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There is no such thing as a passive candidate.

Recruiters and business leaders alike have always placed the highest value on the elusive passive candidate, believing them to be smarter, more skilled, and more talented than other candidates.

Why have we always done this? Because we have a bias towards the pursuit. We are all hardwired to believe that something is of more value if we have to work for it. The candidate isn’t actively pursuing our opportunity, so he or she must be successful, valued, and, on some level, out of our league. What a win if we could lure those candidates away!

Let’s define “active” candidate. Most of us would agree that it is someone who takes a step towards an opportunity, such as applying to a job or activating their network to that end. But it has also become shorthand for not currently employed, which HR and CEOs alike irrationally ascribe to being a less valuable candidate.

A “passive” candidate is someone who did not take such a step. But one important thing to keep in mind is that “active” and “passive” are descriptions relying on a particular point of time.

Indeed just released a very interesting Talent Attraction Survey. After interviewing thousands of hiring managers, job seekers, and top performers, they found that among top performers:

  • 92% search for job opportunities a few times a year, and
  • 96% hired within the last year took an action to find that job six months prior.

They went on further to identify top traits, rank them, and note which ones were believed to be innate or learned. One of the top traits is drive, which can be directly correlated with taking action -- the very thing that we’re historically biased against when evaluating candidates.

What does this all mean for recruiting top candidates? It means that they are searching for jobs, researching companies, and hearing all the same messaging about opportunities just as everyone else is. Top performing candidates are consumers, and a consistent recruitment marketing campaign will reach them too.

Contact us today to help you with your recruitment marketing campaign. 

Written by: Allison Small, Co-founder and VP of Program Development and Execution, TalentCMO

Links and other interesting stuff:

Is Your Recruiting Social? Are you “marketing” your company and jobs to talent using social? By 2020, 2.95 billion users globally are expected to be on social media. Reach out if you need help engaging talent on social. 

Looking for interns? Join our Teaming for Talent program and connect with students in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. 

Check out this sweet Career Showcase (a standalone microsite built for candidates to show company's authenticity) that we built for one of our clients.

Ana Filipovic Windsor