If your organisation is in the hiring mode, you must be up till your neck in resumés that you have been receiving from active candidates seeking opportunities with your company. However, do not overlook the option of recruiting passive candidates too.

You may wonder why. Here it is!

Active vs passive candidates

Sure, passive candidates already have a comfortable job and are not a safe bet when it comes to investing time and energy in recruitment. However, research shows that recruiting passive candidates can yield better ROI in the long run.

Here are some reasons why it is a good idea for your partner recruitment firm to reach out to passive candidates:

  • Passive candidates make for 75% of the workforce, and, hence, you have a vast network at your hand.
  • Passive candidates are not likely to be interviewing with other companies. So, your chances of success are already high.
  • They have more experience on the job on account of not switching, and, hence, are usually quality candidates for specialised roles.

Persuading the passive candidate

That said, it is no easy feat winning over a passive candidate. They are not entirely interested. They have a lot to consider and may need more effort than active candidates. With them, you are certainly in for the long haul. But believe us when we say that in the end, you will find it deeply satisfying bringing a passive candidate on board.

If you are wondering how to start the process of recruiting passive candidates, we have five tips for you to keep in mind:

Tip #1 – Do your research.

Before you start raving about your organisation to a passive candidate, you should have done plenty of research on them. It is not enough to know only the in-and-out of your organisation. You also need to have an idea about the candidate’s current job and workplace, and why they are in two minds about leaving it.

Most recruitment firms assume that by offering higher pay, they have the candidate in the bag. But that is a lazy approach.

Remember, you will be talking to a person who decided to stay on despite the salary they draw. So, for you to have any shot at hiring them, you need to dig deep to understand more about the candidate’s likes and dislikes, their areas of comforts and challenges.

Tip #2 – Personalise!

It’s quite likely that many recruitment agencies have approached your target candidate before. There is nothing you can say or offer that the passive candidate hasn’t already heard or seen. The only way to get past this hurdle is by personalising your approach.

A run-of-the-mill recruitment script is a strict no-no. Now, if you are at odds on how to make your pitch personal, checking the social media accounts of the candidate is a good place to begin. Of course, if you share a mutual connection or even interest, you are already off to a great start!

Tip #3 – Overselling is a mistake.

Keep it light and friendly when you are recruiting passive candidates. Because no matter how great your proposition is, they will not do a 180-degree turn and switch their jobs only because of what you said. So, any efforts in overselling it will be a waste.

Instead, listen to what the candidate has to say. Understand where they’re coming from. It is ok if you don’t have an opportunity for them now. If you are gentle in your approach, they will mull over it and perhaps, another day, reestablish contact with you. If you push, they will flush you out of their minds.

Remember, you can only tip the scales in your favour, and nothing more.

Tip #4 – Underselling, another mistake.

There is no easy way to put it – it’s a fine line to toe when you approach a passive candidate. You do not want your interaction to be a forgettable one, but it cannot be a sales pitch.

You need to make sure that the hiring manager or you leave an impression in the mind of the candidate, by being insightful in your hiring process. And the one way to ensure this is to get into the specifics.

Talk about certain aspects of the job that previous candidates have enjoyed – the culture, the processes, the anecdotes. Or even how the organisation addressed valid concerns. Make it authentic by sharing blog posts or videos from your website and social media pages with the candidate.

Basically, you need to give them something they do not already have.

Tip #5 – Put in the time.

In other words, don’t give up easily when hiring a passive candidate.

Be patient if they are not responsive. Follow up with them a few times. Passive candidates like to know they have options; they just don’t want it to be thrust upon them. So, remind them of these options regularly.

One effective method is to initiate contact via phone, email or social media. Then, send them the job posting (again, a personalised message works wonders). Then, shoot a reminder email.

After all these efforts, if the candidate does not respond, then wish them luck in their future endeavours and perhaps steer them to your company’s online presence, so that they can follow the pages and learn of the future opportunities.

However, if the candidate shows an interest in your company, it is time to accelerate. Set up a meeting immediately before they start second-guessing the offer. Be flexible around the candidate’s timelines.

No wasted effort.

In recruiting passive candidates, the rejection rates are often higher. However, the effort you put in the process is still worthwhile. For one, recruiting passive candidates improves your own skills and gives you plenty of room to learn about the company, the people and the process. Secondly, you have built the right perception of your organisation in a candidate’s mind. Even if the passive candidate is not interested today, they may want to revisit your offer another day. Moreover, if the offer genuinely does not match their interest, the candidate can refer the opportunity to other prospects in their circle.

With passive candidates, the fruits of your action are not immediate, but they do come.

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Shalini L

One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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