Attract Passive Candidates by Offering A Discussion

man in office on the phone smiling

Let’s say that you’re a skilled professional with a pretty decent job. Sure, you’re open to a better position, but only if it represents a real career move – better opportunities for growth, interesting challenges, or meaningful work. One day you get a message on LinkedIn from a recruiter. They’ve read your profile and they have a job you may be interested in. Flattered, you read the job description. It does seem to be in your ballpark, but you’re not sure it’s better than your current job.

What’s the next step? You could click the apply button…and find a long sign up process on an outdated website, multiple forms to fill out, and several documents that you need to prepare. With all that work to do, chances are you’re not going to apply right away, if at all.

For top talent and passive job seekers, these barriers to entry are a huge turn off. This includes long, complicated application processes, poorly designed websites, too many required documents, or unnecessary screening and skills tests at an early stage. All of these elements have their place, but it’s not at the beginning. First, you need to get the candidate invested in the opportunity. Job descriptions, which are almost always dry, boring and overstuffed with requirements are not the best way to do this.

The solution? Offer a discussion, not an application. Rather than sending candidates to apply on your site, invite them to a brief, exploratory conversation over skype or phone.

A discussion is unique, dynamic and personal. Filling out forms on the other hand, is mundane, impersonal and bureaucratic. If you ask for an application, the candidate will need to set aside time to get everything ready, and that lowers your chance of getting a response. A call can be scheduled in just a few seconds.

Now of course, this model doesn’t scale for all jobs. If you’re hiring an ESL teacher and expect to receive hundreds of applicants, you won’t have time to phone them all. But for mid-to-senior-level roles, asking for a discussion can be key to attracting passive job seekers and top performing candidates.