It is bizarre to me that so many firms deal with passive candidates in the same transactional way they deal with active ones!

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This video is about stupid interviewing mistakes that you, as an employer, engage in. Let me just give you one example. If you were involved on the receiving end of an informational interview, how would you respond if someone walked in to talk with you and then suddenly you're dealing with him asking, "Do you know about any jobs? Like jobs? Help me, I need a job."
Obviously, the first thing that you're going to do is pull away, right? Well, when you deal with a passive candidate, one who's not really looking for a job right now, who's not on a job board, that you recruited, and you deal with them the same way as an active one, how do you think they respond to that?
"Well, I've got to train them!"
I'm going to tell you when you treat people like a commodity who don't really care right now, whether you want hire them, you haven't done anything to persuade them that they should come to work for you.

"Well, they have to persuade me!"

No. You recruited them you talk to them about an opportunity that made sense. They're curious but once you commoditize the conversation and treat them like the active applicant, their first reaction is to be disgusted because, once again, they've been fooled; they've been tricked and you've lied to them. You've lied to them about caring; you've lied to them that they matter. To a passive job hunter, unlike when I started in search 100 years ago, now they can communicate their experience whether it's on glassdoor or just putting it up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and sharing their experience of you and how your hiring managers have conducted themselves.
It doesn't serve you to commoditize the relationship. Even if you don't hire them, you have to show some care. You have to demonstrate that they matter, even when you turn them down.
Now, if you're an HR, and you're talking to a hiring manager, you have to let them know this was not an active job hunter. "I went out to get them. You've got to take a little bit of time to develop a relationship with them, even if you decide not to hire them. After all, I'm not telling you to hire them just because you recruited them. I'm just telling you to deal with them in a different way than the active job hunter who basically is getting on a conveyor belt and being moved along.
With the (I misspoke and said "active;" I meant to say) passive one, you have to go slower. You have to demonstrate care. You can have people in your organization who you know know how to present the opportunity to them and will create an environment that it seems like the employees are well cared for. Because, again, when you commoditize the relationship, all they know is they got treated just like any other toenail fungus. Treated badly.
So, don't treat them like they're active because they're not. You're trying to persuade them that you have an opportunity. Once they understand that, I assure you, if they have the experience, this will go a long way towards helping them want to join. Obviously, the money has to be right. Obviously, the people and the work have to be right. But,you know, assuming that they are, assuming that this is a good fit for them, you can't turn them off with mistreatment like that.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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No BS Hiring Advice
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