Hold up cowboy. Just because someone is talking to you does not mean they want a job at your company. So — you have intrigued a passive candidate enough to open them up to a conversation. Great work! Now proceed carefully. I recommend you don’t take that as an offer to start grilling them with questions and coding tests just yet. Instead, look at it as the first step in relationship building. Strategic recruiting takes patience. Who has time for that, right? Good, solid and well-respected recruiters – that’s who!

Be a People Reader – Take notice of the candidate’s communication style. Whether over the phone or in person, pay attention to the cues you are receiving and communicate accordingly. If the person is a fast talker, stay on point in the conversation. If they are more casual and seem to prefer a bit of an ice breaker, perhaps you can share something non-work related with them. It can be as simple as mentioning something you did over the weekend, referencing an upcoming event like a wedding, or even a quick comment on the weather!  

Balance the Conversation – No doubt that it’s exciting to have a great person to speak to – especially when you are working on a hard-to-fill role and the pressure is on — but be careful to balance the conversation. Keep it conversational with a lot of back and forth. Ask questions and give thoughtful answers to their questions as well.

Get Personal – Don’t be afraid to add some of your own personal experience as to why you joined your company, what you expected and what it turned out to be like. Be genuine – this will help you to continue to build that relationship.

Use Storytelling – Illustrate some specific examples of things going on at the company. Providing color around the opportunity can help better paint the picture of a “day in the life”. This could be anything from a story about a happy customer or a new product development initiative, to a company activity, like a group charitable event or a party.

Follow up – Agree upon a follow up plan. This might be arranging a time to meet or speak again or exchanging information over email. Don’t lose sight of the time both of you have invested. Although it may turn out not be the right opportunity or timing, agree to stay in touch and connect on LinkedIn. No matter what the conclusion, be sure to follow through with the agreed upon action.

True passive candidate recruiting and strategic hiring requires a concerted effort in relationship building. Of course you want to take the time to tell a potential candidate more about the role, the vision of the company and the culture, but filtering it into a conversational experience may help bring that person to the next stage. For more information, check out our advice on ensuring a postive candidate experience.blog/how-to-lose-a-candidate-in-10-days-ensure-a-positive-candidate-experience