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How to Engage with Passive Candidates?

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3 Steps for Engaging Passive Candidates

illustration of road with active and passive signs

It’s fair to say that every recruiter has been in a time crunch situation - the hiring market is competitive and it’s a race to fill every role. With great talent in high demand, recruiters need to think outside the box when approaching their hiring journey. In today’s market, building relationships with candidates well before they apply for a role is key to recruiting top talent.

Because passive candidates are currently employed and aren’t pursuing new opportunities, they require a long-term strategy in order to attract and recruit them. Our Toronto event delivered in partnership with Lever, which focused on how we can best engage passive candidates, uncovered some top tips for reaching these unicorns hires. Here, we’ve picked out three of our favourites and included some insights from our panel of industry pros.

1. Be authentic

Authenticity is one of the most critical factors of any successful hiring strategy in today’s competitive climate.

“Stop being salespeople and be authentic and real in building connections with real people” - Dean Delpeache - Fiix Software

Picture this...you’ve found a great potential candidate on LinkedIn, you reach out with a role but they write back that they’re not interested, and you don’t respond. This stops any further engagement and potential for a future relationship with the candidate.

Instead, reply to them, let them know you appreciate their time and keep in touch in case something changes in the future. Reach out to them to check-in from time to time, see if they’re still happy in their current role, and one day, when they’re ready to move on, you’ll already have done half the groundwork.

2. Build relationships

Building relationships with passive candidates means they are more likely to be open to working with you when they’re looking for a new role.

“Listen to their story and find out what they’re looking for long term then keep them in mind for relevant opportunities in the future.” -Yiorgos Boudouris - Jobber

Take off your recruiter hat from time to time and just listen to your candidates’ stories to really understand their needs. This empathetic relationship will ensure your candidates build trust in you and feel assured that you truly understand what they are looking for, not just right now but also in the future.

“Create the kind of base that allows a simple process for the candidate to reach out to you when they are ready.” - Yeniffer Pang-Chung - Rangle.io

3. Be open-minded

With skill shortages across many industries, it is important to engage with talent that already exists, so when they’re ready for the next move, you are top of mind.

“Be sure to look at people who don’t have the exact tech skill listed but know many others - they could still be perfect for a role that requires a little upskilling” - Sascha King - Spin Master

Even though the candidate may be happy in their current role, identify how your position could offer them more than where they are now. If there’s an opportunity for career growth or further training? Outline all the benefits the new role can offer.

Sourcing passive candidates can be a challenge, but in the highly competitive hiring market, recruiters must develop new strategies to find and engage those who aren’t actively looking for work, before they urgently need to fill a role. By focusing on being authentic, open-minded and building relationships, recruiters can ensure they’re top of mind for great talent, whatever stage in their career journey they might be at.

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