How to Hire the Best Talent: Active vs Passive Candidates

Guide to Passive Candidate Sourcing. Hiring Passive Talent

In the world of recruitment, we often talk about the distinction between active and passive candidates.
Ultimately, our goal is to identify the most suitable candidates, who could be unemployed, currently employed and open to new opportunities, employed but discreetly exploring options, or firmly committed to their current role. You can only determine their status and intentions by engaging with them directly, and each category of candidates comes with distinct motivations and levels of interest.

Navigating these varied candidates requires a tailored recruitment strategy that resonates with all these groups to ensure the successful identification, recruitment, and hiring of the best candidates.

Why is it Important to Consider Both Active and Passive Jobseekers?

A recent statistic uncovered that more than 73% of the candidates today are only passively looking for jobs. In Australia, the figure jumps up to 78%, yet more than half of businesses are overlooking those passive candidates

Your recruitment strategy should be appealing to both active and passive candidate groups. Otherwise, you will not only diminish your talent pool but also miss a chance to win top-quality hires

What is the difference between Active vs. Passive candidates?

Active Candidates:

Active candidates are individuals who are actively seeking new job opportunities. They are typically proactively searching for job openings, submitting applications, attending interviews, and networking with potential employers. These candidates may be currently unemployed or dissatisfied with their current job and actively looking to make a career change. They are readily available and responsive to job offers and recruitment efforts.

Passive Candidates:

Passive candidates, on the other hand, are individuals who are not actively seeking new job opportunities but may be open to considering them if the right opportunity comes along. These candidates are often currently employed and not actively searching for jobs. However, they might be receptive to job offers or conversations with recruiters if approached with compelling opportunities that align with their career goals and interests. Passive candidates are generally not actively applying for positions or attending job fairs; instead, they are discovered through networking, referrals, or direct outreach by recruiters.

According to LinkedIn’s talent trend report, about 15% of passive candidates are preparing to move, but are not applying for jobs. They are not available immediately and will not apply for jobs organically, but can be a great source of candidates in your hiring pool and talent pool.

How to Recruit Passive Candidates

Active candidates are relatively easy to find because they are voluntarily coming to you. They would apply for your job listings using job board services, such as SEEK or Indeed, so good employer branding and job posting techniques are essential to attract those candidates.

However, it is challenging to find passive candidates as they are not actively searching for a role and are generally unreachable via job boards.

This is where the value of a professional recruiter becomes clear.

Here are 5 great ways to find and recruit passive candidates.

1. Discover Passive Candidates Through Social Media

The first, and arguably most effective way to find passive job seekers is through social media, particularly LinkedIn. Harnessing the potential of these platforms is a smart starting point. 

Leverage the tools provided by social media platforms, such as Advanced Search and InMail for LinkedIn. Advanced Search allows you to filter candidates by specific criteria, such as location, industry, job title, and even years of experience. InMail lets you send direct messages to LinkedIn members who aren’t in your network, making it an effective way to initiate conversations with potential passive candidates.

Additionally, LinkedIn offers an array of industry-specific groups and communities where professionals gather to discuss trends and share insights. Engaging with these groups can help you identify individuals who are not actively job-hunting but possess the skills and expertise you’re seeking.

2. Uncovering Talent Through In-Person Interaction

Despite our technologically driven world, there’s no substitute for face-to-face interactions. Even when dealing with candidates not actively seeking opportunities, there are avenues to meet them personally.

This strategy is exciting because it often leads to encounters with passionate individuals. For instance, if you’re seeking a sales team member, look for events related to sales techniques improvement. Attending such events can introduce you to dedicated passive candidates eager to enhance their skills.

3. Leverage Employee Referrals

Sometimes, your current employees are your best source of recommendations. The most valuable additions to your team are frequently suggested by your existing workforce.

Why? They possess an intimate understanding of your company’s culture, and a poor recommendation would reflect negatively on them. Additionally, there’s a foundation of trust between the recommending employee and the candidate.

Involve your current employees in the search for passive candidates. Craft a well-worded email and consider incentivising their recommendations with rewards like financial bonuses, flexible hours, or vouchers to foster competition and boost participation.

4. Exploring Your Existing Talent Pool

Have you previously rejected candidates because they weren’t the right fit for a particular role, yet you sensed they could be a valuable addition to your team? Delve into your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to revisit past candidates. Review your talent pool and pipelines, focusing on those who reached the final stages of the hiring process but were ultimately not selected.

While they may not have been the right fit for their previous role, they might be an ideal solution for your current vacancy. Keep in mind that these candidates were previously declined by your company, which can make reestablishing trust and interest more challenging. The candidate experience plays a pivotal role here. A positive experience, even after rejection, increases the likelihood of candidates wanting to work for your company in the future. Conversely, a negative experience reduces their inclination to rejoin your organisation.

5. Utilise External Recruiters

External recruiters or staffing agencies can play a pivotal role in your pursuit of passive candidates. Their expertise and extensive networks can greatly assist in identifying and engaging individuals who may not be actively seeking new job opportunities.

These professionals possess vast candidate networks and specialised industry knowledge. Their insights into specific sectors can help pinpoint where passive candidates with the desired skill sets and qualifications may be found.

These recruiters have the ability to discreetly approach passive candidates who may not respond to traditional job postings. They are skilled at initiating confidential conversations and presenting your job opportunities in an enticing manner.

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Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the quest for passive candidates is a strategic advantage for any organisation looking to secure top talent. While active job seekers are readily available, passive candidates can expand your talent pool and provide a wealth of opportunities, particularly for niche, specialised, or in-demand roles.

In this blog, we’ve explored a range of tactics to uncover these hidden gems.

Remember that each method has its own strengths and should be employed in alignment with your specific recruitment goals and organisational culture. By diversifying your recruitment strategy and utilising these techniques, you can harness the potential of passive candidates and secure the best talent for your team’s success.

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