The 5 Must Do’s To Sell Your Role To A Passive Candidate

Passive candidates – those who are not currently applying or even looking for new positions – tend to be extremely talented, and incredibly difficult to sell a role to. Recruiting passive candidates is not an easy job but it can be very rewarding when you manage to recruit a high performing and sought-after individual for an important role.

Here are our top tips to help you successfully sell roles to these accomplished candidates.

  1. Start with a compelling job description

    Too often recruiters fill job descriptions with ‘must-have’ skills and long, uninteresting lists of candidate requirements. For a candidate who is already in a job they enjoy and which they can do well, these boring details are a turn off. Instead, you need to focus on what the job entails and what it has to offer candidates – how it will improve their skills and offer them new experiences and opportunities. Your passive candidate doesn’t want to have to feel like they tick all of your boxes; they want a job that ticks all of theirs.

  2. Know their primary motivator

    If you manage to chat with a potential candidate over the phone or exchange a few emails, focus on understanding their main motivator. What do they want from their career? For some, it may be a certain salary or level of responsibility that they’re aiming for, and for others it may be about working environment or the ability to improve their work-life balance. If you can appeal to the thing they’re looking for most, you’ll go a long way towards recruiting them.

  3. Tell them why they fit the role

    When you first make contact with a passive candidate, make sure you have a few key points on hand to demonstrate why you think they’d be great for the role. Link aspects of the job description directly to their previous employment history or skill set and tell them how the new role could further add to their career. This has the added benefit of letting the candidate know that you’ve done plenty of research and help them feel better connected to you.

  4. Focus on the career move

    A bigger salary and benefits package may be appealing to the candidate in the short term, but in the long run if the job doesn’t truly interest and challenge them, they’ll soon be looking to move on. Chat to the candidate about how they want their career to progress, and if your role seems like a good fit then you can sell it as a long-term opportunity, rather than a short-term salary boost.

  5. Get the candidate to sell themselves

    When you first start chatting about a role with a passive candidate, it may be you attempting to sell to them. However, as you get to know their experience and skills better, you can turn the tables and get them to sell to you. Assess gaps in the candidate’s accomplishments and job description, and mention these to the candidate as opportunities of growth for them and areas of concern for you. If they attempt to convince you that they are fit for the role and agree that they’re aiming to move their career up to the next step, it’s a good sign that they’re no longer a passive candidate and are truly sold on the new position.

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