Have you ever called an applicant and they tell you this? Most of us have. The problem is that most of us just say “Okay, thanks” and hang up. That’s absolutely not the right response. Keep in mind that the best people “ARE” employed, so you should always expect that response.
The correct way to respond is to say, “Great Joe, where are you working?” and then find out how long he’s been there. If he’s only been there a few weeks, he’s still finding out about the job and the company and may find out that it’s not the right fit for him. In that case, say something like, “Well congratulations on the new job Joe. Look, I know that not every job or every company turns out to be the right fit, so be sure to keep me in mind if things don’t work out. Is it okay if I check back with you in a month or so to see how things are going?”
If they tell you that they’ve been there for 3 months or more, you need to ask some questions to see if they are really happy where they are. People will sometimes tell you that they’re happy because they think that you might be calling them on behalf of their current employer to test their loyalty. It happens all the time. In any case, now’s your time to communicate to this person what you have to offer and what makes you different from most other companies.
Who cares that they’re working for someone else; you need them on your team. Say something like, “look Joe, I don’t want to put you in an awkward position and I know you’ve got a great job right now, but let’s just talk and see where it goes. Regardless of your current situation, aren’t you at least curious about what we have to offer? Who knows, it could be the perfect fit for both of us. If not, that’s okay.” No matter what the outcome, this person needs to go on your Hot List and you need to stay in touch with them for as long as you’re both in this industry. You also need to ask for referrals. Make every call a productive call.