Getting a Response from Passive Candidates

by Dave Nerz

Recruitment is a sales profession. Getting clients and passive candidates to respond and take the action needed to complete a placement is not for those unwilling to commit to a recruitment process. Define YOUR PROCESS and repeat it; repeat it again and again until you get a result. If it is not working, change your recruitment process.

On rare occasions, you make a call and a candidate answers. Rare. Sometime luck shines on you and the first well-crafted email hits your target and they respond. Most are very happy just to get a response, even if the response is less than favorable. The answer is a result. Most times more is needed to get a response. Any sale begins with an introduction. Make sure you have a great one.

If you are not so lucky, consider a second email that suggests a phone call and then an actual phone call. Yes, the phone. I know it scares some of the more modern recruiters using AI, social media and robots to get their work done. Meanwhile, old school headhunters are upset passive candidates and clients would rather email than pick up the phone. Somewhere in between is the truth. But certainly use the phone as one of your tools. In addition to live conversations, the phone can be used to text. Be cautious and careful about jumping into text. Make sure to look for some acceptance from candidates and clients on the use of text. One of your emails could suggest that you will be calling or texting in the next few days. If you have a process that is different and works for you, stay the course. If not, reinvent your process or consider an update.

We are not done yet. Good recruiters have the expectation that it will take more than a few contacts to get a response from truly passive candidates. Great recruiters have even more persistence. If you have exhausted email and phone messaging without a result, it may be time to go to social media. I prefer LinkedIn InMails as the next step. It comes at people differently than your typical email. Maybe your email is blocked or going to junk mail.

No response? Before you jump back to your traditional methods, find an even more creative way to move it forward. Try a fax, send a gift card from Starbucks or a letter via post. I have used post cards and the gift card method successfully in sales situations. It is a $5 coffee card and saves you $10 of time and may lead to a $30,000 fee.

Finally, you need to go back to your preferred method, voice or email, and let the passive candidate or client know you got the message. Confirm that what you offer, propose, suggest is not a fit for them AT THIS TIME. Keep the door open while reminding them of what they are missing. Wish them well and move on…I call it the “Close the File” email. Gets about a 75% response rate if you have done all the work required to earn the right to do this close.

You might be surprised by what a good process can do for your results. If you do this with every situation you will be getting more call backs and more yes or no responses. Review metrics you have. Track email open rates and click-through rates. Maybe something as simple as A/B testing of a subject line could change your results. Stay committed to your process and be persistent.


Tools For Uncovering Passive Candidates

by Liz Carey

When you’ve exhausted your candidate pool and need to find top talent for a job req, what’s your go-to for uncovering passive candidates? On a recent NPAworldwide trading group conference call, participants discussed tools used to uncover passive candidates. Here are a few popular with our cybersecurity recruiters:

Read the rest of this entry »


Tips for Engaging Passive Candidates

by Liz Carey

HHZ5NPNR1TGood recruiters know it’s insufficient to just post a job and blast candidates on social media.  They know there’s much more to recruitment, including finding passive candidates – those that are currently employed and not necessarily looking to change jobs.

How do you approach passive candidates? It’s important to really cater your initial contact with a passive candidate to sound both professional and genuine. You want to capture the candidate’s attention, but not in a spammy way.

It’s essential to stress the perks of the role you’re working on – after all, the candidate is likely comfortable in his or her current role, so you have to “sell” the reason they should change. Sometimes, it’s not all about the money. Really customize your email or message to draw in their attention with benefits like opportunity for growth, relocation package, or a really unique or flexible work environment/culture.

When you reach out to a candidate via social media, it can seem a little impersonal, so it’s important to focus on the candidate. Do your homework – dig into their background and find out their interests, and see if you can work that into your description about what makes the role perfect for them. A simple but personalized message shows that you aren’t just sending out automated responses to everyone on LinkedIn.

Make sure you explain who you are, who you’re with/what you do, and that you’re clear about the role. Sometimes recruiters try to make emails too brief so as to not overwhelm the candidate in the initial outreach, but it’s important you include enough information and detail to be informative and transparent about the role and your mission.

Always, always, include a “call to action” of a date and time you’re available to chat – even better, use a free email scheduler like youcanbook.me to allow candidates to choose the time that works best for them.

How do you engage passive candidates? What have you found that works or doesn’t work? Do you have a specific template that you use?

image of explore membership button