How to Successfully Recruit a Passive Candidate

A passive candidate is someone who is not actively looking for a new job and who is content in their current position. You may be asking yourself why you would seek to hire someone who doesn’t want to leave their current role – well, if you think about it, passive candidates are more likely to have the skills and experience you are looking for. Particularly for executive-level roles where the skillset you need is hard to find, it’s important to consider passive candidates because they have kept their position specifically because they are good at it.

Experienced executive recruiters say that it’s best to begin your passive candidate search right away, as it’s typically a longer process than your standard recruitment. Here are some tactics you can use to hire a passive candidate.

  1. Start Building a Relationship Early

As already mentioned, building a relationship with a passive candidate usually takes longer than that of a standard candidate. The first reason being that since a passive candidate hasn’t come out and applied for the position, you will have to go out there and find them. They also won’t be marked as open to recruitment on LinkedIn or other job searching platforms.

The second reason is that because these passive candidates aren’t looking for new work they’ll be less receptive to you approaching them.

  1. Use Your Network

Trying to approach a passive candidate cold can be near impossible – turn to your network, get referrals, and use common connections in order to begin a conversation. Approaching a passive candidate via a common connection will add credibility to your efforts and they’ll be more receptive to speaking with you. From there, you can build up a relationship with them.

  1. Personalize Your Message

Once you finally get in touch with your passive candidate don’t just immediately throw a pitch their way. Start by mentioning your mutual connection and talk about the skills and experience that you noticed from places like their LinkedIn profile. The key is to make the conversation feel personal and like you are sincerely interested in their skills and not just throwing a generic pitch their way.

  1. Be Sure to Follow Up

A common mistake recruiters make with passive candidates is thinking that just because they don’t reply right away that they’re not interested. Since these candidates are employed they are usually busy and also not as eager to reply to you right away. Make an attempt to reach out again after a few days and you might be surprised to find that they actually reply that time.

Remember that your interest despite them being hired will be flattering to a passive candidate, and the extra time and effort you put into recruiting them will be appreciated.

And it will be well worth it to fill those difficult positions like executive level ones where the pressure is high and responsibility is great. So if you’re having trouble finding someone who is a good fit out of your active candidates, don’t forget to reach out to the ones that aren’t actually looking.

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