I stumbled across this article this morning by Doug Mackay, Managing Director of Collingwood Search, and for the first time it got me thinking in-depth about the perception of passive candidates, and whether it's fair to say that they are in any way more superior to active job-seekers.
I attend a lot of in-house recruitment events and I frequently witness conversations between in-house recruiters on how to appeal to the passive candidates on the market. The perception of passive candidates always appears to be more attractive than the candidates they get applying for their roles through traditional advertising channels, but is this really fair?
Just because candidates aren't scouring the internet for new jobs, doesn't necessarily mean that they are the best candidates to reach out to. What if those passive candidates are just your average Steady Eddy? They might just be too lazy to take control of their careers and search for a fresh start, after all, serious job-seeking is thought to be full-time business in some cases. They may even be scared to take the plunge!
Talented candidates have a right to search for jobs. Just because they are actively searching, it doesn't mean that they are failing in their current roles. There could be a number of reasons why job-seekers are looking for a move. It could be that they feel there is lack of career progression in their current organisation. They might have an express interest in an alternative industry and now just happens to be the right time to pursue it. It might be that they are relocating, or they are simply just a little bit bored in the role that they are currently doing. There's nothing wrong with that. There's a myriad of reasons why people look for new jobs. Perhaps it's time to reverse the stark contrast in perception between passive and active candidates?
The "passive" job market is today's trendy focus and I agree with this article that it is an unkind and somewhat an inappopriate term to give great candidates who are not necessarily proactively looking for a move. I also agree that the most passive part of current recruitment practices is the archaic methods employers are using to try and attract high calibre canidates to fill their critically important roles. Recruitment advertising fell of a cliff a decade ago and simply picking up the phone to surprise cold candidates in the hope that they will be interested in what you have to say will only end in disappointment.