Five Reasons Your Passive Candidates Are Ignoring You

With a longer shelf-life and less chance of being pipped by a competing offer, passive candidates are often the apple of a recruiter’s eye.

As a product of your sourcing - depending on the quality of your sourcing - they’re also the best fit for the role in question.

How then do recruiters avoid joining the chorus of offers when engaging with the passive talent that isn’t looking for a new role?

You sent a lazy introduction

Generic in-mails and emails not only bypass the candidate on the way to the spam folder but they scupper the chance of engaging with that candidate again.

Stand out from the chorus by sending your emails from people rather than companies, with subject lines that address the candidate personally.

To see what resonates with candidates split test your subject lines and measure what receives the best open rate and click through.

Avoid using click bait like the plague and drop the hackneyed phrases of ‘reaching out’ and ‘touching base’. It might get your open rate up but it will do little for engagement.

You led with an apology

Sorry is rarely followed by good news, which is why recruiters need to avoid colouring their introductions with an apology.

If you position yourself as a nuisance trying to steal a few moments then you’re making your own bed and are going to fall-into-line with the cold callers and PPI salesman.

If you’ve done your research on the candidate then it’s in their interest and not an inconvenience.

You didn’t know what you were offering

Top talent is usually spoilt for choice and comfortable in a role, which is why you need to know that what you’re offering is going to be worth listening to.

You can’t simply throw a job description at them and hope they get back to you. Passive candidates are often comfortable in a position, so you need to lead with the strongest reason for them to engage with you.

You were selling a role, not a relationship

Perhaps they’re not looking for a job right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t lay the groundwork for when they will be.

Establishing a relationship with passive candidates means that when they turn their eyes to the job market, you’re their first port of call.

Even though the basis of your call is to see if they would be interested in the role, make it clear you’re still interested in hearing from their career goals. You can learn something from every interaction, and while they might not be the right candidate, they might know someone that is.

You didn’t include the next step

They have your contact details but they might want to dig a little deeper before they actually engage with a recruiter.

Provide a link to relevant sources, be it links to the site, press cuttings or social media accounts.

Ensure the navigation is clear and the option to respond or attach a CV is simple as every difficulty chips away at their chance of responding.


Calum is the Content Marketing Executive for Sonovate - an award winning fintech game changer that has redefined finance for the contract recruitment industry.  @Calum551

Views: 1632

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on September 26, 2017 at 3:50pm

It could also be that the only thing your company is offering to the high-quality people you're going after is the worn-out hype of your CXOs, execs, and/or Marketing


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