7 Talent hunters share how they engage passive candidates

Engaging passive candidates requires more than just a touch of skill and tact.
What works for one candidate may not work for another. But there are strategies to help you maximise your chances of success.
We ask some of your peers to find out how they approach and recruit these types of candidates – what do you think? How do you win over passive candidates? Use the comment section to share your thoughts!

Rebecca Tepe
Recruitment Team Leader at Crown Resorts

For me it’s about preparing the ground. Taking a more strategic and planned approach which will ultimately set myself up for a stronger candidate conversion.
This involves truly understanding who your audience is and crafting a tailored message that will engage them (no blast emails). Also, understanding how they might prefer being communicated to and on what channel.
I also like to provide a few contact points for myself, as I’ve found people prefer to communicate in different ways (e.g. phone, email, text). These are all important to me because the approach is developed into an individual and personalised experience.
My final tip would be – don’t be afraid to use social media!

Chloe Field
Talent Acquisition Consultant

My formula is simple – know your role, what’s exciting about it, know who you’re looking for and never send a generic message. Source in creative places, nail your outreach and most importantly, be genuine.
Take the time to nurture and build your relationship with your candidate and try to pre-empt their next move by knowing their career interests to pursue your opportunity.

James Witcombe
Recruitment Manager at SMAART Recruitment

Let the candidate know you are “looking” at them before you communicate with them. Checkout their LinkedIn profile and connect. Like a post or two of theirs. If they accept your invitation thank them for connecting. Then leave it another 2-3 days before approaching – you don’t want to come across as desperate.
Spend time researching the candidate so you can tailor your approach specifically to them. Don’t use generic statements and show the candidate that you know a lot about them and are interested in them. The aim early on is not to get the candidate to commit but to have a coffee to learn more.
The key is always to treat the candidate with respect. Even if they are not interested now they still may be a candidate for next time.

Sheemal Visun
Talent Partner at KJR Australia

Recruiting passive candidates is all about networking and really listening to what people have to say rather than immediately boxing them into a particular opportunity. It’s important to build a good understanding of what an individual would be looking for in a role and by finding out about their future career aspirations. The more you get to know someone the more likely you are going to match them with the right role.
Don’t forget to follow up! Trusted relationships are built on shared value and open communication. It’s crucial to follow up and not leave someone hanging if you’ve promised to get back to them. If you haven’t heard back from them, don’t be afraid to reach out again, this could be just what it takes to capture their attention again.

Sarah Purches
Talent Acquisition Consultant at RMIT Online

Treating them with respect and as a human is my big golden rule.
Before you even contact the person, think about what the key selling points are for this role – why would they choose your business over another? How would it complement their career? What value would it bring to their lives? What are the benefits that your organisation offers (that aren’t boring and stock-standard). Know your WHY!
It’s important to understand all of these factors before you start pitching an amazing new role to them. It may turn out that although they have some great skills or qualifications, they may not actually be the right fit for your business or share the same vision and values. You can always teach certain skills, but you can’t teach an attitude.

Stan Rolfe
Principal at Qi Talent Solutions & Talent Board HR APAC Program Director

Be personable, honest, set realistic expectations, and follow up.
Candidates are approached by many people, not just recruiters and you need to stand out from the rest. Being genuinely interested in them as individuals, and trying to help them achieve their life goals through career choices.
Too many times candidates are told one thing and the other things happens, if anything happens at all. This is why developing and managing Talent pipelines can be challenging. I mean how long do you keep someone in a pipeline for before they start to feel the “more talk, no action”?

Jessi Carroll
Head of Executive Talent Acquisition at Medibank

The initial approach (whether it be on LinkedIn or via phone or email introduction) needs to be clear, succinct and personable. People are getting approached all the time, and articulating what specific experience of theirs is of interest shows the candidate that you are taking a real interest in their background.
It is important in the first phone call or meeting to spend more time offering information than asking questions. You have reached out to them after all! I always offer to provide an overview of background history of the organisation, where it is at today, what the strategy is going forward and how the role I am speaking about fits into that strategy. It is also important to provide an overview of the workplace culture, opportunities and challenges.
If they are interested then there will definitely be an opportunity to have a more detailed discussion about the role and to understand their specific experiences and capabilities in more detail.
Anymore to add? We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave your comments below! 🙂

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2 Responses to “7 Talent hunters share how they engage passive candidates”

  1. Mark Mansour

    I’m offended I wasn’t asked to be in this 😂😉
    The common theme is respect, which I totally agree with.
    What all these thoughts didn’t articulate is where to engage. The general assumption here is that most of these initial contacts are via LinkedIn, excep for Chloe and Rebecca who suggested using social. 👐👐👐
    My advice would be to engage with candidates where they play, and for tech people in Australia, it certainly isn’t LinkedIn!
    Figure out where the talent you are hunting and engage with them on that medium.
    LinkedIn is saturated. Inmails are over rated.
    If all else fails, pick up the f#cking phone!

    • Hey Mark, thanks for contributing to the conversation, love it! There will be more articles coming up so watch your inbox, we’ll be reaching out to you soon! 😉


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