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Active vs. Passive Candidates – What’s the Difference?

When it comes to today’s hiring climate and talent acquisition situation, a lot is fluctuating. A couple of years ago, we saw massive numbers of people out of work, employers forced to lay off many of their workforce, and candidates with no real expectation of what was to come. Fast forward to today, we’re seeing record numbers of job growth and payroll employment skyrocketing. Jobs are being created faster than companies can hire, and they’re losing out on high-quality talent opportunities because of this.  

Here’s the problem: many companies’ hiring teams are only focusing on active candidates when they should be pursuing passive candidates as well. In fact, we turned to our 55k followers on LinkedIn and asked, “Which type of job candidate do you most often hire?”. The results were as we expected – out of 394 responders, 81% said “Active” while only 19% answered “Passive”. Have a look at the poll here! 

The Difference Between Active & Passive Candidates 

“What’s the difference between active and passive candidates?” you may ask. Simply put, active candidates are actively looking for a job and passive candidates are not. The key to hiring the best talent for your company is going after not only active job seekers but also placing focus on those who may already be employed (perhaps by your competitors.) That’s where Headhunting & Staffing firms like SSG come in. We allow our clients to tap into a talent pool of over 1 million active and passive candidates so that they have the best options available.  

Approaching Both Types of Candidates 

The overall strategies behind hiring these different types of candidates are also very different from each other. For active job seekers, you announce your listings and then siphon through candidates to find potential matches. For passive candidates, it’s reversed. The company defines exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate and then must go out and find matches. This is obviously a more tedious process; it requires research, cold calls, emails, and inevitably a lot of no-responses. As evidenced by our poll, it’s clear that many companies choose not to invest time in going after passive talent. That’s why it’s always a good idea to hire Headhunters like SSG in order to save your time and wasted dollars.  

There are too many quality job openings available these days that aren’t being seen by the right candidates, which ends up costing companies more in the long run – especially when a bad hire is involved, forcing the process to restart itself all over again. The bottom line is that when hiring gets tough, the tough hire experts like SSG to step in. 

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