You have an opening in your company that needs to be filled and already know what you are looking for in a candidate, their skills, experience and if all things go well, you know you are eyeing a candidate who will hit the ground running.
But there is just one problem; your perfect candidate is not actively looking for a job.
So how do you reach out to them; enough to spark interest in the open role?
Why engaging passive candidates needs a different approach
If you are looking for the best talent, majority of these are passive candidates particularly for senior roles.
Engaging such a candidate is very different from how you engage one who is actively looking for a job.
You will find that active job seekers are more open to learning about opportunities in different companies. They will frequent job sites and newspaper classifieds seeking these opportunities.
They are in communication with different companies and the only thing you are affirming is why they should choose you and not that other company.
Passive candidates on the other hand are a little different.
It’s not about the job. It’s about them. They have specialized skills and experience in that role and they know it. However, they are comfortable with their current employer and the perks that come with the role and are not looking to move.
Why do you think this candidate is the perfect fit for the job enough to make you reach out to them? What is it about them that make them suitable for the open position?
How do you engage them enough to make them want to take that job?
1. Make a genuine human connection
If you want more passive candidate to start responding to your messages, then engage better and add a human touch.
We are human beings and we are wired to seek human connection. You are more inclined to respond to someone who has a connection with something you believe in than the person who just sends generic messages trying to get you to take action.
Remember this when you are interacting with passive candidates.
Do your research. And I am not talking about just a quick scan of their LinkedIn profile. Understand what makes them tick. What is it that would make them change their point of view and critically think about what you are offering?
Also explore other ways like meeting them outside their office premises where it is ‘safer’ and they can engage freely.
The secret is to personalize your messages
Rather than sending them the usual, “I have gone through your profile and I think you would be a perfect fit for a position at my company…” show them that you have done your research- that you understand them and why they wouldn’t be actively looking for a job right now and then bring out the reason as to why they should consider that open role. Sell the position to them.
How relevant is your message?
You can do all the research about the candidate bit if your message lacks relevance and does not resonate with their career goals and aspirations; best believe they will not pay any attention.
Remember the one thing that keeps this candidate awake is how they can build their career and not necessarily changing employers. And hence the relevance in your message should be why your company is the next big step for them.
2. Make a point of following up
Most of the time, contacting a passive candidate does not guarantee that they will respond to your email and it all comes down to one thing; timing!
You just caught then at the wrong time when they were too distracted to respond to your message. It doesn’t mean that it’s a no.
Emails have very short life spans for instance and the possibility of someone going back to reply to an email they saw four days ago is slim to none.
Therefore what do you do? Give then a chance to qualify their interest by adding value to each new message you send. Give then a clearer perspective on why your company might be the ideal fit for them.
3. Keep them interested for later
Not every passive candidate you speak to will be ready to move to another company.
A majority of them are happy just where they are and most common replies you will get will be “I am currently not looking for another job…” and so on.
But it doesn’t mean that you should give up. Nurture them by sharing content about your company including news, employee stories and events because these are the candidates you will need for future roles.
In the end, engaging passive candidates shouldn’t begin only when you have a position to fill. If you are looking to attract and retain top talent and make your company the employer of choice, then engaging these candidates should be the way to go rather than always relying on active job seekers, a majority of whom may not even be qualified for the roles.