It’s no secret that finding extraordinary talent is difficult and that often the candidates who actively apply for your job openings just don’t meet your standards.
That’s why sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands and reach out to people who may already be employed – even happily employed – but who are nonetheless interested in new and appealing work opportunities. These candidates are called passive candidates, and while they’re often considered some of the highest quality candidates, they’re also notoriously difficult to find and engage with.
One of the hardest parts of touching base with these individuals is sitting down to write a new job opportunity letter to a passive candidate. Specifically many people struggle to craft a message that makes the reader want to talk to you. And since a poorly written letter does more than deter a strong candidate – it damages the company’s reputation as well as your own – it’s especially important to get to grips with this task.
What follows are a few simple tricks and tips that can help you write a new job opportunity letter to a passive candidate.
How to Write a New Job Opportunity Letter to a Passive Candidate
1. Before you write a new job opportunity letter to passive candidate, craft a strong subject line. This should be personalized for each individual you send a message to. To do this well, take time to study their social media profiles to learn more about them. Find something interesting and incorporate it into your subject line. For example, if you learn that you two both worked as soccer coaches, your subject could be “From One Former Soccer Coach to Another.”
2. After your salutation, get to the point. Your message on the whole should be short and sweet. The recipient shouldn’t have to wade through intimidating paragraphs of text to figure out why you’re contacting them or what you want them to do next.
3. Toward the top of your letter, spell out exactly why you think the passive candidate would be a good fit for your organization. Again, this statement should be tailored to the individual and should show that you’ve made some effort to understand how the prospect’s talents, experience, and interests align with those of your company. For instance, “I noticed that you’re both a passionate salesperson and a devoted family man, and as our company values work-life balance above all else, I thought you might be a great fit for our organization.”
4. As you write a new job opportunity letter to passive candidate, introduce your company in a way that’s interesting to the prospect. Don’t brag about the company or go on about your achievements, rather frame your summary in a way that sheds light on how they could benefit from being part of your team. Try something like, “We are what you call a ‘unicorn’ start-up. Though we’re honored to reach the $1 billion threshold, our company has grown so fast that we need some strong leaders to help us move forward in an organized, structured way. That’s where you come in.”
5. Note mutual contacts or interests. If you’re reaching out to a passive candidate who’s been referred by someone you know, be sure to mention your mutual acquaintance. Research has shown that this greatly increases your chance of getting a passive candidate to respond.
6. Don’t come on too strong. Instead, look to start a conversation. Don’t ask for their resume, references, or anything of that nature yet. Rather, ask for an informal phone conversation. It’s a lot easier to say “yes” to a mere conversation than it is a job interview.
7. Following on from the last point, deliver a clear call to action. If you suggested arranging an informal conversation, then provide possible times to talk. Ask your reader to respond with the date and time that works best. There should be no question as to what you want them to do next.
8. Though it should go without saying, include your job title and contact information in your signature. This will help orient your reader. Is the head of HR reaching out, or the (possible) future boss? It can feel stressful to write a new job opportunity letter to passive candidate, so ensure that you don’t forget small but important details.
9. Let’s cover timing. It’s best to send your message outside of the usual work hours. Your potential hire might feel more comfortable reading about other job opportunities when they’re out of the office. If you work in an industry that keeps irregular hours, don’t worry about this tip.
10. After you write a new job opportunity letter to a passive candidate, be patient but don’t just sit back and completely relax. Let your winning candidate take up to three days to respond. After three days, you can follow up. Restate your interest in the potential employee, but assure them that this is the last time you’ll reach out.