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Building relationships with passive candidates


Using many communication forms helps build relationships with passive candidates Posted by Alexandra Cappetta
Using many communication forms helps build relationships with passive candidates

If you’re waiting until passive candidates are actively seeking positions to start building a relationship, you could be waiting too long. There may be certain standout individuals you want to consider for your open positions, but for them to consider you when the time comes, you will need to stay a step ahead of where they are in their job search.

Here are some ways you can actively build relationships with passive prospects once you’ve initiated a connection:

  1. Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate
    Part of being a great recruiter is learning to anticipate candidates’ openness to new career moves. As you sharpen this skill, use what you know: Residents and fellows are closer to considering where they’ll practice than medical students. It’s likely those who have been matched and completed their training are going to be actively seeking opportunities, while passive prospects will be those still in training or already with a health system.

    Regardless of who interests you, make sure you have a good read on how soon they’ll be looking for openings - or if they’re looking at all - and eventually you can customize the best strategies to reach out.


  1. Connect first, inquire later
    Sending a message and invitation to connect on LinkedIn can go a long way to plant a seed for your passive prospects. Instead of feeling like they’re being headhunted or the target of a mass advertisement, it offers the impression you’re expanding your network with interesting connections (them!). Whether the passive candidate is still in residency or fellowship, or already with an organization, this opens a door without the expectation to think too far ahead or make a swift change.

Remember: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Once you’ve initiated contact, you can then focus on nurturing the connection and expanding the conversation as it feels appropriate. Ultimately, your ease of retaining hires later begins now with how effectively you forge connections.


  1. Offer ways for them to advance

Passive candidates will remember recruiters who make an effort to empower them outside their job search. Make yourself available and known as an industry expert and a trusted resource to every candidate.

When you reach out, offer job-search resources like PracticeLink Magazine, The Career Advancement Resource for Physicians, and First Practice, The Resident and Fellow Career Guide. Doing so will show passive prospects that you’re not just investing in them for their immediate availability, but because you have genuine interest in building their expertise - and a connection that could lead to something more when the time is mutually right.

  1. Reach out to GME programs
    Some of your most desirable candidates may still be in GME programs and won’t be ready to start seriously considering opportunities. Regardless, you can still find ways to make an impression they’ll remember. This could be distinguishing yourself as a resource in the ways mentioned above or by making your organization’s presence more recognizable to these communities over time.

    TIP: PracticeLink clients can plan their GME outreach using PracticeLink GME, a free database of over 11,000 programs nationwide. There you can search residency and fellowship programs by keyword, specialty, city, state, program, sponsor list and participating facilities. Plus, you can access contact information to reach out and start laying a foundation before a program’s residents and fellows start looking.

  2. Stay on top of social media

As you’re reaching out and sending invitations to connect, your profile will be a clue as to who you are, how and what you communicate, and the kind of experience candidates will have working with you.

Make a point to develop a social media strategy. You might reach out to ’X’ number of passive prospects each week, send a certain number of messages or publish a set number of posts. Focus on building your content with material that can be of use to candidates to advance their careers, improve their job searches and familiarize themselves with you and your health system’s values.


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