The Passive/Active Continuum

Popular buzzwords have been floating around recruiting circles for quite some time: ?passive candidates? and ?active candidates.? What makes a passive candidate desirable? What makes an active candidate less desirable? To understand these concepts we must first examine what makes an individual passive or active. Imagine a straight line. On the left end of the line is the extreme passive candidate. On the right end of the line is the extreme active candidate. The line represents the amount of time per week an individual is spending on their job search. A truly passive candidate spends zero amount of time per week on their job search. They are not looking at job postings, Sunday classifieds nor have they posted a resume or profile on a career database. As one moves to the right of the continuum, they become more active in their job search. Maybe they posted a resume confidentially to see what comes their way or maybe they spent an hour or so looking at job postings while sitting at their desk for lunch. Visualizing this continuum is important because a variety of your recruitment methods are targeting different folks on this continuum depending on the amount of action needed on the candidate?s part. Placing an ad in your Sunday paper will target the most active of candidates. Why? The amount of time it takes to read through the Sunday classifieds, make note of an interesting job and then respond by fax or email is somewhat high. Likewise the proactive recruitment method of ?direct sourcing? or searching the World Wide Web will target the most passive of candidates. What makes a passive candidate desirable and an ?active? candidate less desirable? I disagree with the popular notion that ?active? job seekers are disgruntled, unhappy, job hoppers therefore undesirable. I believe an ?active? candidate is less desirable because the competition for them is stiff. In fact, I would argue that 95% of all corporate recruiters spend most of their time on the right side of the continuum targeting only ?active? candidates. Imagine a pond. The pond is where your active candidates are and they generally bite quickly on your fishing line but there are many other lines around you and competition is fierce. Imagine the ocean. The ocean is where your passive candidates are and they can be slow to bite on your line but your competition is much less. 90% of corporate recruiters are fishing in the pond whereas less than 10% are fishing in the ocean. List out your various recruitment methods and services. Now from a job seeker?s perspective place them on your passive/active continuum line. If you draw a triangle underneath the middle of the line so that it resembles a teeter-totter (remember those), are your methods weighing you down on one end versus the other? The key is balance. Balancing proactive recruitment methods such as sourcing and marketing with reactive recruitment methods like posting will get your fishing line in all the right places. Balanced recruiting results in better quality candidates and more candidates to choose from. A successful recruiter acts as a project manager constantly balancing and measuring their different recruiting methods so they can result in the utmost in product. It?s not just about making a hire, it?s about making the right hire by utilizing all of your sources. Good luck!

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Audra Slinkey is a leading Internet Recruiting Consultant who has designed the Recruiters-Aid PERS (Proprietary E-Recruitment System) to ensure Internet recruiting success. Recruiters-Aid provides Internet candidate sourcing and screening services, and guarantees results—or the clients do not pay. Recruiters-Aid manages one of the largest FREE recruiting resource sites online. Recruiters-Aid services were created specifically for recruiters who don't have time to source the Internet themselves.

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