The excitement of finding an incredible passive candidate is undeniable. But as easy as it is to focus on what that developer can do for you, it's impossible to get them excited about your job opportunity if you don't think about what they want. To help you connect with developers who aren’t actively looking for new jobs, use these tips to give passive tech candidates what they want.
The reality of recruiting passive tech candidates is that you’ll often hear the words “thanks, but not right now.” Although it’s a good idea to stay respectful of a developer’s time, especially after he or she passes on a job opportunity, that doesn’t mean you have to slam the brakes and leave that person alone forever. Considering that 62% of developers say they’re open to hearing about new job opportunities, it's an excellent idea to reach out to passive candidates on a regular basis.
Rather than focusing your outreach exclusively on the tech openings you’re working to fill, invest the time to check in with developers about what they’re working on and what tech trends they’ve been keeping up on. As you learn more about their likes and dislikes, branch out from these first icebreakers and take a sincere interest in building meaningful relationships with them. While this won’t pay immediate dividends in the form of a crucial hire, keeping up this rapport is an effective way to stay on a developer’s radar, and could also make it much easier to connect with an equally talented person who could be a fit for your tech team.
Once you’ve established rapport with a passive tech candidate, you’ll find that a significant component of building the relationship even further is to be as transparent as possible about the position you’re trying to fill and your company’s culture. From a recruiting standpoint, that means scaling back the sales pitch and sharing as many details about the job opportunity as you can.
It’s no secret that developers want to know details about compensation and benefits as early in the process as possible. However, since passive candidates aren’t in a rush to change positions, don’t be surprised when they do respond if they’re even more upfront in asking about work-life balance, career growth, and overall team dynamics. Of course, it’s important to think about how you respond to these types of questions before you have a conversation with a developer. If he or she wants to know additional details about a job that you can share, don’t be afraid to discuss what it would be like to join the technical team right now.