How to sell your role to passive candidates

Passive candidates – those who aren’t currently applying or even looking for new positions – tend to be extremely talented. In fact, it’s often said that the best quality candidates are the passive ones.

They’re also incredibly difficult to sell a role to. They may be perfectly happy where they are, and only the most gifted hiring manager and sparkling remuneration package can persuade them.

Did you know, for instance, that 75% of prospective candidates are
not actively job hunting?

For highly skilled and mission-critical positions, it’s closer to 90% – so scouring CVs on jobs sites is unlikely to yield you top talent.

There are lots of factors that make passive candidates a tough sell, but it’s very rewarding when you do recruit a high-performing individual for one of your key roles.

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


#1. Create a compelling job spec

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 will it improve their skills? How will it 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. 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, 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 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. In the long run, though, 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. 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, you’ll be selling to them. But as you get to know their experience and skills, you can turn the tables and get them to sell to you.

Assess gaps in the candidate’s accomplishments and job description. Mention these as opportunities of growth for them and areas of concern for you.

If they try to convince you they’re 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 sold on the new position.


Job offer checklist

Offer flexibility – today’s candidates rank flexibility above even a pay rise, so to make sure your offer is competitive enough, build in the flexible options they’re seeking.

Training opportunities – someone who’s happy where they are will need to see the value in moving to you. Make sure you have
opportunities for CPD, training and career progression in place.

Generous holiday allowance – 25 days plus bank holidays is standard; 20 days is stingy, but it happens. To attract a passive candidate, you may need to review whether your holiday allowance is generous enough.

Have a high-level role to fill? A&D Recruitment are specialists in recruitment for the renewable energy and building services industries.

Visit our blog section or contact us today to explore how A&D Recruitment could help you fill – or find – your next role.

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