Talent Acquisition

Active vs. Passive Candidates: Who Will Be Your Next Hire?

For recruiters, it can be a daily struggle to find the best talent. Separating ‘ready to switch’ job seekers from ‘active’ job seekers is the basic principle from which any hiring process begins.

It is generally accepted that passive candidates are the more qualified talents out there, whose hiring requires a lot of effort for recruiters, and greater costs for the employer. Despite this, you would think that they bring more benefits to the employer in the future. In fact, the situation is not as straightforward as it seems.

Where are they coming from?

The concept of ‘ready to switch’ appeared relatively recently, with the advent of this term in special software for recruiters, platforms, and services for TA. Often these programs mark candidate profiles with such notations that it is easier for the recruiter to navigate through a huge amount of data and to determine the candidate in a separate hiring pool.

The essence of these concepts is very similar to the widely used term ‘head-hunting’. The main difference is precisely in the needs of the recruiter. It is used when they are looking for certain skills and don’t want to waste their time placing ads that unsuitable candidates would apply to, when a certain position is rather confidential and they don’t want to list it publicly on the market.

How are they defined and where do they hide?

When we turn to what defines those that are ‘ready to switch’, the activity of the candidate in his/her social networks and resume placement services is important. If the candidate makes changes to his profile or slightly cleans and orders it, then he/she can be indexed as ‘ready to switch’. He/she is also considered a passive candidate, but with a greater prospect of changing the job.

A passive candidate is employed, but not currently looking for a new opportunity. Including the 15% of professionals who are tiptoers above, this group accounts for 75% of the workforce.

Such candidates are more difficult to find, and they ‘hide’ more carefully. The experienced recruiters know where to look:

  • Analyze the frequency of the switching more carefully. It is believed that the candidate who changes the job with a certain periodicity (once in 1-3 years) after one expiration of this term will look for new opportunities.
  • Candidates who have been working in one position for more than 4 years and have not yet received the promotion.
  • The qualified candidates are hiding in fast developing start-ups. If the company has received investment, its employees are likely to work hard to get this profit and are not yet ready for global workload increases. They can become your potential talents.
  • According to iCIMS’ research, 42% of employees would leave their position due to limited future growth or opportunity for promotion within their company. Employee benefits and compensation packages come in at a close second with 34%.

Who’s the best candidate?

In an Indeed survey conducted by The Polling Company, 85% of employers agreed that highly skilled, in-demand workers are now the ones keeping an eye out for new employment opportunities.

The benefit to a passive candidate is that, since they are not looking for a new opportunity, they probably won’t be interviewing with anyone else. With 60% of the workforce not looking for a new job, but willing to discuss a new opportunity.

On the other hand, 51% of recruiters and 70% of talent acquisition leaders agree that active candidates have better motivational drive than passive candidates.

As for active candidates, today nobody is surprised that someone who graduated from university three years ago has already worked for 4 different companies. Try to look at candidates with the ‘bigger picture’ perspective.

Nevertheless, active candidates have one big advantage – their intentions are clear. They most likely will not ask for a salary 20% higher than at their previous job, because they focus on the average market price. In addition, their main motivation is to get a new job, while passive candidates can disrupt the deal in the last stages because they are motivated more by assessing their value on the market than by switching to a new company.

Each recruiter must determine his own tactics – to fight for the loyalty of the candidate, which is determined by systems like ‘ready to switch’ or to give an opportunity to active candidates to allow them to prove themselves in a new position. Maybe they will become your new rock stars!

About the author: Mariia Shymanska has achieved customer success at SignalHire Talent Acquisition Platform with an interest in blogging about recruitment, social media recruiting, candidate sourcing. Curious to create educational content to help recruiters of small businesses, tech companies, startups, non-profits learning how to hire the best talent with the help of the BigData technologies.

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