8 Ways To Approach Passive Instructional Design Candidates (Without Being Creepy)

How To Approach Passive Instructional Design Candidates: A Different Way Of Thinking About Recruitment

When seeking eLearning talent that’s difficult to find, often the best route is to focus on passive Instructional Design candidates who have the skills your organization needs. But, one must not be fooled into thinking that merely by approaching a passive candidate in a social network or business mixer will be a piece of cake. Instead, this must be approached with care.

Approaching passive Instructional Design candidates requires an entirely new mindset from traditional recruitment techniques. Essentially, it is akin to making cold calls as a sales professional. When conducted correctly, approaching passive candidates in the Instructional Design industry can result in excellent hires and retention rates. However, when approached incorrectly it can turn off a potential candidate in seconds, leaving them to never be interested in you or your company ever again.

With this in mind, It's important that you take this very seriously and follow the below tips.

1. Make Use Of Your Industry Connections

Because it is an emerging technology in many industries, the likelihood that you as a recruiter and a current Instructional Design professional will have some common connections. Take a look at your client list, people that you are associated with on social networks, and any he recently placed candidates in this market. Cross reference them against the passive candidates to see if you have any mutual contacts. Ask for an introduction to a new candidate via these contacts. It's less creepy and candidates will appreciate that you took the time to be introduced to a colleague.

2. Evaluate Candidates Based On Skills, Not Current Job Roles

Approaching passive candidates also requires thinking outside of the box. For example, most recruiters are looking for job titles and requirements as they reach out to candidates. Instead, focus your efforts on evaluating Instructional Design candidates on their actual skill sets and knowledge. You may find examples of this across many different channels. A learning design professional maybe published as an author, maybe teaching classes, or maybe creating courses for an organization. Look at these skills and be able to complement the candidate based on these merits.

3. Build A Relationship With Passive Candidates

Your role at this stage is only to connect with and build a relationship with a passive Instructional Design candidate. This is not a time to sell the candidate on any particular job for your company. Take off your recruiter’s hat and instead, take the time to get to know the candidate and his or her goals. By showing keen interest in the candidate you will demonstrate that you are someone worth staying connected to. In the future, you will be able to leverage this relationship as you introduce the candidate to a new career opportunity.

4. Learn What The Candidate Desires The Most

As you get to know each candidate, you will begin to understand what drives the individual in his or her career. For some people it's as simple as the financial benefits that come with being an e-learning professional. For others it's the reward in a job well done. Still in many cases is the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in a career. According to a Bersin by Deloitte report, millennial talent values training and development benefits above all others. As more younger learning design talent moves into the labor pool, this is something to be mindful of.

5. Offer Feedback And Be A Cheerleader For The Candidate

Nearly every person regardless of where he or she is working, or the level of responsibility, responds well to positive feedback from other industry professionals. Take the time to note whenever your passive candidates achieve something in their career such as publishing a new blog article or earning a new credential. If a passive candidate receives a promotion make sure to say congratulations. Share and promote their social media posts. Fairly soon you will be known as a cheerleader for your candidate and Will be received very warmly.

6. Ask To Promote The Candidate To A Potential Hiring Company

This is perhaps the most important tip of all. It requires you to have perfect timing. Once you have gotten to know the candidate an established excellent report it can be a good time to ask the candidate if you may have permission to forward their credentials to a potential Company looking for their kind of talent. Consider the level that's a passive candidate has achieved along with previous work history to determine how quickly you can promote them. Don't promote or discuss any kind of job change without first determining the interest of the candidate, or may annoy them.

7. Keep In Touch, But Don't Stalk

Maintain your connection with each passive candidate with an occasional check-in or comment to their social posts. Monitor candidates from afar. However, avoid being overbearing or stalking them. Send a mix of “I thought you might be interested” style messages that include industry updates, opportunities, and ideas. Don’t make it all about recruiting. Always thank the candidate for their time.

8. Be Proactive And Persistent

At the same time as being respectful of the passive candidate’s current job and time, also don't take “no” for an answer. Learn how to overcome certain common objections like not having time to talk or a resistance to change. These can mean other things to the candidate. Make it convenient for candidates to schedule time for meetings with you. Give them incentives for taking the time to talk. Be positive and proactive.

Final Word

It can take time and careful management to approach and win over passive Instructional Design talent. However, when a candidate is ripe for a new opportunity, all of this pays off well.