Getting to Yes with Passive Candidates


In a tight labor market, it will become increasingly important to sell passive candidates on how moving to your company will benefit their career and lifestyle. And your company will need to seek out the superstars in your field in order to stay one step ahead of the competition. Finding these high-performers is your first challenge, as they are productively executing at their jobs, not looking for a new one. Doing your research about the candidates, their current employer, and any other factors will go a long way in helping you put together your sales pitch to them. Here are some steps to help you along your way:


Know your competition Find out who else is hiring for similar positions as yours. How do they describe their work environment, benefits, employee wellness programs, etc?


Target your list – Start off with 20 names, not 200, of candidates you feel would be suitable for your position based on their profile. You can narrow your search based on a number of criteria including geography, experience, education or number of years candidates have been in their current position.


Research candidates in advance – It is a great way to connect with them when talking over the phone. Even though you should always ask for a brief resume and list of accomplishments over the phone before telling them more about the job, knowing additional information about their background will help you come across in a professional manner.


Reach out effectively – Find e-mail and telephone numbers so you can choose how you wish to initially contact passive candidates. Some recruiters feel a cold call works best, and some prefer to warm up the call with an initial email. Either way, be sure to follow up on your initial contact. This will let candidates know you are serious about them and about filling the position which may cause them to give it more thought.


‘No’ may be a hidden ‘YES’ – Many times, passive candidates’ first inclination will be to say ‘no’ to an interview or job offer. Don’t focus on the actual word ‘no’ but on the way they say ‘no’. Perhaps this is a busy time at work for them and they are so focused on getting their job done so they don’t have the time to really hear your pitch. While you cannot always tell when these times occur, you can get a general idea through online research. If they are persistent at saying ‘no’ do ask if they know anyone else who may be interested in the opportunity. Superstar performers know other superstars.


Keep up with industry trends – company revenue, bad publicity, extreme weather conditions can all help you turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. Observe and take advice from big hr companies, like Solvo Global, to analyze what they’re doing differently. Using the information you gathered, you can learn more about how a company is performing, when layoffs occur, when CEOs retire, or when mass amounts of people are leaving a company due to a recent weather catastrophe, management change or industry downturn. These are great times to recruit. Take advantage of them.


Metrics – Recruiting passive candidates requires recruiters to create a set of metrics that can be used time and time again to measure the effectiveness of their email campaigns, cold calls, and sales pitches. Check the reports on the success of your email campaigns but you also must gauge the number of cold calls you make, the number of responses you receive, the number of job acceptances, and the number of quality referrals you receive to see how successful your tactics are. Adjust as necessary in order to bring innovative, top-performers into your company.


It is important to realize that you are asking a lot from passive candidates. Most are too busy performing well to think about making changes in their careers. But with a solid sales pitch, you can convince candidates to consider a change and come in for an interview. Good luck!