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Getting Value From Uninterested LinkedIn Candidates.

by Matt Edge-Wilkins

8th Feb, 2021


Having spent the last seven years focusing 90% of my hiring strategy on the sourcing and recruitment of passive talent, I have had my fair share of "I'm not interested" responses. What I have learnt though over the years is that "no" doesn’t always mean "no", and that a "no" can still often lead you to a positive outcome. In this short blog, I want to demonstrate how you can still get a positive result from a "not interested" candidate on LinkedIn by giving you a list of things to try next time you receive a non-positive response to an initial LinkedIn InMail you have sent to a passive candidate.

Scenario You have just sent a LinkedIn InMail to a passive candidate about a sales manager role you are recruiting for.

Tip – Your initial InMail shouldn't give this person any details of the role or company you are recruiting for. The slow and steady approach always works best with passive talent. The first message you send should be a brief hello or introduction, and should gauge whether your intended target would be open to looking at an opportunity that you have, and which you believe they would be ideally suited to. If you have a commonality - whether it's an interest, company, connection, etc - that you can mention at this stage, all the better for increasing the likelihood of receiving a response.

Let's say though on this occasion that despite sending a perfectly worded InMail and perhaps even getting to the next stage of the sourcing process and sending the candidate some info about the role and company after receiving a positive response to your initial approach, your perfect candidate simply isn't interested in moving jobs right now. Not all is lost, however. It is still worth doing the following: -

  • Asking them if there is anything you could change about the opportunity that would make it of interest? Sometimes you may have an amazing opportunity (honestly, this is not always just recruiter speak!) that you know would be perfect for this candidate, but for some reason it just doesn’t come across as well as it should through InMail or in the job specification. Also, sometimes the info isn't read or interpreted correctly by the candidate, but with additional explanation can be turned from a negative into a positive. Quite often with a passive candidate, if the opportunity doesn't come across straight away as being "out of this world", they won’t even look into it properly. That's why it's worth probing a little further - in a friendly way - as you can often turn a definite “no” into an “okay, let me give this some further consideration.”
  • If the above tactic hasn't worked, send them another friendly InMail saying you appreciate it's not the right time or opportunity for them at this stage, but you would be grateful if they could mention the opportunity to anyone else they know who they believe might be suitable or interested.This has worked for me personally on numerous occasions in reaching candidates that you would never come across otherwise.
  • If you're not already connected to the candidate, invite them to connect for future opportunities, when the timing or opportunity may be better for them. This will not only mean they're a future potential hire, but it will also open up their network and enable you to explore potential new candidates.
  • Although they have said "not interested" now, it is highly likely that they will become a “yes” or at least a “maybe” at some point in the future. You already know they're a great candidate, so add them to your talent bank for future opportunities, and with all the other "not interested" candidates you will start to build up an exceptionally strong pool of passive candidates that you have already spoken or "connected with."
  • Go back on their profile page and look at the "similar profiles" option (if you haven’t done this already), as this may give you some additional suitable candidates that maybe didn't come up on your original search.

The key thing to remember is that an initial "not interested" response should never be the end of your work with that particular candidate and it certainly isn’t always a deal-breaker. One of my best ever hires said "not interested" to a particular role and company that I approached her about three times, and is now working in the very same role and company. She loves it and has been there for nearly four years. Sourcing passive talent is a bit like dating. A little bit of extra effort can go a long way!

I hope you find the above useful. If you have any questions about the blog or would like to arrange a chat, please contact us at [email protected]

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