This post was updated in November 2017 with new information.
The majority of developers aren’t actively looking for jobs, so tech recruiters are under a lot of pressure to stay engaged with passive tech candidates. Keeping developers interested takes much more than the occasional email blast about the tech openings you’re trying to fill.
So what can you do to get their attention, especially considering most developers aren't actively looking for new jobs? Here are a few things to keep in mind when you engage with passive tech talent.
We’ve emphasized the importance of not sending developers spam, but some tech recruiters are a little too cautious about how often they reach out to passive candidates. Here's the thing: if you take a sincere interest in the projects that they're working on, many of those developers will be willing to share details with you.
But where do you even begin—and how do you even find out what they're working on?Some developers post updates on their personal blogs while others are more vocal on Twitter about the side projects they're tackling. A question about a side project will be received much more warmly than a generic tech recruiting email.
Your schedule might be so busy that you have to set aside blocks of time just to write emails to passive candidates. If so, this time is really important because without it, you run the risk of ghosting a great candidate by accident. But at the same time, don't overthink it. After all, you're having a human interaction with another person—and developers don't expect you to write them a novel.
Sure, you should be sensitive to the number of emails you send to each developer. But don’t get too down on yourself if they're not the most eloquent. In fact, when it comes to staying engaged with passive tech candidates, the most straightforward emails are often the most effective.
It's worth repeating that 87% of developers we surveyed recently told us they're employed at least part-time. So it's crucial to be as consistent as possible in your outreach to passive candidates, while being sensitive to what they want.
Some developers in your pipeline might want to check in with you on a monthly basis. For others, you might only need to reach out once every quarter. Whatever the timeframe is, make sure you're doing everything you can to respectfully stay on a passive candidate's radar.