Recruiting Enablement Blog



Active v Passive Candidates - The great conundrum

Charles Hipps October 16, 2020

High volumes are an ongoing challenge for recruiters in these uncertain times. Unemployment is rising in all major countries and applicants are outweighing job vacancies, with increases as high as 1363% for certain roles in the four months from March to July, according to research from Search Consultancy. Yet, quality of talent is still a crucial metric and as a result your recruitment strategy must be appealing for both active and passive candidate groups.

Distinctions between active and passive candidates really come down to the level of experience an employer is seeking. For example, Oleeo knows that in the majority of cases clients looking for emerging talent or to fill volume roles will seek active candidates who are proactively seeking an opportunity and have the right skillsets to represent the employer brand.

However, in roles where particular skillsets are needed and experience is equivalent to salary, we tend to find a preference towards passive candidates and use of wider sources including employee referrals and dedicated agencies. These candidates are considered to be better fits for an organisation based on them having backgrounds that enable them to not require heavy training and an ability to preserve the status quo in an organisation.

This isn’t necessarily at the expense of considering active candidates – job boards open to anyone continue to be the leading source for most firms and recruiters want a large selection of interest to feel confident they are hiring a candidate who will be a natural fit to the business. Oleeo advocates seven key steps to ensure a recruiter builds a focus on great engagement into the selection process for both active and passive candidates:

  1. The need for a great employer value proposition (EVP): Candidates are more digital savvy than ever before – Millennials have different drivers and motivations. They want to work in a creative company that can demonstrate it is moving with the times not staying rigidly to the past and historical practices.
  2. Ensure transparent, open and honest marketing of an EVP: Once you have identified an EVP, you must ensure it resonates in every touchpoint across your organisation and is presented succinctly without risk of appearing forced.
  3. Engage early, recruit quickly & build your pipeline of future great hires: Competition for the best applicants is fierce. Organisations must start communication with the highest achieving students as soon as possible and maintain this personalised approach throughout if they are to be successful at securing the hottest pool of future leaders.
  4. Synergise & blend multiple entry points & employee talent management: Utilise the wide pool of applicants available to maximise the skillsets offered across the generational gaps and ensure you are managing the varied skill mix challenges that your organisation is facing.
  5. Understand what ‘great’ looks like with diversity objectives in mind: Have an idea in your mind for how you want to classify a great fit to your emerging talent posts recognising where diversity is a corporate objective you need to include here. Tailor your selection process and mechanisms with a top-down, cultured approach to help make this as seamless as possible.
  6. Leverage technology to magnify your efforts & communicate using your audience’s natural media: Good technology will enable you to deliver personalised, rewarding experiences, amplifying your employer brand. This is complemented by digital intelligence to help drive continuous improvement based on strong performers. Done well, virtualisation will automate manual processes, cut administration time, simplify & extend reach.
  7. Engage your employees to be talent ambassadors and advocates: Stories from a happy workforce help to sell an EVP indirectly and ignite & strengthen the passion of future hires and customers. After all, people buy people.
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