The Active Advantage: Why Recruiters Should Target Active candidates

There is often a misconception that targeting passive candidates with outbound tactics provides the best shot at finding great hires. Consequently, some recruiters spend a lot of time pursuing hard-to-get candidates — those who are satisfied in their current jobs but could be enticed by another opportunity. You may succeed in recruiting some of these passive candidates away from their current companies, but once they’ve joined your organisation, you’re left to wonder: are their hearts really in it?

Sometimes the best fit has been there all along, waiting for you to give him or her a chance. These are the active candidates who know their own goals and passions enough to take charge of their careers and reach out to the companies about roles that excite them. And the best part? There are many active candidates out there: In a study Indeed conducted with The Harris Poll, 74% of people in the labour force said they’re either actively looking or are open to a new job.

These motivated professionals might be just what your talent attraction strategy is missing. They’re also the type of candidates talent professionals say they would prefer to hire for the following reasons:

1. They know what they want

Active candidates have the confidence and ambition to know where they’ll do their best work. If they’ve chosen to approach your company, they’re well-primed for a successful recruiting process.

By pursuing passive candidates who may not even respond to your calls and emails, you’re investing a lot of time and effort in someone who might not be interested in your company or role.

2. They’re ready for change

Active candidates have already done the tough psychological work that goes into changing jobs. They’ve decided to seek a new opportunity, prepared themselves for the temporary stress and inconvenience of transitioning from one company to another, embraced the challenge of building relationships with a new set of coworkers and signed up for the inevitable learning curve that comes with adjusting to a new role.

In contrast, passive candidates need to be convinced your company can offer them more than they have in their current job. This may be why our research found passive candidates are more likely to have higher salary expectations.

3. They’re more likely to succeed on the job

In our study, 69% of employed adults said they would feel more confident that a job is the right fit for them if they picked the company and applied versus if a recruiter contacted them. This confidence found in active candidates also results in them being more engaged, with 62% saying they would be more successful in a job they found on their own.

In contrast, a passive approach to job search sometimes reflects passivity in other areas of professional life. For example, a passive communication style at work has been tied to indecisiveness, inability to delegate and an unwillingness to speak up with new ideas or assert one’s own needs.

This is particularly important for employees who move into leadership roles. As Kevin Ready writes for Forbes, “One key aspect of making the transition from team member to team or business unit leader is this idea of becoming an ‘active’ communicator … In a high-functioning communications regime, you will rarely find managers who are passive communicators — because it almost never works.”

4. They bring more passion to their work

Active candidates are more likely to become passionate employees. While a passive candidate might display enthusiasm on the job, they might also have more persistent ambivalence about whether their new company is where they belong. In an Indeed survey conducted by The Polling Company, recruiters told us lack of passion was the #1 reason passive hires fail in their new roles.

On the other hand, active candidates sought out what they wanted and contacted you because they were attracted to some aspect of your employer brand, your company mission or the idea of spending their days doing the type of work they love and excel at.

Don’t squander this passion. Make the most of it by focusing your recruitment efforts on attracting these highly motivated job seekers. Embrace active candidates and give them a chance to give their all to your organisation.

For more insight on how people search for jobs today and the tactics you can apply to attract the very best, download your free copy of our new ebook, How to Build an Inbound Recruiting Strategy That Attracts Great Candidates.