2020