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Passive is Positive

Why are passive candidates the best candidates?

TakenMemeSmallYou’ve heard time and time again about the elusive ‘passive candidate.’ What makes them so special? Why should you take your time to persuade a happy employee to come work for your organization when you have hundreds of applicants sending you their resumes, begging for a job?

Passive candidates are desirable because, since they are content in their work, they are valuable assets to their current employers. Their lack of urgency for a new job means they are less likely to be interviewing with other companies, which means less competition for you. It is also unlikely that they will lie or stretch the truth about their skills on their resumes; they don’t feel like they need to because you reached out to them first.

According to the LinkedIn Talent Trends 2014 report, 25% of fully employed global respondents are actively looking for their next role. 45% of fully employed respondents are open to talking with a recruiter and another 15% are talking to their networks. Only 15% say they are not interested in a new job. So you need to find those not interested in a new job and convince them to declare a long-term commitment to your company.

Active candidates are 52% satisfied with their current role while passive candidates are 80% satisfied.

The key to recruiting a passive candidate is to get their attention. Passive candidates are more satisfied with their current role than active candidates, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t open to better opportunities. So what would motivate them to make the switch?

For passive candidates, the number 1 motivation to change jobs is money, followed by work/life balance; active candidates are more interested in opportunities for advancement and more challenging work. Thus it is important to know what is considered a “better” opportunity by knowing the priorities of the type of candidate you are seeking.

Important Factors for Active and Passive Candidates
via LinkedIn


In terms of least important factors when considering a new job, neither active nor passive candidates care about job title. Thus, recruiters should focus on other benefits, such as employee perks or learning opportunities. According to The UndercoverRecruiter, passive talent prospects are 120% more likely to want to make an impact and 56% more likely to want a corporate culture that fits their personalities. When building a career site, it is best to keep these factors in mind, as the recruiter should emphasize work/life balance over title or office location.

Least Important Factors for Active and Passive Candidates
via LinkedIn


Engaging passive candidates is more difficult than active candidates as it requires sourcing techniques and persuasion, but this hard work will pay off. If you target passive candidates, you will be hiring long-term, quality candidates. In order to successfully recruit passive talent, it is important to build long-term relationships and avoid making it seem like a sales interaction. Even if this candidate passes on the position initially, they may come back to you later for a future role. Thus, it is important to keep the door open and engage with candidates without wasting their time.

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