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How do you recruit someone who’s already on the job?



Often, when we decide to create a new position, we have someone in mind who might be a perfect fit. But as we saw in a previous article, the right candidates don’t always apply. And yet, in 90% of cases, “talent hunting” or candidate prospecting is based on contact with people who already have a job. So how do you recruit someone who’s already in the job?

The aim of this article is to give you tips and advice on how to recruit a candidate who is already employed by another company.

Is it possible to recruit someone who's already in the job?

It’s perfectly possible to recruit someone from another company, whatever the nature of their contract. There are, however, some special features, particularly as regards the candidate’s entitlement to unemployment benefits. However, this has little impact on your arguments for recruiting him, as ideally his employment contract will start on the date his previous contract ended.

Now that we’ve demonstrated the legal feasibility of recruiting an existing employee, let’s take a look at how to convince them to join you.

The aim of this article is to give you tips and advice on how to recruit a candidate who is already employed by another company.

What are the nuances of the recruitment process?

1st nuance: Your job offer

A profile already in place is unlikely to be open to new opportunities. You need to offer something different to his current job. In 2023, the two most popular factors, which will continue to increase in 2024, are :

  • No surprise: salary
  • Teleworking days

2nd nuance: The recruitment process itself

There’s a significant difference in the balance of power between a candidate who applies and a candidate you go out and find. Such recruitment requires genuine empathy and a deeper understanding of the candidate’s needs.

Rely on the technique of structured interviews so that you can bounce back and forth as you find out more about the candidate.

For example, if the candidate tells you about his beautiful vacation home or his passion for gardening, then he’ll probably be very sensitive to telecommuting conditions, or if he expresses the fact that his work is far from home.

3rd nuance: Contact volume

These candidates are, by definition, experienced and talented. His current employer wouldn’t keep him if he didn’t. So you can expect counter-proposals or withdrawals, even if the candidate is well advanced in your recruitment process.

To counter this, there’s no secret: you’ll need to contact several hundred people.

You have to make your own luck!

Once you’ve realized that this type of recruitment allows you to have a high level of qualified candidates and therefore limit recruitment errors, you decide to contact several hundred people already in post. Manually? No, not at all! At Stepward, we’ve set up an entire automation system for prospecting candidates.

processus recrutement

How can you automate your approaches for this type of profile?

Automation is based on three key steps:

  1. Sourcing candidates
  2. Automated contact
  3. Response management

In this article, we’ll concentrate on step 2. For candidate sourcing, check out this detailed article on automating your candidate search. For response management, I invite you to take a closer look at MirrorProfiles and more specifically MirrorChat, a LinkedIn messaging centralization tool featuring an intelligent system of pre-recorded responses and TTY synchronization.

Automating the contact process requires a certain amount of technical expertise. You’ll need Sales Navigator or Recruiter Lite and an automation tool like Waalaxy, NeoStaff, Lemlist or La Growth Machine.

Once you’ve uploaded your database of candidates, the automation tool will allow you to create a sequence of approach messages. The principle resembles a probability tree, with automatic reminders to maximize your response rate. On a recruitment campaign, the statistics are high, with an average acceptance rate of 50% and a response rate of over 45%. Here’s one of our use cases with Valiantys, we recruited their Head of Sales in less than 5 weeks.

Once the technical setup is in place, you’ll need to write approach messages that are impactful and differentiating. Don’t forget that the balance of power is reversed here. You need to contact the candidate and make it clear that you like their profile and need them. Not the other way around! Above all, don’t send the offer directly as a pdf or on a link. Start by talking to him about his career plans and so on. For all the best practices in copywriting for recruitment, here’s a detailed article.


Recruiting an existing candidate is entirely possible, and even advisable. At Stepward, we’ve tested job boards and inbound marketing for recruitment, but we’ve decided to focus our recruitment offer on outbound candidate or candidate prospecting. There are two reasons for this. The first is that candidates are often better, and the success rate of keeping them with the company is higher. The second reason is that we have mastered contact automation. This enables us to deliver quickly and efficiently to the companies we support.

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