Sep 19

Understanding the importance of « passive candidates » and identifying them successfully.


The phenomenon of „passive candidates“ is still an enigma for many recruiters. They do not consider them as potential candidates and generally do not master communication tools to engage dialogue with them. This is unfortunate, since passive candidates are often the key to many open positions.

The rise of passive candidates is partly due to the economic slowdown and to the increasing unemployment in many countries. A large majority of employees prefer staying in their current position even though it does no longer entirely match their expectations. Seven employees out of ten declare being satisfied with their job. 82 % of them assert they are not looking for a job, but remain open to the right opportunity.

Forgetting about these candidates means ignoring a large majority of the active population.

Caroline Mancioppi, Author

Passive candidates already have a job, which in general, satisfies them. However one or two criteria are missing to entirely fulfill their expectations: getting closer from home, finding a better work environment or a company which ethics will be more in line with their ideals or simply finding it is time for a change. 47 % of the employees declare being ready to change job for a better salary or to reach upward mobility.

It is therefore quite normal that these candidates are more demanding than others. Because if they change jobs, this time, they expect to be fully satisfied. They do not belong to any defined level of the corporate hierarchy. They can be found at all levels: the graduate with only two years of experience in the company, to the senior manager who has many responsibilities and counts more than ten years within the company.

Unlike active candidates, passive candidates „seek“ in an unconventional and sporadic way. They do not search but wait for the right opportunity. It is common that they do a targeted search, once a month after having read or heard something about an available position. As a recruiter, you must communicate on a regular and consistent basis in order to attract the attention of passive candidates. Then, to trigger their interest, you have to understand their need and offer them the benefit which is missing in their current position, in order to make them consider changing job.

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