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How to approach Candidates that are already in employment, the professional way

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Sourcing and securing top tier talent in an increasingly competitive market isn’t easy.

So, when you do finally find the perfect Candidate, you’ll stop at nothing to bring them into the business. Having scoured the talent pool for the right person, you know that this is the closest you’ll get: not only do they tick off every requirement in the job specification, their background would make for a fresh perspective in the team.

There’s just one problem: said Candidate is already employed. Recruiting them into your company might be easy if they were obviously unhappy, but in reality, there’s no way of knowing. If you have your sights fixed firmly on this Candidate, you’ll have to be careful in your approach. Push a sales pitch on them and it may end up fracturing the relationship for good, pushing them into the arms of a competitor or their current employer.

If you are to get an employed individual interested in your company, you’ll have to adopt a strategic approach.

Social media matters

Convincing a Candidate who is currently in employment to jump ship won’t be easy. Unlike active Candidates, they haven’t spent weeks scrolling job boards; they aren’t desperate to make a move and will likely only respond to the most eye-catching opportunities. With this in mind, social media makes for a great place to start. Not only do platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to promote your employer brand, they provide you with a channel by which to contact individuals in an informal manner.

Before you do, it’s a good idea to take advantage of social media to learn more about the person you’re trying to hire. What kind of content do they share? Who do they follow? How do they express themselves online, what does their recent activity consist of? All this information will be valuable in determining the best approach in engaging them online.

Keep your communication human

Put yourself in the shoes of your target Candidate: considering they aren’t in desperate need of a job, they’re unlikely to respond to any posts or messages that are spammy i.e. those that use cold and salesy language. The last thing you want to do is leave them with a negative impression of your company: with this in mind, you should aim to be as human as possible, to talk to them as a person – not a Candidate.

Rather than rattling off the job requirements, try to focus your attention on the benefits that come with the role, the values of the company and the organisational culture. If you’ve done well in developing and promoting your employer brand, they may already have an idea as to the perks of the job.

Beyond affirming this image, you must ensure to equally concentrate on the Candidate themselves. Rather than simply presenting them with a job description, try to strike up conversation by asking for their opinion on areas they have listed as their specialist subjects. This will place both you and your target Candidate on the same level and gives them a reason to reply beyond investigating a vacancy.

Build your industry presence

Playing the long-game isn’t ideal when the pressure is on to fill a vacancy, but a well-crafted employer brand and a strong industry reputation can make for a talent magnet that pulls in even the most loyal Employees. This is why it isn’t wise to start your search when the need arises: leave it until the last minute and your chances of securing a Candidate who is already employed are slim. However, give yourself a good head start by making a name for yourself in the industry and the challenge of headhunting an employed Candidate will be greatly facilitated.

This can be achieved through an active involvement in industry events where a chance encounter can become a valuable hire, but be sure not to neglect the digital sphere. Through a well-structured content strategy, Employers can position themselves as experts in the field and gradually start to build a reputation within the sector. Combine relevant, engaging blogs with valuable social media posts and people will inevitably start to take notice.

Of course, building a profile with the right audience is only half the battle. In order to source talented from a rival company, you’ll need a strong proposition.

If you’re unsure of where to start, get in touch.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.    

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