We’re Putting the Band Back Together: 3 Ways to Rekindle the Flame with Dormant Candidates

Recruiters move at the speed of light most days, juggling multiple jobs at a time and searching for the right fit for each one. Our network is our most valuable tool because this is a group of people with whom we already have a relationship – we’re not starting from scratch. Rapport has already been built, giving us a head start.

So what’s the problem?

Because recruiters are moving so fast jumping between multiple jobs, we sometimes lose contact with valuable members of our network. Hey, it happens to even the best of us.

What do we do when a job that is a perfect fit for that lost member of our network pops up on our desk!? The best answer is to make sure that you treat your network like a cherished flower garden – offer consistent attention to help it bloom and grow.

But we all know the reality is that we can’t always do that. We end up losing that connection, building a section of our network called dormant contacts. These are candidates that we haven’t heard from or reached out to ourselves in some time.

The question must be asked – how do we reach out?

When trying to reconnect with lost connections, it’s important not to give the appearance of an agenda. Our network is valuable, so we must make sure that these estranged candidates know that and feel it. Here are 3 ways to rekindle the flame with your dormant contacts:

Be professional, BUT not overly personal

When reaching out to connections that have gone cold, it’s easy to jump in and use all mediums of contact available to us – Facebook, Snapchat, etc. However, if it’s a platform that is usually used for relaxed personal messages, you run the risk of the communication backfiring. The candidate may assume that you are reaching out for social purposes and not get back to you in a timely manner.

So, how do you reach out professionally? I’ve got an easy rule for this – reach out on any medium that you would use for a professional contact. For example, LinkedIn, email, and, my personal favorite, the telephone – there’s just something about the personal touch of the spoken word.

Be pleasant, BUT make your point!

When reaching out to past connections, if you are too friendly, they will see right through you and you won’t come across as the authentic career agent you really are. Ensure that you send a message that makes an informative and positive first impression.

What do I mean? Glad you asked. Here’s an example:

“Hi, Stephanie. I hope that all is well. It’s been hot here in Atlanta, but I guess it’s hotter in Miami. The last time we spoke, you had just been promoted to HR Manager. I am reaching out because I’ve recently started recruiting for an HR Business Partner role that could be a great fit for you as a next step in your HR career. When is a good time to talk?”


In this message, I’m friendly enough to show that we’ve already connected previously, but I’m straightforward enough to show that this is a business-related message.

Be present, BUT not annoying!

You have successfully reignited a former connection! Awesome! However, this isn’t the end. You have to continue to show interest in the candidate and be ready to answer any and all questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest and tell them that you will find out… oh yeah, and then FIND OUT!

Listen to your rekindled connection. I know that you’re excited, but remember that they are people too, not just a potential placement. Make sure that you respond appropriately and quickly to their comments and questions.

Follow these 3 tips and, as Jake Blues said, you too will be “putting the band back together” with your dormant contacts… and if you play your notes right, future placements!

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