Engaging with Passive Candidates This Summer

woman on laptop at the beach gazing out at the water

At the start of the year, “find a new job” is a popular resolution among candidates. But come June, that energy has likely waned. As any recruiter will tell you: recruiting during the summer can be hard, hard work. Between travel plans, children home from school, and of course, the beautiful weather outside, candidates often put job searching on the back burner for the summer season.

Even though you may not find too many candidates actively looking for work, engaging with passive candidates during this time of year can actually be to a recruiter’s benefit. “With fewer deadlines to juggle, passive candidates may be more amenable to a pitch from a recruiter and have more time to contemplate a career change,” says Colleen Neese, Duffy Group practice leader. “Returning from a much-needed vacation may also give them renewed energy and clarity in evaluating their current situation and potential new opportunities.”

So how can you best reach candidates while competing with the beckoning summer sun? Here are a few ways you can find and recruit passive candidates during those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Work on Your Employer Brand

Employer branding can be a powerful tool when it comes to attracting passive candidates and differentiating yourself from the competition. “Whether it’s the name recognition of a Fortune 500 company, the bold moves of a disruptive innovator that is redefining their industry, or the steady hand of a trusted organization, branding can have a profound positive effect in getting passive candidates to take notice of a career opportunity,” Neese says. “Savvy employers know that leveraging who they are, what they stand for, and how they do business can be the difference in attracting best-in-class talent — or not. For recruiters, using these levers is the first step in opening dialogue about an open position and building long-term relationships.”

A slow summer can be the perfect opportunity to work on your employer branding. A good place to start is by focusing on the different touchpoints a prospective candidate has with your company. Think: career site, job ads, employer value proposition, social media, and the interview process. Use these touchpoints as opportunities to communicate what your company stands for and how you support employees with benefits, career advancement, and compensation. Sharing real employee success stories and showcasing company culture can also help give candidates a better idea of what your employer brand is all about.

Attend Networking and Industry Events

After being cooped up in the office all year long, summer can be the perfect time to get out and meet prospective hires. “Networking events, conferences, and tradeshows are fantastic ways to engage passive candidates, as they attract attendees with similar industry backgrounds who are more likely to match your requirements,” says Mike Basso, CEO of salestalent.com. Not to mention, these types of events provide a causal setting to rub shoulders and form relationships with potential candidates without the pressure of a formal interview setting.

When attending an event, it’s important to not only come armed with business cards, but to follow up with candidates shortly after. While simply exchanging business cards often leads nowhere, following up with a LinkedIn connection and a friendly email can help you build a meaningful relationship over time and may ultimately land you an interview down the road.

Offer Flexible and Remote Work Options

In this post-pandemic world, it’s no secret that today’s candidates are looking for remote and flexible work options. In fact, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic over four years ago,  “work from home” continues to be the #1 job search by candidates on Monster. Especially when it comes to attracting younger generations, Monster’s State of the Graduate report found that 42% of new grads would turn down a job at a company that doesn’t at least offer flexible or hybrid work schedules.

“Offering flexible work options, remote work, and attractive vacation policies can make a significant difference in attracting passive candidates, particularly during the summer,” says Stephanie Alston, BGG Enterprises CEO. “These benefits show that the company values work-life balance and can be a strong incentive for candidates to consider a new role.” And with fewer companies offering summer benefits, allowing flexible or remote work can be a major selling point when it comes to attracting passive candidates.

Do Some Competitive Research

Feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the talent barrel this summer? Your best candidates may currently be working for your competition. After all, they know your industry backwards and forwards and likely have many of the same skills you’re looking for in a candidate. As a recruiter, it’s perfectly fine to reach out to your competitor’s employees, tell them about the position you’re hiring for, and see if they’re interested in learning more.

“Finding passive candidates through competitors is a great place to start,” Neese says. “For example, recruiters looking for a vice president of finance should research those in similar roles at other organizations. They also should consider engaging with those in director roles for whom the vice president position would be a growth opportunity.”

Revisit Old Conversations

Remember all that outreach you did at the beginning of the year? Perhaps the perfect candidate is already sitting in your inbox. Basso says, “Another way to engage passive candidates is to revisit conversations from six months or a year ago with those not ready to make a move and re-engage them. Time has a way of changing situations, and they may be more open now.”

Try following up with an email or a LinkedIn message to see how life is treating them and if they are still happily employed. Be sure to personalize your message by mentioning something that was previously discussed and address any reasons why they previously rejected you. You can then mention the job you’re hiring for and why you believe they would be a great fit for the role. Maybe they’ll have had a change of heart and you can set up a call with them to discuss the opportunity further.

Engage Passive Candidates Year Round

As a recruiter, engaging with talent is a continuous effort. To help you develop a year-round recruitment strategy, get started with Monster’s Recruitment Solutions where you’ll gain access to best-in-class tools, receive expert recruiting advice, and stay up-to-date on the latest hiring trends.