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How to Convince a Candidate That Isn't Interested

By Marga Salvador on August 8, 2016

Everyone talks about the job search like it's a game and the recruiters are the game masters. In many ways, this is true. Recruiters set the guidelines for hiring (rules), they develop the application process (playing field), and they choose the candidates (players). But just like any game, there are those players who are so good at the game that they turn the tables and you end up chasing them.

A candidate for a job need not be the most skilled or accomplished out there. For whatever reason, this person fits the role you are trying to fill but they just aren't falling for the bait. Here's what you do:
Persuade, don't convince.
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First of all, there is a difference between the two. You can't just put your cards on the table and hope they will change their mind. That is to convince. As a recruiter, you want the best people for your company and this requires more elbow grease than wishful thinking. Being proactive in the quest for candidates is a process and that's how you persuade them. In this situation, you want them more than they want you.

RELATED: What to Do When a Candidate Rejects Your Job Offer

Probe and understand why they aren't interested.
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Whether they initially applied for your company or you approached them, they aren't interested. Before anything else, you need to understand why, or in this case, why not. Ask questions but be subtle about it. "What sort of career do you see for yourself?", "What sparks your interest?", "How do you think you can make an impact?", "Describe your ideal job, workplace, etc." Once you have their why not, you're in a better position to re-pitch the role, without actually changing it, to them and if something resonates or clicks with the candidate this time, you're in the right direction.
Re-communicate the benefits of working with your company.
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A recruiter's job is to bring people in. This is sales. If your usual pitch for the job doesn't hook them in, you need to re-word, re-angle, and re-direct your pitch so that the candidate sees a different side of the job, one that s/he likes. Most recruiters don't have power to change the job descriptions they are recruiting for but there are more than a few ways you can sell "digital marketing manager" or "sales consultant." Just remember that you have a brand to adhere to and that this new pitch still communicates that.
Make an offer they can't say no to.
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If 1) you do have the power to tweak the job description, or the benefits it comes with, 2) the first few steps did not work, and 3) this candidate is really worth this detour, then by all means, revisit the initial offer and without giving too much away, add a few extras like a salary bump, additional perks, varied work options. Candidates nowadays consider work culture and benefits almost as much as the job description so this is definitely worth considering.

And that is how you ultimately win the game. Good luck, recruiters!

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