Help! A passive candidate

QSXL / QSXL in the News | 29. Feb 2024 | Alessa Boer

How do you get a passive candidate to become your new colleague? If you want to attract talent you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. It's like sales. If you do nothing, you don't sell anything.

Getting passive candidates to move is an art in itself. You not only have to know how to find them, but more importantly you have to know how to reach them, interest them to eventually turn them into an interested candidate. Or to stay in sales terms "a warm lead".

We are so good at this that we often positively surprise recruiters with many relevant candidates. Yet those qualified and interested candidates don't always lead to a hire and we sometimes get feedback such as: "I've emailed the candidates but if they don't reply immediately they are apparently not that interested after all" or "It does take me a lot of energy to sell our company again to every candidate".

That is why we take recruiters into the experience of the passive candidate. Because that is quite different from the active candidate who motivates how great he thinks the company is, how fantastic he thinks the recruiter is, and especially how well he fits the position. We know from experience that some recruiters like to be immersed in the warm bath of subjective motivation. Delightful, but absolutely no guarantee of success.

Through sourcing efforts, the latent candidate becomes aware of a particular need, want or problem that stimulates him or her to take action. That is exactly the role of the sourcer, to get that relevant target group moving. But, without undoing ourselves, the moment we have sparked interest, the process really begins.

After all, the candidate does not make a decision based on our information, unfortunately not. He or she is going to orient and check if what we have enticed him with is correct. For example, you can do your sourcing so well, but if the vacancy is not on the vacancy page of the website during the orientation phase, you can really stop.

Even more important than orientation is the search for alternatives. We know from experience that a candidate who was not looking for a job, but is now persuaded to talk to Company A wants to have a choice. They will also look for a similar position at Companies B and C.

At this stage of the process, it is important for the recruiter to be aware of his or her influence on the candidate's decision process. If you give the candidate room to interview somewhere else as well, you often lose that candidate. Not because the other company is better, not because that position is more interesting, but because the other recruiter is better.

The role of the recruiter is crucial in converting the interested passive candidate into a new employee. We see many job postings for recruiters come along that require knowledge of sourcing. I get that need for sourcing, because the best candidate is usually not actively looking. But this makes the role of the recruiter even broader when it should be more in-depth. Back to the real craft of recruitment where the recruiter uses his influence and selection skills to convincingly convert interested candidates to the best hires.

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