The Active Vs. Passive Candidate
When you’re recruiting for a new employee to join your organisation, candidates will be either active or passive, and with more than 15 years’ experience developing and leading teams specialising in technology recruitment, I’ve heard many views on recruiting each type. There’s a lot of potential for positives and negatives with both candidate types, but have you ever stopped to consider its importance and impact across your company?
Do you know if it’s mostly active or passive candidates that you hire? Are you aware of which type is more successful once they join and which you retain for the longest? Is it something you’re even tracking, measuring and improving in your company? Do you instinctively think, or already know that one is more attractive than the other? Or are you simply missing out by not getting to interview and choose from both talent pools with your talent attraction methods?
Before we go into the arguments for and against each, let’s first understand which is which.
The Active Candidate: the active candidate approaches you about working for your company. This can be through responding to one of your job adverts, or by directly contacting your company to enquire about potential career opportunities. Or they may have applied to your vacancy through a job advertisement placed by a recruitment consultancy you’ve partnered with.
The Passive Candidate: the passive candidate isn’t actively looking for a new job. They become a candidate by showing interest after being directly approached by a hiring manager, a friend or former colleague now in your company, a member of your company’s talent attraction team, or through a recruitment consultancy that’s proactively headhunted them on your behalf.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Each
So, what are the main advantages and disadvantages of both the passive and active candidate that you should consider? And are you questioning these during your talent attraction and selection processes?
Now you’ve sharpened your knowledge and thoughts, what next?
First, get a view on the current picture in your company to understand what is and isn’t working for you and your teams. Review the talent you’ve hired over recent years. How many applicants were active and how many were passive? Or has one talent pool been significantly absent from your talent attraction pipelines? What are the ratios for interviewing, offering, joining and then going on to either succeed or fail? If this is too big a task to do accurately, or you just don’t have the data, then select some stand-out candidates that succeeded and ones that didn’t in order to identify any patterns and actionable insights.
What do the numbers tell you? Do you have a good balance of both active and passive candidates? Is there a trend on offers made or on offers accepted? Do you seem to favor an active or passive candidate more and if so, can you determine why? Which type do you retain the longest, have performance issues with, or see exceeding expectations?
If your company isn’t gathering this data, having a heightened awareness, or better still, beginning to collect and analyse this information on a regular basis could have a huge impact on your talent attraction, retention and staff performance.
Finally, ensure you’re confident that your interview process flags and thoroughly assesses the potential pros and cons of both active and passive candidates. And if there’s just one takeaway from reading this blog, implement a process to monitor whether or not your talent attraction methods are providing you with the right mix of active and passive candidates. Reviewing this regularly will provide you with actionable insights and a fresh perspective on your talent attraction and employee retention; helping you to recruit the right people for you and your company.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to have a chat and learn more about the above, or if you'd like to know more about Talentspot and how we help our customers with their talent attraction.