Passive vs. Active Candidates: Who is the best hire?

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Passive vs. Active Candidates: Who is the best hire?

The battle rages on – who makes the best hire: active or passive candidates? If you really think about it, however, doesn’t it make more sense that the person currently doing their job at peak performance would be more desirable than the person sitting idle and seeking that position? Seems straightforward, but let’s dig deeper.

Recruiting Passive Candidates: Proven Performance

The passive candidate is already exhibiting the specific characteristics recruiters crave by actively proving their corporate worth, excelling at their skill set, and delivering continuity and consistency to their company. Passive candidate characteristics include:

  • Typically peak performers at their position.
  • Currently employed because they create tangible value.
  • Proficient with specific skills in the areas you need to fill.
  • Already trained.
  • Active in promoting their companies via industry associations, etc.
  • Continuing to build current knowledge of their industry, position and technology.
  • Happy with their responsibilities (otherwise they’d be looking).

Recruiting Active Candidates: Can Be Risky Business

Limiting your potential hires to candidates who actively contact you brings an extensive and uncertain set of recruiting challenges and hiring risks. Typical active candidate characteristics include:

  • Lack of specific experience.
  • Need extensive training/massive learning curve.
  • Extreme reasons why they were fired or left but legal agreements mask truth.
  • Lack of previous employer disclosure clears them to become your problem.
  • Will take any position (until something better comes along).
  • Require additional due diligence, background checks, work history, etc.

Recruiting Cost/Time Considerations

There’s an illusion in recruiter circles that finding and landing passive candidates takes more resources – both time and money – than simply picking active candidates from random sources. This is not the case with the right approach.

Even the most entrenched professional will take notice if a better position is presented to him/her in the right manner. But how do you access this talent pool of people who don’t know you or your company? How do you educate them on your position and your people to motivate them to change their current, familiar situation?

To reach passive candidates the typical tools just aren’t effective. Random, big box job boards don’t work because those candidates are not actively looking. Even passive-active candidates aren’t sincere in their job search.

But one of the passive candidate characteristics listed above is also one of the most cost-effective, direct and response-inducing tools to tap this talent market – professional associations and their job boards.

It’s simple: Many passive candidates are members of specific, professional associations. Those associations may be focused on the skill set you need to fill a position. They more than likely have a specialized job board. You can recruit the best passive candidates directly through those association job boards.

Recruiting through professional association job boards makes you appear as a like-minded, industry-friendly employer which gives you a hiring advantage due to familiarity and common cause.

And the Best Candidate is…

Because the passive candidate is demonstrating, right now, the characteristics recruiters look for and when utilizing the right recruiting tools the answer is easy. The passive candidate is a valuable asset that can deliver immediate results. The passive candidate can very easily be your best candidate.

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