The Candidate Dance: How to Lead without Stepping on Toes

It’s fair to say that empathy has become a major theme in the workplace going into 2018 and in order to be considered a truly credible recruiter, it can help you to consider how candidates want to be recruited. Assuming that most candidates are not looking to change careers, it can be quite a challenge to creatively and respectfully engage passive candidates.

Here are some of our top suggestions:

Paint the Picture

Think about the bigger picture of the job deliverable and describe it in an engaging manner rather than listing off the requirements. What is the benefit to being a part of this company and team? Most highly qualified candidates will derive the satisfaction from knowing how their work is going to make an impact.

Be Personable

It can be tempting to click, copy, paste a message to prospective candidates to save time but your lack of effort comes with the risk that the candidate will sense it, and potentially disregard you as just another recruiter. By taking the time to read into their experience, viewing any available links to websites, even their Twitter can give you an in by helping to understand their motivations. Touching on a topic or point of interest that is threaded throughout their profiles will at the very least capture their attention and illicit an initial reply.

Reduce The Steps

Likely a candidate is passive because they already have a job. In order to entice their application, offer to complete as many of the steps on their behalf as possible which may include revising their CV, completing required forms or profiles and minimizing any hoops for them to jump through. If the process is easy and their time investment is little, they will likely put their name in the hat out of curiosity.

Prolong Revealing the Juiciest Detail (money)

Also known as dangling the carrot, in order to control the conversation, it is important to withhold what you perceive to be the most important detail to your passive candidate which is more often than not, money. Simply expressing that compensation is flexible within reason and will be determined based on a few factors that are yet to be determined, can allow you to capture the interest of a passive candidates. Another example of this would be if the candidate expresses interest in meeting the founder or CEO of the company, maintaining that this is the final stage of the process can help influence them to participate in the full process.

Don’t Rule Out the Weekend

To avoid becoming a nuisance to their work day, it can be in your best interest to contact highly desirable candidates after hours or on the weekend when chances are better that they have the time and patience for a message from a stranger. Avoiding peak times can make a really big difference to candidates. If you can imagine being on the receiving end of a message during your busiest time at work from someone whom you have no prior relationship, that message can bottom out your list of competing priorities in a jiffy.

Engage Hiring Managers Regularly

Interview processes are similar to a good party, the more that relevant people actively participate with enthusiasm, the better the experience generally is for those attending. Having Hiring Managers privy to the type of candidate and your proposed method of recruiting can mean in the best case more support and quicker turnaround times and in the worst case you can’t be pegged for lack of effort if the candidate decides to flake after their curiosity period has passed. Regular communication with your hiring managers also signals to the candidate that you have a strong working relationship with your clients which bodes well for your professional image as a recruiter.

Talk to Your Companies Top Hires

On the back end of your recruiting efforts, start your research where it’s most accessible! Talk to your company’s top candidates or the most recent hires and ask them what it was about the process, company, or recruiter that incentivised them to leave their former position. This type of empathic research will provide fresh insight to help you with making the unknown alluring to candidates who are currently enjoying the comfort of a familiar position.

Follow Up / Let It Breathe

There is a fine line between being diligent and communicating to the point of discomfort and distaste. To be a recruiter, it requires a passion for expediency and a zest that not everyone shares when it comes to work. It’s great to be enthusiastic and to follow up with your candidate to keep them informed but when waiting on an acceptance email or references from your candidate, sometimes an over zealous approach can be overbearing. As professional ‘people people’, recruiters have an internal barometer that alerts us when maybe we can hold off for an extra day on the reminder email or when it’s time to push for the good of the candidate so tune in to it wisely.

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