Wooing Passive Candidates: The Dos and Don’ts  

By: Chris Perras


At Titus Talent Strategies, we just celebrated our tenth year since launching our revolutionary approach to recruiting. It’s a milestone and, as we look back, we can see that we’ve learned a lot along the way. One of the most important things we learned, very early on, was that passive candidates are often the best candidates.  

What does that mean? Well, if you’re looking to hire the best person for the job, you go in with the right people-right seats mentality, that “right person” might already have a job. They’re not going to come looking for you with resume in hand. In fact, they don’t even know you have a job opening and they don’t care. The A-players make career moves very differently than Bs and Cs. 

That’s where we step in. We understand A-players! We’ve built our business on this approach of defining what it is our Partners (clients) are looking for and then going out there and finding that perfect fit. And we’re not going to let their current job stop us. 

Is it easy? No, of course not. If it was then everyone would be doing it. But it’s effective and it’s why we can offer a performance guarantee 

So how do we do it? It all comes down to wooing. Approaching someone who has a job and investigating if they have outgrown their current seat and whether it’s time to switch companies takes work. There are some important dos and don’ts involved in this strategy. 

How to Woo a Passive Candidate 

So, how do we do that “woo-do” that we do so well? These are some tips we’ve gathered from our strategists. Actual techniques they use to stay in touch with passive candidates while comparing them to a career move that fits their qualifications, experience, and personality. 


  • Do be clear about timeline and process. Let them know who will be reaching out to them and when so they have clear expectations. 
  • Do think big picture. Every person you meet might be the right candidate for some job, maybe not this one, but something down the line. 
  • Do keep at it. One of the things we hear often from our clients—especially ones in more rural areas, searching to fill niche roles, smaller industries, etc.—is that Titus doesn’t quit when the search gets hard. Traditional recruiting can be a high-speed, low-drag mentality. So, if it’s not an easy fill, you won’t make their radar. With Titus it’s the opposite. We are in it with you until the end. Your consultation team will be working a dedicated 15 hours a week on your search alone, and accounting for those hours in a weekly report. 
  • Do answer calls/emails.Even if it isn’t for a formal interview, part of the hiring process or a scheduled call. Some candidates like to check in, chat, and balance the work/personal parts of their lives. 
  • Do be personalized. The more specific and detailed you can be about who you are and why you’re connecting with someone, the more interested they become in creating a relationship. 

How Not to Woo 

Obviously, it’s not just about what you do, but it’s often what you don’t do that can make a difference. 


  • Don’t require too many interviews. A passive candidate simply doesn’t have the time nor the interest in a long, drawn-out process. It makes them feel like they’re jumping through hoops when they don’t have to, they already have a career – usually a good one. 
  • Don’t dismiss a great candidate. Interestingly, we find many clients feel they need to see equally qualified candidates or other great candidates, so they can compare them. So, they dismiss people who are ideal for the role or they string them along while they look for someone else. Let go of preconceived notions and approaches and embrace the best candidates when you have them. 
  • Don’t bombard candidates with too many technical assessments. Assessments can be great tools but too many of them and assessments that don’t apply to the candidate’s level are insulting. 
  • Don’t be disillusioned by interviewing all A-players. When you partner with a talent strategy firm, like Titus, we only bring you the best candidates, the A-players. We’ve already weeded out the B and C players and don’t want to waste your time. But this is such a novel approach, it can be a shock. 
  • Don’t let too much time lapse. Too often, there is a lag in communication and recruiters are waiting for the hiring company to get in touch. In the meantime, the candidate feels left out in the cold. Staying actively engaged with people is critical – even when they’re not a job candidate. 

Always Be Wooing 

Maybe we’re just romantics at heart, but our team knows that constantly wooing is the key to being great at their jobs. As an example, one of our team members took a chance encounter on a plane, some M&Ms, and wound up recruiting a new hire for Titus! It’s quite a story and it shows how our team works and thinks. 

To be honest, it’s actually a pretty obvious approach–at least for us. Sticking job seekers or active candidates in openings has an incredibly small rate of success; it isn’t where we want to be. We want to have a high success rate because that means we have happier clients and the candidates we’ve developed relationships with are happier, too. It’s a win/win/win situation and those can be hard to come by. Connect with us to learn more about Titus Talent Strategies. 

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