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Active vs Passive Candidates – Does it matter?

almost 6 years ago by Clare Cazaly

Recruitment consultant, active and passive candidates, recruitment, engineering recruitment

Active vs Passive Candidates – Does it matter?

When filling positions both internally and for our Client’s, in essence we are just trying to find the best candidate for the job. That candidate may be unemployed, employed but looking, employed by not looking, or employed and not open to a new opportunity, you don’t know until you speak with them. If they are an active or passive candidate shouldn’t really matter, what matters more is that these different types of candidates will have different motives and levels of interest, so your recruitment strategy must appeal to each group to attract them.

What is an Active Candidate?

An active candidate is actively looking for work, so it does not necessarily mean that they are unemployed, but it can do. This group is looking for a new opportunity for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re concerned about their current employer’s stability
  • They would like to take on more responsibility
  • Their job was outsourced
  • Their employer went out of business

It is from here that many of the open positions are filled because these are the people that are open to a new opportunity, and are proactively trying to find their next position.

Job postings are the most common way employers reach active job seekers, and increasingly a vehicle for getting your opportunities to the right audience.

Sourcing active candidates can be an alternative to job postings, or supplement that approach to bring you even more qualified candidates. Since active candidates are working on their personal brand and submitting their resume, they can be easy to find.  

What is a Passive Candidate?

A passive candidate is employed, but not currently looking for a new opportunity, this group accounts for 75% of the workforce.

The benefit to a passive candidate is that, since they are not looking for a new opportunity, they probably won’t be interviewing with anyone else.

They haven’t expressed any interest in your company so far, so you want to get them excited about speaking with you. Your initial reach out should include an introduction to you and your company, and provide some reasons why you’re reaching out and why this move would benefit the candidate.

No matter how you find your passive candidates, keep in mind that they most likely don’t have a resume handy. You’ll definitely want to offer them an alternative way to share their background, and you probably want to do away with the application. Remember, YOU found THEM, so let them know why you reached out to them.

Develop a Recruitment Strategy which Appeals to Each Group

Employment Branding; Find out what is important to each group and ensure that you are getting across all the positives about working for your business.

Killer Job Postings; Use relevant keywords to ensure that your tops are hitting the top of the pile and make it easy to apply.

Social Media Presence; Get your message across on social media in a way that reflects the business on the most appropriate platform.

Proactive Sourcing; Swot up on Boolean to make sure that you are getting the most out of your search and if you are not getting results fast then change it.

Referral Program; Whether the candidate is interested or not start networking, who knows who you will uncover!!!!

Positive Candidate Experience; Create a good first impression, offer flexible interview times and always provide updates and feedback.