Unlocking Hidden Talent: Strategies for Engaging Passive Candidates

Magnus HR
4 min readNov 13, 2023

One of the key things for recruiters when seeking good talent is turning passive candidates into active ones. However, everyone is aware of how much harder it is to contact passive candidates than those who are actively looking for jobs.

What differentiates active candidates from passive candidates?

Active Candidates:
Active candidates are those who apply for a job themselves, have carefully studied the job description, are available for employment, and can typically begin working at a new company right away. This group includes recent graduates, newcomers to the workforce, and those considering a career change.

Passive Candidates:
Passive candidates are skilled in their field, have reached a specific value in their career path, and are generally valued and appreciated by employers. These candidates are either not interested in new job opportunities, or they are interested but only we, the recruiters, are aware of it. At Magnus, we usually work with passive candidates, so we need to approach them strategically and communicate in a personalized way.

Attracting passive candidates is difficult. As a recruiter, you should be experienced in a variety of sourcing techniques, have strong communication and negotiation skills, and be well-versed in the newest technologies so that you can evaluate the suitability of the mentioned job opportunity.

We often see on LinkedIn, that candidates complain about receiving unprofessional letters, and on the other, recruiters worry about getting little response from candidates. This is perhaps an everlasting and dynamic gap, the only solution of which we see in Magnus in the following:

  • Not offering a candidate anything that you believe is not the candidate’s next career step.
  • Writing only impressive and personalized letters

How are we going to do it? Let’s go over it in depth!

The Approach: Research, Personalization, and Professionalism

We look for potential candidates on both professional and non-professional platforms, researching their projects, current and previous positions, responsibilities, and skills. Personal websites, blogs, and social media accounts can also be good information sources. Throughout this time, try to understand:

  • What motivates them?
  • What accomplishments distinguish them from others?
  • What differentiates them as a better fit for the new position?

Let’s now move on to the reach-out stage or the letter structure itself.

Crafting a Persuasive Reach-Out Letter

Catchy Greetings

We start the reach-out letter with greetings. It’s important to remember that we only have a few seconds to catch the candidate’s attention, so we must be as bright, distinctive, and positive as possible. For example, at Magnus, we always begin our reach-out letters as carefully and creatively as possible rather than with the phrase “Hope my message finds you well.”

Intro or why I am here
The most important thing at the beginning is the introduction, which answers the question “Why am I here?”

Consider this: if the candidate doesn’t read the rest of the letter, this one paragraph should explain what you’re saying and why you’re writing.

Tangible details about the company and the position

Here we focus on the company and the position, but we don’t make the letter heavy; a message of 50 to 125 words is statistically considered normal.

Try to speak in the language of “data”, for example, instead of saying “It is a serious company with international customers”, say “This is the one that received such an investment in 2022 and, for example, recently won the “best product” category in Product Hunt”.

Keep in mind the personalization

Here we clarify what role the given opportunity will play in the candidate’s career, why we wrote to him, and what role his skills and experience will play in the company’s future success.

Personalizing the letter demonstrates that we’ve made an effort to learn about the candidate both as an individual and a professional and that it’s not just about closing the position quickly, but also about how we can help them achieve their career goals.

Closing & next steps

Finally, we close and present the next step, which could be a meeting with a company, a phone call with a recruiter, an interview, or something else.

The Magnus Approach: Building Relationships and Sharing Knowledge
At Magnus, we value every candidate interaction, whether they’re actively seeking jobs or not. We see each conversation as an opportunity for mutual growth and learning. After these meetings, we share the insights in our Team Edu meetings to stay updated with industry trends.

That’s it!

Cheers,

Eliz from Magnus

Want to learn more about recruitment strategies and connecting candidates on a personal level? Follow Magnus on Medium here: https://magnus-hr.medium.com/

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