In Search of
The Passive Candidate

What’s the most popular shift in sourcing for job candidates? If you’re a hiring manager, you most likely can answer this question. In fact, you’re probably already busy finding creative ways to search for what has been dubbed, the “Passive Candidate”. I define passive candidates as candidates who are satisfied with their current position and are accomplishing great things. They are not actively seeking a new opportunity and job hunting consumes zero percent of their time. When asked, most don’t even have an updated résumé. So why the current fascination to reach out and attract this elusive group?

One reason identified is that companies need to fill jobs that require exceptional people with different skill sets than what exist in the active job pool. Clients have told me that resumes currently in their database or candidates posted on an Internet job board simply don’t fit the bill.

Another reason is that many hiring authorities feel that passive candidates represent some of the best talent in the workforce. They are worth the hunt. In addition, I’ve noticed an attraction to the mystique that surrounds them. There’s a challenge in how to lure them away as well as the “wanting what you can’t have” aspect. Whatever the reason, clients are devoting time and resources to vie for their attention and interest.

With the recruitment of passive candidates on the rise, I must share the big picture with you. If you want these high caliber folks, it will take more than time and money for knock-‘em-dead results. It will take motivation, innovation, and a desire to shift sourcing methods from waiting for people to apply to reaching out and getting them interested. You and your team need to develop creative capture strategies including employee referral programs, enticing job descriptions and a “what can we do for you?” attitude, etc.

The trend to recruit the passive candidate will continue well into the future. From my experience, it’s challenging but worth the investment. While this group represents the path of most resistance, they also represent some of the best and brightest in today’s workforce.

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