How do you attract a good candidate when they are not actively looking?

How do you approach someone who you feel may suit a vacant position in your company?


Pick up the phone:

We know that some of the most talented people are ‘head down, tail up’ and not actively seeking the next step in their career path. These people need to be found and spoken to about potential opportunities as they will not have a need to look on regular job boards.

It is important that you, as the hiring manager, make this call as you will have one chance only to impress.

The only way to begin a mutually trusting relationship is to be honest about the reason for your call, assure your prospect that this discussion will be off the record and in complete confidence.

Although flattered and intrigued by hearing from you, the potential candidate will likely at first be unsure about changing from their safe and well known environment.

Having a reasonable knowledge of your potential candidate’s existing   skill base and role parameters is important. No-one wants their time wasted with hearing about a role that is not a good fit for them.

Be prepared to spend time speaking about your company position in the market, any immediate growth or changes planned and the common ground you share.

A willingness to also understand your candidate’s career path plans and the strengths they feel they have will help you both moving forward. Explain why you think the candidate may be suitable for the role.

Make sure that you have a well written and professionally presented position description available to forward to the candidate’s personal email address if they are interested in considering further.

If your potential candidate trusts your intentions, sees you as being personally well organised and knowledgeable about them as a professional, you are well on the way to at the very least a good professional relationship.

Make a follow up call the day you say you will and if the prospect is now a candidate, you can explain the next steps, being to participate in a robust interview, assessment and reference checking process. You should always be personally available to answer any questions throughout this process, even if you are not involved in each step.

Top Tip Number 1: We all know people who have been employed in the wrong role because they are a “good bloke”. It is important to follow a robust recruitment process and not leave out any steps.

Top Tip Number 2: If your potential candidate currently works for your key supplier or client, be careful. Not many people are worth the risk of causing a breakdown in your business relationships.


Featured in: Agribusiness Magazine Issue 124 September/October 2017
Written by: Deb Francis