Engagement is a back and forth process. Passive candidates can get cold feel very quickly and end up dark. You must establish and maintain a high level of engagement throughout the process. This is even more important in a protracted process.
Now that they have taken initial steps and possible been in to interview live, the realization of changing jobs may start hitting home and it is all real. Candidates may be feeling a little reservation about the uncertainty of changing jobs. In its simplest form, all decisions people make are to either gain pleasure or to avoid pain. They may forgo reward to avoid the risk of pain. We must mitigate this perceived risk throughout the candidate’s experience. If uncertainty starts creeping in, your candidate may see the safety of staying in their “less than ideal position” outweighing the risk of finding the reward which is possible in your new role.
Engagement means having several touch points where you can have a consistent and open dialogue regarding their interest level and reservations. You must create touch points and overcommunicate. You must do everything you can to keep uncertainty from creeping in.
Engagement can come in many forms and not every interaction has to be business related. As I write this, we are in self quarantine due to Covid-19. Checking in and asking about the health and safety of candidates and their family shows you care about candidates as people first and not just your “next placement or hire.”
A joke I have made with several candidates (and coworkers gave grown tired of hearing it) goes like this, „I know changing jobs may be a time of uncertainty, but I want you to know I have worked with many people with the same concerns and reservations. Together, other candidates and I have gone through the darkness of the cave of uncertainty and come out to the otherside to enjoy the sunshine of a new role.“ I even get dramatic and shut the room lights off when I talk about the darkness and turn them back on when we get to the sunshine. You need to be their rock and their certainty.
It can also be beneficial in protracted hiring processes to have a member of the interview team check in with the candidate. This engagement demonstrates a strong commitment to the candidate.
Engagement shows you care. The more a candidates feels you have candidly communicated with them and have their best interest in mind, the more they will trust you to lead them through the darkness and uncertainty of changing roles and into the light of their new role.
I hope you have leared something from this topic. Its important that every passive candidate be approached and handled on an individual basis. Cookie cutter approaches do not work.