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recruiting Passive Candidates

How to Make Yourself Irresistible to Passive Candidates

June 16, 2022

Trying to grab the attention of passive candidates can feel like talking to a brick wall - a highly skilled and sought-after brick wall. Recent reports suggest over 37% of US workers are passive candidates. So, how do you make sure you are properly engaging this sizable section of the workforce?

We know passive candidates are currently employed but could potentially be interested in new opportunities. Still, we also understand that some of these candidates are the most highly sought after in their fields.

If passive candidates are interested and happen to be an excellent fit for a role you have in mind, they could quickly become some of your most successful matches. That being said: the risk is just as high as the reward.

For passive candidates, it’s unbelievably easy to trash an inquiry or ignore a LinkedIn message. They didn’t ask anyone to reach out to them. However, finding a person who is seeking a change in position and providing them with the opportunity to do just that is powerful.

Below we will go through some tactics you can employ to ensure passive candidates don’t pass over you. Keep reading to get the full rundown.

Get the full rundown on how to ensure #PassiveCandidates don’t pass on you with the valuable tips outlined in our blog:Click to Tweet

Switching Gears from Active to Passive

As their names may suggest, recruiting active and passive candidates are entirely different processes. The landmark of the difference is that active candidates are actively (get it?) seeking new employment opportunities and are available immediately.

As we’ve established, passive candidates don’t have the same immediate availability and public interest in changing roles. Just because passive candidates haven’t announced their discomfort in their current position doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for new opportunities. The key is determining potential pain points of passive candidates and trying to solve for them with a role you think they’d fit well.

With these differences in mind, what changes in your approach for active versus passive candidates? Let’s look at some key differences.

When sourcing active candidates, you’ll want to:

  • Act quickly. 44% of active candidates hear from employers within a couple of weeks of applying
  • Spread out your strategy. Leverage many different platforms, not just the first two job posting sites you think of. Expand your reach by using social media and search engines.
  • Position yourself as a recruiter. Follow up accordingly by outlining the benefits you can bring to the table and how you would assist in their career search.
  • Follow up often, but not incessantly. 89% of talent say being contacted by their recruiter can make them accept a job offer faster.

Bonus Material: Check out our Candidate Sourcing Stratgies Checklist for even more actionable tips!

When sourcing passive candidates, you’ll want to:

  • Research your target audience. Get familiar with the roles you’re recruiting for and who potential passive candidates are, and where you can likely find them.
  • Position yourself as a career tool. It’s important to emphasize that while you are a recruiter, that’s not all you are. For passive candidates, you are also a career partner and an invaluable resource.
  • Invest in learning about the candidate’s career and life goals. Humanize the process by not just focusing on a passive candidate in one light. By seeing a holistic view of their goals and interests, you better understand how to place them.
  • Stand out with personalized messaging. Showcase your personality and the values of the organization you work for with strong, appropriate, but memorable outreach strategies.

What Makes Passive Candidates “Swipe Left”

Armed with knowing some basic differences between active and passive candidates, we can more efficiently evaluate exactly what passive candidates respond best to. That starts with learning what they don’t want to hear.

Bonus Material - Listen to our podcast to get expert insights into Maintaining a Positive, Quality Candidate Experience!

Here are some commonly used tactics that rub candidates the wrong way:

  • Being too vague in messaging. Who knows who is a bot these days, anyway.
  • Beating around the bush. Let the candidate know the hiring process and the anticipated timeline.
  • Requiring too many steps or interviews. An onslaught of assessments, interviews, and other benchmarks can be highly unattractive to talent who wasn’t seeking to work with you anyway.
  • Letting time get away from you. Stay focused on your candidates; an untimely response (or lack of one) could make you lose out on some very powerful talent.

Steer away from these recruiting blunders, and you will have a higher chance of connecting with and truly engaging with passive candidates. Even if this role may not work out for them, they can have you as a reference when searching for future opportunities.

Capturing Passive Candidates’ Attention

Fine, fine. Now we know what NOT to do. Are there any ways to connect with passive candidates in a way they’d actually appreciate? Why, yes, we’re glad you asked!

We know sourcing passive candidates is a delicate process, but at the end of the day, these candidates are people who want the best in their careers.

Sourcing #PassiveCandidates comes with its own challenges, but our blog outlines some foolproof ways you can succinctly gain their attention and (hopefully) even place them in a role! Check it out:Click to Tweet

You, as a recruiter, have an opportunity to fulfill your role and accelerate their career. Let’s look at some proven ways passive candidates are likely to positively respond to:

  • Personalized messaging. Think about it, how often do you respond to messages you can clearly identify as mass messaging? A personalized touch like including commonalities or similar interests can always take your outreach to the next level.
  • Quick responses. Stay on top of the ball, be sure to reply ASAP to any questions, and always be ready to provide the next steps.
  • Details, details, details. Include as much information as possible to ease any confusion and pre-answer questions before they’re even sent. Even one discrepancy could be reason enough to not respond to you, make sure you give everything you can up front to alleviate this.
  • Be persistent, not insistent. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. There’s a difference between professionally following up and spam. Message passive candidates at a respectable rate letting them know you still have them on your docket but not too much to scare them off.
  • Keep them in mind for future opportunities. Candidates can easily tell if you’re eyeing them for one specific position or potentially keeping them in your unofficial Recruiter Rolodex for roles down the road.

Passive candidate sourcing can seem a bit more technically nuanced than active candidate sourcing. But, knowing what passive candidates traditionally respond well to and other successful techniques, you can rest assured that your strategy is one that passive candidates will not want to pass on.

IQTalent Partners helps to take the strain off your internal hiring team by helping you source and engage with top talent. As an on-demand recruiting partner, we add instant value to your outreach and hiring efforts with our industry expertise and adaptable talent acquisition model. Countless organizations across more than a dozen industries have put our sourcers to use, finding top-quality talent in a fraction of the time and cost. 

To learn more about the IQTalent Partners model, or to see how we can help you transform your candidate outreach and hiring processes, reach out to our team of experts today

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