Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recruitment Strategy Development – Contacting the Passive Candidate

When you decide to direct source instead of simply posting and hoping, how do you approach the passive candidate? Do you call and say, “Hey! Would you like to work for us?” I’ve listened as corporate and third party recruiters tried similar lines. Naturally they did not like the rejection – and returned to posting and hoping.

Who is a passive candidate? They are people with demonstrated expertise who need your help to discover they really aren’t as happy as they could be. Typically a truly passive candidate has no desire to look at postings Anywhere. They may not be on LinkedIn because “What’s the point? I am happy here.” Why are they a potentially better candidate when you recruit them?

That’s easy. In addition to their skills and focus on making impacts, they have not yet started to shop their resume around to other companies. This is your opportunity to land them before they decide they could be happier somewhere else. As in other areas of sales, time is your enemy in recruitment. Once a passive candidate is on the market for you, they begin to look around “To see what else is available.” But I am jumping ahead…

If you are not used to direct sourcing and cold calling candidates, it is a good idea to develop a script around what you want to say. The beauty of scripts occurs when a candidate asks a question and you put your finger down where you are in the script. After you answer their question or questions, return to your place in your script (so easy even I do it!).

Some people are afraid that a script will make them seem “fake”. Just try to be natural and smile. People can feel a smile on the other end of a call.

When you are calling a passive candidate the first time, identify yourself and ask if this is a good time to chat for 10 minutes. If not, when would be a good time? When they ask why you are calling them, tell them the truth - somewhere (Tell them where) in your research, you found they were talented in that field. “Talented people generally know other talented people.” If you described a situation to them, perhaps they could suggest a couple of people who may be interested in this opportunity. Many times they want to help other people. Describe the company and opportunity and then ask them “who do you know that I should call next? Hopefully they will say, “What about me?” If they don’t, you at least leave the call with other names and numbers. It’s amazing how well it works!