Some recruiters believe that it makes a whole lot of sense to search for passive candidates, or workers who are perfectly satisfied in their current roles and aren’t proactively searching for new gigs.
Essentially, their reasoning goes something like this: Passive candidates are content with their work, so their companies view them as assets and treat them well, giving them no reason to look elsewhere. Since they’re not looking for new jobs, hiring managers won’t have to compete against any other offers (or at least not as many). Those recruiters are taking the wrong approach.
Why Target Active Candidates?
It turns out that passive candidates are exceedingly rare — and perhaps even on the verge of extinction. According to a survey cited by the Wall Street Journal, 90% of professionals took proactive steps to land a new job in the six months before they actually got an offer. Beyond that, an impressive 65% of professionals started looking for yet another new job within three months of switching employers.
So thanks to the Internet and the proliferation of mobile devices, job boards, and social networks, pretty much no one is a passive candidate anymore. When you stop to think about it, this makes sense. According to our 2015 Employee Engagement Report, nearly 25% of employees would leave their jobs for a 10% raise at another company. Everyone works for money, and in many cases, a lot of us are always looking for more of it.
What’s more, we found that not even one out of three workers feel as though their employers value their contributions. Employees who don’t feel valued at work probably aren’t super excited to show up to the office every day. It follows that those who find themselves in this group are likely actively searching for new employers who will notice their efforts.
All told, it’s time for organizations to update their recruitment strategies to focus extensively on active candidates. In addition to the fact that there are simply a ton of them, active candidates also:
Make Sure Their Résumés and Portfolios Are Current
Who knows when a passive candidate updated their portfolio last? Active candidates keep critical information up-to-date, which accelerates the hiring process.
Respond to Emails and Calls in a Prompt Manner
Passive candidates aren’t expecting calls. They may not answer an unfamiliar number. Similarly, they might not check their personal email because they’re not expecting anything important. Active candidates, on the other hand, are glued to their phones and constantly check their inboxes for new leads.
Are Excited About Pursuing New Opportunities
They’ve had it up to here with their current jobs and are enthusiastically looking forward to their next opportunity. That being the case, active candidates are likely to contribute on Day One, or at least shortly thereafter, to prove their merit and gratitude.
Understand Each Employer’s Hiring Process Is Different
Active candidates have been through the ringer. They know every company does things a bit differently. They’re flexible and will accommodate your needs during the hiring process.
In some instances, it might make sense to pursue specific passive candidates that you know well — like a business partner that you work with on a regular basis. But for the most part, if you actually want to hire new workers, your recruiting outreach efforts should be directed almost exclusively at active candidates.