Monthly Archives: June 2016

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

Time to Hire Continues to Grow

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.

Recruiting Passive Candidates in the Job Hopping Era

When we talk about talent acquisition, we typically use the active voice. HR leaders utilize data in the most effective ways. Recruiters pursue the best candidates via the latest technology. Sometimes we even go hunting…for purple squirrels, that is. And while it’s incredibly important for recruiters to stay (pro)active, there is a passive elephant in the room we need to discuss.

Approximately 75% of global candidates are considered passive job seekers. These people are employed, and not actively looking for new opportunities. If the majority of the workforce falls into the passive category, it’s safe to assume the majority of top quality hires are passive, too. In this post we’ll look at passive candidates in more detail, and why recruiters should pay close attention to them.

What Is A Passive Candidate?

Passive candidates are distinct from active ones in that active candidates are searching for a job. They may or may not be unemployed, but they are far more motivated than passive candidates. Which is part of what makes recruiting a passive candidate so difficult. Talent acquisition leaders have to make an extra effort not only to identify quality passive candidates, but also to reach out to them and establish a connection.

Today’s passive candidates are especially fickle. The economy is slowly bouncing back, and candidates of all ages have become used to more choice, more flexibility, and more control over every aspect of their lives. While a passive candidate may be thankful just to have a job today, the concept of job hopping has become so normal that the loyalty of staying with one company for years, even decades, no longer holds a person back from considering a new job.

And yet the number of passive candidates remains high. Familiarity may breed contempt, but comfort breeds complacency. Many passive candidates may be open to a new job, but as long as they have a steady paycheck and intriguing office gossip, they might not make the switch from active to passive. This is where engaging recruitment strategies need to step in.

Why Do Recruiters Want Passive Candidates?

Passive candidates are attractive to recruiters for many reasons. If they already have a job, they probably have skills and knowledge that are important to other employers. And being employed, they can already guarantee some level of experience in the work place. Plus, there is a good chance a passive candidate will not already be interviewing elsewhere when you find them.

And as the population ages, recruiters are finding passive candidates more likely to be Millennial workers than ever before. By the first quarter of 2015, the number of Millennial workers rose to 53.5 million, passing their Baby Boomer colleagues and catching up to Generation X, to make up 34% of the workforce.

Millennials are perhaps the most likely candidates to switch jobs sooner rather than later, and so recruiters would do well to focus on quality hires among this group. As of January 2014, the median tenure for employees of all ages was 4.6 years. But among workers ages 25-34 (34 is the high end of the Millennial age range today) that figure drops to 3 years. And it gets even lower among their younger counterparts.

Passive candidates are already attractive to recruiters. But if those candidates are more likely to be Millennials, and less likely to stay in their current job for the long term, HR leaders would do well to target them before someone else does.

Be the Company Passive Talent Wants to Work For

If a passive candidate is identified as a quality hire to your company, it’s time to get proactive. Forward-thinking recruitment strategies that can forecast future needs and extend engaging employer branding across all channels will be in the best position to attract passive candidates.

We already know passive candidates are not necessarily looking for a new job. On top of that, they may not have even heard of your company, or they might think you’re not hiring. Recruiters should focus on engaging passive candidates in a way that excites them about the company, and makes them want to learn more.

The strategy should be approached in a very inbound marketing type of way. It has to have elements of great content, nurture marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and so on. Referral incentives are also a must here. Job seekers—passive or active—should be treated like any other consumer or potential buyer, which means you’ve got to be in the right (digital) place at the right time. Plus, recruiters have to be equipped with the skills to convert casual lookers into something more if given the opportunity.

No matter how you locate, and reach out to passive candidates, it’s important to remember how much your employer brand will play a role in the process. You can’t just turn your best side towards the camera and smile–passive candidates probably won’t approach you (unless enticed), and you definitely can’t expect them to do all the work for you. Being proactive means most things you do now will pay off in the future.download