Skip to content

How do I approach passive candidates?

Recruitment Advice

As the applicant market continues to tighten, becoming savvy with your recruitment strategy is essential if you are to hire the best talent for your business.  Surveys report that 70-80% of people are open to opportunities but the vast majority of them are not applying for jobs.  We call these “passive candidates”.

Sites like LinkedIn, Reed, Total Jobs and Indeed have made searching for passive candidates more accessible than ever before, and recruiters have been approaching candidates like this, for years.

You may be well versed at approaching candidates who have applied for your job from an advert, but if you are approaching candidates who know nothing about you, your company or the job role, is slightly different and Flat Fee Recruiter has put a few tips together to get you started.

1. Use your employer status 

Most candidates are used to recruiters ringing them with “I have the perfect job for you” but usually the recruiter won’t tell them anything more until they have been “interviewed”.  Use your employer status to your advantage, and really make yourself stand out by being open and honest from the start.  Explain who you are and why you are calling them.

2. Don’t waste your time

If a candidate doesn’t look quite right, don’t bother.  It is highly unlikely that you are going to get a candidate to travel across a city or take a pay cut to move to your business (even if you have the most amazing culture).

3. Be considerate of their time & situation 

Emails before phone calls work well, but if you do phone them on the fly, be aware that they may be at work and may not be able to talk.  Always check that they are free to talk and find an appropriate time where you can have an open and easy conversation.  This is usually outside of working hours, or leave your details for them to call you back.  Always leave a message should you get through to an answer phone.

4. Do your research 

If you are approaching a candidate, then at least try to look like you know what you are talking about.  Refer to the CV or their social / LinkedIn profile and build a depth to your conversation, rather than quizzing them on what you already know.  Asking someone to repeat what you should already know is a huge turn off with the passive audience, after all, you are phoning them because you think they are a good fit – WHY?

5. Don’t sell 

You want to ensure that the candidate has a positive impression of the job and your company.   But, there is a fine line between a sales pitch and showing them an insight into the job and what this could mean for their career.  Try to match up what they want, establish what would interest them to move at the earliest opportunity and align this with what you can offer.  Be realistic and honest.

6. Don’t take “No” for an answer

Just because a candidate doesn’t respond to your email or says “not interested” immediately, it doesn’t mean that they are not worth pursuing.  Your email may have got caught in spam or it could be extremely difficult to talk.  Send a quick message asking if they have had time to consider your initial conversation and even if they are not interested, ask if they know anyone else – you never know where it could take you – people know people like themselves!

More articles …
10 Interview Questions for Interviewers

Flat Fee Applicant Tracking System (FFATS).

The Flat Fee Applicant Tracking System (FFATS) is included in all campaigns. It is an easy to use platform that allows you to screen CVs, filter candidates, organise interviews and send out important communications – all from a simple dashboard.