Candidate Engagement: Be Proactive with Passive Candidates

Should we recruiters be practicing more proactive candidate engagement?

The Undercover Recruiter recently put up a blog on 5 Tips to Build Candidate Engagement.

While all good tips, one that struck my attention was the “Talent Pool Newsletter” — and not for the tactic, itself, but rather the concept behind it.

Many times, while sourcing talent, I come across candidates who look fantastic for opportunities that do not exist at this time. Typically, I add them to a hot candidate list that I keep in my back pocket for when a future opportunity arises. When I read this post, I realized that I can and should be doing much more that simply adding candidates to a list. Instead, I should be more proactive with candidate engagement — reaching out to individuals and bringing them into my network.

As the article covers, you’ve taken the time to identify this candidate, and may have added them to your own list of talent, but the candidate has no idea that you exist, most likely does not know your company, and doesn’t know that you have identified them or may be interested in connecting with them in the future. This is where recruiters, or anyone within an organization, should be more proactive with candidate engagement.

What Are You Waiting For? Make an Introduction

Engage the candidate by sending a quick and simple note — something like “Dan, your ABC experience/skills/interest/motivation struck my attention as they align with XYZ in our business. I am interested in connecting. I work for OpenView . . . While we do not have any open opportunities that align currently, I’d love to add you to my network to keep in touch for future opportunities.”

If you have a newsletter, recent article, blog post etc. that may add value to this particular candidate, add that information to the note. Connect on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter. Reconnect with these individuals for events, networking, and simply to send interesting information/updates and when an opportunity arises.

Whether or not the candidate is interested in making a move, your note will get you and the company on their radar. They may reach out in the future, just as you may do the same. Though you may never have a role for this candidate, making new connections never hurts. Beyond that, it improves your reach in the market, helps encourage a positive company perception, and can lead to referrals and networking assistance.

Bottom line: If you spot awesome talent, don’t wait for an open position to engage. Reach out to these individuals now and bring them into your network.

Do you engage passive candidates? I’d love to hear how.

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