Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms
A passive candidate is someone an employer is considering for a certain position, but who is not actively seeking a new position. Passive candidates have not applied for an open position and are not searching for a new job. However, for a variety of reasons their qualifications and experience make them attractive to hiring managers, who may begin recruiting by inviting considered candidates to consider the position. Passive candidates are often those with in-demand skills and experience, making them desirable to employers, and sometimes difficult to recruit, especially if they are happy and well-compensated in their current employment.
Unlike traditional candidates, passive candidates don’t actively search job boards or apply for available positions. Instead, hiring managers and recruiters use alternative means to source and contact skilled candidates for open positions. To find these people, recruiters may ask employees or other contacts within their network for referrals. They may search for attractive profiles on LinkedIn, review data from previous employees or candidates, consult professional websites and communities, or utilize recruitment technologies or talent management systems. Social media or even search engines may be other helpful resources for locating passive candidates.
To begin the recruitment process for passive candidates, you must first locate a qualified candidate and reach out. If you are using LinkedIn or other social media, reach out with a quick and simple message explaining the position and why you believe the individual would be a good candidate. Depending on your interest in the candidate, you may want to reach out more aggressively with email or a phone call, but try to avoid using their current work contact information if possible.
Your initial message or introduction should aim to get the passive candidate excited about your company and about the position. Include information about your organization, including awards and other ways the company stands out. Detail the position and how you think the passive candidate could benefit from it and from being a part of your company. Also, mention how your company can benefit from hiring the candidate. Detail how the position is relevant to their previous experience and represents a good next step in their career. Because they aren’t currently seeking a new position, passive candidates will need to be sold into talking with you further and considering the job in your first message. Be persuasive, enthusiastic, friendly, and to the point.
Make sure to outline the next step for your passive candidate, such as a phone call or lunch meeting. Follow up if you don’t hear back from them within a reasonable period of time. In reaching out and communicating with passive candidates, remember and be respectful of the fact that they may be content in their current employment and not looking to leave. If they decide to accept your invitation to submit an application or their name for consideration, keep in mind that they probably don’t have a resume or portfolio ready to submit immediately, so give them enough time to collect and submit the necessary materials.
Passive recruitment involves a hiring manager or other HR professional seeking out a job candidate who is not currently looking for a new position. Recruiters seek out qualified professionals who may be a good fit for the company and the job that needs to be filled, and then try to convince the candidates to consider and apply for the position.
An active candidate is someone who is currently seeking a new position. Active candidates are dissatisfied with their current employment and may be interested in new opportunities for leadership, growth, or higher compensation. These candidates actively review job boards and network for relevant job opportunities. Rather than being recruited, active candidates reach out to hiring managers and complete applications for job positions.