Expand your talent pool by targeting active and passive candidates

active vs passive candidates

Most recruitment strategies target only 25% of the workforce. When you post a job ad, the people who are likely to apply are candidates who are actively looking for a new job, also known as “active candidates.”

This leaves out 75% of potential candidates who are not actively looking for work. These “passive candidates” are usually employed, and most of them are of high quality, as they are already offering value to their current organization.

A targeted recruitment strategy can help you attract both active and passive candidates so that you land the best candidate for the job.

 Why should you target both active and passive talent pools?  

An ideal recruitment strategy should focus on targeting all possible candidates. A larger talent pool grants you access to varied skill sets and enables you to have a more stringent selection process. This, in turn, can help you make better hires.

Whether a candidate is active or passive is context-dependent. A passive candidate might be open to having a conversation if the offer is enticing enough, and active candidates may not remain active for long. According to reports from Officevibe, high-quality candidates are off the market within just ten days.

Building a proactive strategy that appeals to both active and passive candidates  

Define your ideal candidate

Before you start sourcing for a job opening, it is essential to define all the characteristics of your ideal fit. A great way to go about this is by benchmarking your top-performing employees and listing out all the skills and qualifications that make them successful in their job. This will give you a better idea of whether a passive candidate is worth approaching, and it will help you evaluate new candidates.

Source active and passive candidates

It’s reasonable to expect that active candidates will seek out and apply for your job openings through typical platforms, so sourcing from this talent pool is fairly straightforward. But passive candidates are a different story. They are far less likely to discover roles through your job posts, so to reach these candidates, it’s recommended to build and nurture a talent pool over time. You can find relevant resumes through Boolean searches, use social media to contact candidates directly, and connect with high-performing applicants who applied for prior job openings at your organization but did not make it to the final stage. 

Enhance your candidate search with Zoho Recruit’s Source Boosters

Ask for referrals

15% of the passive candidate pool is quietly looking for better opportunities by sharing resumes with close personal and professional networks. By creating a referral system within your organization, you can easily tap into this talent pool. Employee referrals can give you unique access to the passive candidate network, and since your employees already understand the company culture, they’re more likely to refer people who are great fits.

Learn more about how Zoho Recruit can help you establish a seamless referral scheme

Showcase your employer brand

Passive candidates often need more than just better pay to leave their current positions. One of the best ways to attract these candidates to your organization is by establishing an appealing employer brand. As candidates gain insight into the company through your branding, they’ll shortlist themselves based on their personal fit assessment.

A strong social media presence can help you with branding, sourcing, and communication. It’s important to stay visible to potential candidates, especially if they aren’t actively looking out for jobs.

Establish communication

How you communicate with passive candidates might differ from how you communicate with active candidates. For example, passive candidates might not consider your offer unless it meets specific needs, so you’ll want to take the time to highlight why the role is a great opportunity. Be sure to explain all the exciting aspects of the job, why they will be a perfect fit for it, and how they can grow their career as a result.

Recruit your candidate

Once you source your candidates, it’s best to help them thoroughly understand the job and the company. You can share important details in a brief job description that showcases the company’s values and culture.

Check out this article for how to write the perfect job description

Take a look at our job description templates

Keep the application process simple to reduce drop-off rates, and be sure to have alternative application options if your passive candidates do not have a resume handy.

You can also use a structured interview process to ensure that all candidates are evaluated the same way. This approach provides you with a more objective view of each candidate. With Zoho Recruit, you can shortlist candidates using assessments and our one-way video interview feature, which allow you to identify every candidate’s hard and soft skills.

Broadening the scope    

It is important to remember that the same candidate can be active or passive at different times, and a person’s employment status does not define their ability to apply for or fulfill a certain role. While passive candidates may pass the initial screening, especially if you approach them first, be sure to level the playing field during the selection process and assess candidates based on their relevant skills and qualifications.


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