Candidate Experience Passive Candidates

Developing Relationships with Passive Candidates

June 9, 2022

In the landscape of passive candidates, standing out is the name of the game. As their name may suggest, passive candidates aren’t actively searching for new career opportunities. However, they are often some of the most qualified candidates for positions you’re seeking to fill.

Instead of being another headshot in their InMail or a vague subject line destined to be buried in their inbox, you need to make a direct connection to passive candidates to make the conversations more humanized.

It’s easy for passive candidates to feel as if they are inundated with pitch after pitch attempting to sway them from their current position. While this isn’t necessarily the core intention of recruiters, it is a common misconception that recruiters need to actively work against. You’re not a “poacher”; you’re someone with the passive candidates’ best interest in mind offering a better fit.

Learn how to engage #PassiveCandidates with authenticity and create lasting relationships that serve to boost both your career and theirs in our latest blog via @IQTalent:Click to Tweet

Take a look at some of our proven strategies to reach out to passive candidates and make a genuine human connection.

Plan Your Outreach Strategy

First things first, you’re not going to want to go into a passive candidate’s DM’s unprepared. If your initial message isn't perfectly curated for your intended target, the conversation may be over before it begins. Don’t let the door close on you before you even make a pitch.

There are also ideal times to reach out to candidates to keep in mind. While it’s common sense to steer away from messaging a passive candidate on Instagram at 11 PM on a Friday, there is research backing up the dates and times you should be leaning toward.

Leverage Authenticity and Personality

In case you need a reminder, you are a person before you are a recruiter. The same goes for passive candidates. Truthfully, passive candidates hardly see themselves as passive candidates until the right opportunity comes along. 

Given the prevalence of cold messaging, many passive candidates may have their guards up when strangers — especially recruiters — approach them about their careers. This isn’t a personal affront to you. It’s simply a way for passive candidates to make it through the day while keeping their sanity intact.

However, the best-proven plan to bypass this “wall” is to connect on a human level with passive candidates. There’s something very attractive about a recruiter who shows interest in the candidate as a whole, not just how they can be placed most beneficially.

An appropriate, topical joke or anecdote to open the channel of communications can garner a lot of attention or, at the very least, make the passive candidate take note to respond. Differentiate yourself from the barrage of “Have you heard of (insert company name here)?” and “Your future career is here!” subject lines.

Add a personal touch that either highlights your personality or exemplifies the company's culture you are representing. With just a little extra effort, you can ensure your outreach reads as genuine, and passive candidates won’t think they are just one of a thousand candidates getting the same wide net cast out to them.

Find Commonalities

During your research of a specific passive candidate, see what you have in common! There are definitely parameters here; you don’t want to scour back into their childhood and make a connection about having similar second-grade teachers. That’s weird. You’ll want to leverage information these candidates are comfortable with you having, like information published on their LinkedIn.

Identifying commonalities between you and a #PassiveCandidate can make the difference between a placed candidate and a message left on read. 👀🤝 Check out how in our blog via @IQTalent:Click to Tweet

Here, you can see their alma mater, their previous positions, and even endorsements for their skills and talents. It’s true when they say, “it’s a small world”; you never know what similarities you can find yourself having with a passive candidate that could potentially provide a touchstone to improve your connection. 

While you can find other information via personal social media, we advise against that. You don't want to seem like you are infringing on their privacy when you’re already fighting an uphill battle for their attention. It would just be another reason for them to put you in a spam folder. 

Once you’ve pinpointed some commonalities like location, industry interests, previous educational background, or anything of the sort: use that information to build a connection!

Make A Lasting (Positive) Impression

After contacting your target passive candidate, you have control over how you are perceived as a person and recruiter. What you say matters and holds weight with passive candidates. Statements you make could easily stand out as either positive or negative. 

While it is impossible to predict how people will respond to your messaging, you can control your intent when creating these connections. If you approach your strategy with authenticity, the messaging will likely read as such.

Here are some ways to ensure you are being remembered positively: 

  • Take a “candidate first” mentality - show that you’re interested in them and not just how they fit into a specific position. 
  • Get curious about their long-term career goals and interests.
  • Frame yourself as a career partner/resource, not just a recruiter.

Approaching passive candidates can, at times, seem intimidating. But like any new person you’re conversing with, you have the power to create the communicative environment best suited for your purposes. By utilizing tools like personalization, optimized sending schedules, and a human-first approach, you can stand out among passive candidates. And ultimately, change them into active candidates and future submissions.

IQTalent Xchange is here to help you with your search for passive candidates. Our cutting-edge AI and expert researchers and sourcers are trained to find the right candidates for you, taking into account your diversity and inclusion goals. 

Gone are the days of sifting through piles of resumes and searching the corners of LinkedIn for potential hires. Instead, invest in our candidate research and pull from a ranked list of experienced passive candidates, complete with all the data you need for outreach. 

To learn more about IQTalent Xchange or to get started on your passive candidate research, reach out to our team of experts today.


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