From the blog

Passive Candidate

October 9, 2015 3:54 pm by
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The term ‘passive candidate’ has been used over and over again in the world of recruitment. Why should we as recruiters be trying to attract them and add them to our talent pools? We receive hundreds perhaps thousands of CV’s every week, so why should we be engaging with passive candidates?

Despite passive candidates not actively looking for job and are happy in their current position of employment, we find them desirable because whilst ever they are happy, they aren’t talking to our competitors. And if they aren’t talking to your competitors, then they don’t have a competitive advantage over the company. Passive candidates tend to be more loyal than active candidates, they are highly skilled and offer a proven success record. However, just because a passive candidate is happy in their current position, doesn’t mean that they won’t leave if a more rewarding opportunity presents itself. We therefore need to look at what would make them switch…What would make you?

Career progression… An increase in wage… An improved work/life balance

If you are presenting a candidate with an opportunity to progress their career, you must present a clear understanding of what you are offering them. Outline a set of responsibilities and goals, which provide an overall picture of progression. If you don’t provide this, the less likely that the candidate will engage in the idea of change.

Passive Candidates vs Active Candidates

But how do you know when a candidate isn’t looking for a job? How can you differentiate between an active candidate and a passive candidate?

Outdated CV or Profile; If you request an updated version of a candidates CV and they send this straight through to you, then they are already actively looking for jobs. If they don’t have one, then you might have just stumbled across a passive candidate. Outdated social media profiles may also mean that they are happy in their current role.

No Returned Calls; That frequently heard reply…”no thanks”. Candidates are less likely to talk to recruiters when their loyalty lies with their current employer; don’t expect your call to be returned if you leave a voicemail.

Job Boards; Your recruitment methods such as job boards, branded careers page and advertisements won’t be seen by passive candidates, meaning that your company message won’t be delivered. This is simply because they aren’t looking for a new job. The majority of highly skilled passive candidates look and accept new jobs based on referrals from highly skilled colleagues.

Positivity towards current job; If you ask an active candidate about their current work position, get ready to hear a wide range of negative comments on why they aren’t happy…so much so that you may need to invest in ear plugs. With passive candidates, because they are appreciated at work and a valued member of the team, the response you will receive won’t be negative. If you really want to attract a passive candidate, then the candidate must start to warm to your company before you can even begin your recruitment efforts.

You need to build long-term relationships with passive candidates. By actively engaging with a candidate, you are already developing their perception of the company, including brand awareness. This means that when they begin to actively search for a job, or you present them with an opportunity, they already have a familiarity with the brand and the recruiter. Achieving this level of engagement develops a trust between the candidate and the recruiter, allowing for the candidate to envisage working for the company. Regular engagement however must be informative and not just a waste of their time. If a recruiter continually contacts a candidate with different job opportunities with no thought or personalisation gone into it, the opposite occurs. You will have then have forced the candidate to have a negative impression of the company. A passive candidate is more likely to be attracted to a company who shows a great interest in them and who will go further in attempts at recruiting them.


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