For recruiters, getting applications in some industries is incredibly easy. There is far more talent out there than roles available. However, in other industries, getting plenty of quality applications can seem like an insurmountable challenge. That’s where active vs passive candidates come in. In these tougher industries, recruiters need to tap into passive candidate pools to discover unique talent.
What are Active Candidates?
Active candidates are intentionally seeking out new positions. They have either left or want to leave their previous employment and are looking for new jobs. These people might be searching for good employers, scrolling on job boards, or using social media to find a new role.
This will be the main source of your job applications unless you specifically try to target passive candidates.
What are Passive Candidates?
Passive candidates are completely different. They are generally already employed and may even be happy in their current role. They aren’t trying to look for new work, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t take a new job if presented with one. They don’t often apply for roles unless prompted to do so.
You’re not likely to get many applications from passive candidates unless you seek them out.
Active vs Passive Candidates – Which is Better?
Many more people are passive candidates than active – it’s generally a 70/30 split of the workforce, with 70% being passive. That’s a huge amount of untapped potential applicants for your open positions. So, passive candidates are not necessarily better or more qualified than active candidates, but they are a useful market to access for any recruiter.
If you are hiring in a field where there is a real lack of qualified applicants, that’s when it becomes truly necessary for recruiters to focus on reaching passive candidates. For example, it is currently challenging to recruit in the healthcare, IT, manufacturing, and engineering sectors. Recruiters in these areas may find passive recruitment strategies helpful to gain more applications.
How to Find Great Passive Talent
As a recruiter, you already know how to get those active candidates to apply for your roles. You often just need to post them, and these people will apply. Getting passive candidates is much more of a challenge. Here’s our advice on how to do it.
Ask for Employee Referrals
Put out the word to your current staff that you’re seeking referrals for open positions. Your employees are the most knowledgeable about what it takes to succeed in your organization. This means that their suggestions for new staff can be extremely valuable. Plus, they will only recommend people they truly believe in because otherwise, a bad hire can reflect poorly on them. The people they refer will often be passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for new work.
One excellent way to find passive candidates is through social media, especially LinkedIn. You can search LinkedIn via criteria such as area, experience, and job titles. If you do this and directly message qualified potential candidates, they may often apply even if they aren’t trying to find a new job. This can help to convert a passive job seeker into an active one as you have connected with them directly and personally.
Use Your Database
You likely have a database full of past job applicants or those who have contacted you, expressing an interest in roles. This is a wonderful talent pool that you already have at your fingertips. Perhaps these people narrowly missed out on a role or were better qualified for a different type of position. They may be your current passive candidates that you only need to contact when a new job comes up that suits them.
Optimize your recruitment process to be as smooth as possible for your candidates. The last thing you want to do is turn someone off working for your company because they didn’t have a good candidate experience. Remember that while you will decline most job applicants, you may want to put these people in other roles in the future. So, work on your candidate experience and keep in touch with top talent to keep the relationship going should you need them in future.
Post on Social Media
Posting on social media can help people to remember and recognize your company. Whether you’re going for active vs passive candidates, this is a useful tool either way. Social media provides an additional platform to share your new job advertisements. If you share these, they will reach your followers on every platform. Each follower you have is a potential job candidate, or they may refer someone else to apply for the role, so this can be a valuable source of applications.
Research Your Audience
Research what your target audience responds well to. An out of the blue request to apply for a role may not always be welcome. That’s why you should start with advertising and social media posts. Warm up the audience for when you eventually ask them to apply for a role. The way you reach them will depend on your audience’s interests and behaviors, so research is key.
Find Out Where You Lose Candidates
At what stage are you losing candidates? If you don’t know, you need to find out. You can use many different types of tracking to figure out where candidates stop engaging with you. For example, if they don’t respond to your messages or engage with your posts. Or maybe they start the application form but never finish it. This suggests that there is an issue in the application process that you need to address. Looking at active vs passive candidates can be an interesting metric as well. If active candidates don’t complete an application form, there must be a problem with it.
Finding those one in a million recruits who will be extremely productive and energized at work is a tough ask. However, by tapping into the market of passive candidates, you can increase your chances of finding your new star employee. In the question of active vs passive candidates, neither is better. However, in some industries, you will have to contact passive candidates just to get enough qualified applications for your open positions. Do it the right way, and you may find that you have a flood of people applying for each new job you post.