Passive Candidates
December 24, 2023
min read

Passive Candidates

Krissy Davis
Krissy Davis

Are you tired of the same old recruiting strategies that produce limited results? It's time to tap into the power of tech communities and unlock a whole new world of talent. Community-based approaches offer a refreshing twist on traditional sourcing methods, allowing you to connect with passive candidates more subtly and engagingly. Instead of bombarding them with direct cold call messages, why not immerse yourself in the very communities where they gather? 

By participating in these communities, you can effortlessly promote your brand, share valuable insights, and establish meaningful relationships. This indirect engagement captures candidates' attention and cultivates genuine interest in your company. So, if you're ready to revolutionise your recruitment game, read on as we explore the art of recruiting passive candidates through community-based approaches.  


Understanding passive candidates in tech

Understanding passive candidates in the tech industry is essential for successful recruitment. These highly skilled professionals aren’t actively seeking new job opportunities but may be open to the right ones. However, as they’re most likely satisfied in their current roles, traditional recruitment methods may not be effective. 

Tech professionals, particularly the ones with exceptional skills, are in high demand, and they often receive messages from recruiters on a daily basis. However, this aggressive and pushy approach has made most tech specialists wary of recruitment tactics, as they tend to lack authenticity and miss the mark. Instead, they prefer establishing genuine connections, receiving personalised experiences, and engaging with brands that share their values.

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The benefits of community-based approaches

There are several unique advantages to using community-based approaches. Here are a few: 

1. Organically build brand awareness

By creating a presence in tech communities, you can easily establish credibility and trust through genuine engagement. This approach allows you to cultivate a pipeline of candidates over time, tapping into hidden talent pools that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. 

2. Direct access to relevant networks

By gaining access to these communities, you can build relationships with those already highly valued within the tech industry. These networks are great when it comes to referrals. 

3. Easy access to portfolios   

Most people within tech communities showcase their projects, which would make it easier for you to review their work before offering an interview. Ultimately, this will save time and effort. 

4. Faster hiring times

Communities allow you to build strong relationships that you can leverage to move promising candidates through the pipeline quickly and fill positions faster. 

Strategies for engaging with tech communities

Community engagement is not just a short-term tactic; it’s a long-term strategy that can produce incredible results. By dedicating time and effort to establishing trust and developing authentic relationships, you can access a concealed pool of exceptional talent and enhance your employer brand significantly.

But where do you start? Below are steps you can use to engage with tech communities successfully.

1. Identifying the right communities for your company

You’ll need to start by researching and identifying the right target communities. Think beyond the obvious platforms and explore industry-specific communities, online forums, meetups, conferences, and social media groups that professionals in your desired skill set and industry frequent. 

It's crucial to go beyond the surface and explore niche communities that cater to specific technologies, interests, or demographics. By doing so, you'll not only engage with potential candidates but also demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of their unique passions and expertise.

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2. Be an active participant, not just a recruiter 

Show off your knowledge and establish yourself as not just a recruiter but as someone who’s also willing to participate - tech guys and girls prefer this! Listen and learn from the community, paying attention to their needs and current trends. By gaining this valuable insight, you'll be able to customise your approach and distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd. 

You can be active by asking insightful questions, offering help (answering questions), or attending online or offline meetups, hackathons, workshops, or conferences hosted by the community. The more you engage, the more likely your next candidate will remember you.  

3. Showcase your company culture and values

Before you show off your company culture, make sure it’s a good one! When recruiting tech gurus, you need to think more than “Here’s our mission; this is what we value; what do you think?”. 

As mentioned earlier, this industry is in high demand, so most, if not all, developers are being approached with the same recruitment 101 spiel about values and culture. By creating a genuinely robust and healthy company culture, you’ll be more likely to recruit and retain highly skilled individuals. Remember, your previous employees are your biggest references - actions speak louder than words. 

Does your company offer great perks? Is there room for growth? Are there WFH opportunities? Do you have a free lunch every Friday? What can your company bring to the table besides pay?  

4. Continue building relationships 

Engaging a few times within the community isn’t going to be that beneficial. To stand out and be remembered, you need to nurture the relationships you make through these communities. Follow them on other channels, such as Linkedin, where you can continue engaging with the content they share. Get them familiar with your name and company. 

5. Take it offline

You may even want to connect with developers that already exist in your company - have lunch with them or grab a coffee. Surrounding yourself with this community offline can be helpful if you don’t know much about the industry, as it can help you gain valuable insights about the people you’re trying to recruit. 

6. Keep track of everyone you engage with 

Make sure to keep lists or spreadsheets of the people you engage with within these communities. Not only will it save you the embarrassment of contacting them after they’ve already rejected your offer, but it’ll give you quick and easy access to names, contact details, job titles, projects, etc., whenever you need to hire. 

You can either do this manually through Excel or by using a Talent pool management system.  

The importance of nurturing long-term relationships

Building strong connections with potential candidates not only increases the chances of successful recruitment but also fosters a sense of trust and loyalty. For example, if you’re known throughout the tech community as someone who can be trusted (not just a pesky recruiter), those seeking job opportunities will most likely come to you.  

By nurturing these relationships it also means you’ll have a list of candidates you can pick from when a job opens up. It also means it’s more likely you’ll get a yes when asked if they want to interview for the position.

Overcoming challenges when recruiting passive candidates

One key challenge is handling rejection or disinterest gracefully. Not every candidate will be interested in exploring new opportunities, and that's okay. When faced with disinterest, it's crucial to maintain a positive and respectful attitude. Instead of pushing, take the opportunity to nurture relationships by offering to stay connected and providing value in other ways. 

It’s also important to avoid spamming or oversaturation in communities. Bombarding candidates with generic messages or excessively promoting job openings can be counterproductive. Instead, take a targeted and personalised approach, tailoring your communication to each individual and focusing on building relationships rather than simply advertising. You can successfully recruit passive tech candidates and foster a thriving tech community by navigating these challenges with tact and sincerity.


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