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How To Get a Response from a Passive Candidate

Have you or your team been struggling to find the right hires for your company? Are you wondering why candidates are not responding to your team’s emails and calls, even though those recruitment methods used to work fine before?

Average office workers may receive up to 120 emails every day with only an 18% open rate, so it’s no wonder that traditional methods of recruiting are failing. If your ideal candidates are not responding to your team’s inquiries, a strategically-planned approach is the answer.


Here are 5 recruitment tips and techniques you can combine to get those ever-desired passive candidates to respond to your outreach.

1) Stop Assuming and Start Understanding.

Recruiter: Hi Jason, Justin here from ABC Recruiting Company. I’m reaching out because I have the PERFECT opportunity for you.

Candidate: Really? How so?

Recruiter: This job is likely only 15 minutes from your home, pays above-average compensation for this role, and the company has great benefits overall.

Candidate: None of those things are important to me. I currently work from home twice a week, I’m being fairly compensated with bonus opportunities, and my family is on my spouse’s benefits package. How awfully presumptuous of you to think that it’s perfect for me. Goodbye!

Perhaps this kind of conversation has happened to your team at some point, which unfortunately is quite the norm in the recruiting industry. To combat this method (that is becoming an antique), take the entire pool, and create a shortlist based on their most relevant qualifications. Demonstrate the way you have carefully reviewed their background and that you understand their strengths and how the opportunity aligns, the impact you believe they will have in the client company, and (genuinely) compliment them for any accomplishments, accolades, or interests they have in their profile or bio.

Additionally, most candidates want to hear from the team that they’ll be working with at some point during the process, so why not beat them to the punch? Try this approach we call the Incumbent Interview. Ask members of the team that the candidate will be joining to answer four questions with a one bullet response to each:

1.  Why did you choose to join the company?

2.  Why do you stay or come back every day?

3.  What challenges do you encounter that the leader and/or the company help you to overcome?

4.  What would you want anyone who is considering a role on our team to know so that they can make an informed decision?

Then, consolidate all responses under each question and provide the document to potential candidates.


2) In Recruiting, Timing is Gold.

Different candidates have different preferred styles of communication which means that your recruiting team needs to consistently reach out through various channels. Customized, pre-recorded voice mails, such as the service Boxpilot provides, are quite effective to help you do just that.

Recruitment Marketing

You can arrange the delivery time of the voice mails even when the candidates are out of the country or are in different timezones. If they get back to you before more voicemails are needed, you can simply stop. If they answer the call before Boxpilot leaves a voicemail, Boxpilot will immediately notify you so you can engage with the candidate. Your messages will reach them at the right time of the day in continuous intervals, decreasing the chance of creating a pushy approach.

Personalized and steady contact assisted by groups such as Boxpilot will show your respect and dedication in acquiring their approval. Close off your positive impression by including a contact number they can always reach for setting up a meeting.


3) Stand Out from the Inbox Crowd with Video Emails.

Email recruiting can still be an effective way to get in touch with a passive candidate, but it’s also one of the most competitive channels.

It’s important to be able to differentiate your outreach in the email crowd to get candidates to respond. That’s where video emails come into play!

Passive Candidate Recruitment

An option you want to check out is Bonjoro, a video email platform that allows you to send self-recorded videos to selected candidates. They allow you to use a personal email address to reach your target, so you can avoid looking like random, spam messages to the recipient’s email provider. These video emails have stronger open rates and click rates than traditional email marketing if you use the proper subject line, copy, and image within the email.

Pro Video Tips:

Interact with your candidates as if you are talking to them in real-time or as you would on business-focused websites. Building an environment that feels like you are chatting in the company lunchroom during a break will help to prevent the interaction to become too sales-oriented. Raise questions regarding their professional goals, how they plan on reaching them, or even the activities they like to do in their off time. Stay mindful of the line between business banter and prying.

There are also other services to help you create specific videos that can be used within emails if you need something more professional but still individually-styled for your recruitment. To add to this email and video strategy, Digi-Me is an amazing option to explore as you pay them to create videos to showcase the opportunities you have open.

Here at Reveal Global Intelligence, we also produce ‘Realistic Job Previews.’ The goal is to set expectations of what the day-to-day job will be like, the environment that they’ll be working in, and even the challenges that they’ll be facing. Recruiting is also about weeding out those candidates that won’t be able to handle the difficult parts of the role so your recruiting team is only spending their time and efforts with qualified candidates.

For either of these tools, strategy, and configuration at appropriate points throughout your recruiting process is key!  For instance, using Digi-Me for any or all levels of roles is advisable while a Realistic Job Preview video is best for high-volume, entry-level roles.


4) Recruitment is an Art and a Science.

You may be familiar with the number of home devices utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with your daily activities. Imagine what will happen if said AI can assist you in recruiting your employees. A website named CrystalKnows can help you to utilize AI power in your recruitment.

Recruiting Passive Candidates

The tool gathers data from the candidates’ pages on job-related social networks such as LinkedIn, then works on analyzing their professional history and personality traits. The end product is an assessment of their characteristics and working styles which can lead to a great conversation.

While CrystalKnows is usually “scary-accurate” it can be a bit off in the eyes of the subject.  So, asking them to review it for accuracy can only strengthen its veracity.  Then, advising the hiring manager and candidate to exchange their (reviewed and approved) profiles will foster meaningful and substantive conversations.


5) Be Professionally Persistent like Reveal Global.

According to SocialTalent, it takes 8 cold call attempts to reach a candidate in 2016, which is around twice what it took in 2007. YesWare data shows that emails take even more than that. You may even get your first response after the tenth email!

Performing all the points above repeatedly over a long time may stress both the candidates and the recruiters. Inform the candidates that you are planning to stick around for more rounds in the most polite manner, but try to avoid pressuring them too much. We like to end our short voice mails with a phrase like “I look forward to speaking to you or your voice mail tomorrow.”

Furthermore, nobody likes to hear the pressure of the phrase “now or never” right from the first or second contact as that comes off as shallow. Acknowledge that this decision is far too important to decide in a hurry and that you’re here to guide them as passive candidates. Understand what needs to be in place for them to consider a move and let them know that you will only contact them if those items are in position.


At the end of the day, you may not need to use all the tools provided in this article. Different stages during recruitment may require different methods. That’s perfectly fine, and that’s exactly what your goal should be—a personalized approach that is planned and configured strategically.


Reach out to us below if you’re interested in learning about how you can implement any of the tools or methods mentioned above so you can make the right hires to drive your business.

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