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Active Vs. Passive Candidates

Oakstone International Executive Search active vs passive candidates

Finding the best candidate can be a challenge for any recruiter, internal or external. However, the difference between strategy, time and target can all be factors which determine the success or failure of a talent and career match. You need to consider the fact not all your potential talent pool is going to be looking for a new position- especially if they are in an executive position. On average only 25% are active candidates (, these are the portion of people actively seeking a new position, they would more than likely be open to your new opportunity, however you have to consider why they’re looking? You either have to consider how you are going to target the other 75% of the talent pool or miss out on ever having them as potential employees.

Active Candidates

2/3rds of active candidates are currently employed (general figure), so it’s not fair to say they would take on any opportunity, however, it is fair to say that they would be less picky about the opportunity.  They may not ask the right questions and be as thorough as someone who wasn’t particularly interested at the beginning.

There are plus sides to active candidates; they are much more likely to be working on their personal brand, being more likely to be applying for jobs on jobsites and updating their CV and social media. Finding active candidates if often not a challenge at all.

Now think about executive search. Would you advertise a CEO, CFO or VP of Sales position on a job site? Imagine how many people you would have applying for that position with no experience or qualifications for the job. The time it would take to go through those CV’s would be tremendous, and by ignoring some of the applications, it could result in damage to your company brand. You should consider an Executive search firm.

Passive candidates

That other 75% of the talent pool. These people aren’t looking for a new opportunity, they’re quite happy in their careers, however its not to say that if an opportunity presented itself they would turn it down without consideration.

Having an internal recruitment strategy may be your top priority but how will you target these people? They’re not looking for a new opportunity, they’re not marketing themselves and they’re certainly not applying for positions. The best way to target this 75% of the talent pool is through an executive recruiter.

The benefit of targeting passive candidates is that they won’t be interviewing with anybody else, so you don’t need to worry as much about them applying for other jobs if you move fast. It is however up to you to present the best description of the opportunity available.  It’s all about selling the position to the candidate and there is no guarantee the opportunity is going to appeal to them. The way the opportunity is presented means everything.

There may be many cases where the candidate is still not interested in your opportunity by the end of your discussion, however handling the situation correctly will encourage them to pick up the phone the next time you call- or to recommend someone else for your role.

Whether you want to take on Executive recruitment internally or whether you see the benefits of outsourcing, it’s good to weigh up the different types of candidates and the pros and cons of each group.