The Problem with Hiring Only Active Candidates

Business people shaking hands after meeting

In the race for talent, many companies limit themselves to sourcing active candidates. These candidates are actively searching for a job by checking job boards, setting up alerts on LinkedIn, asking around, and sending out resumes.


While these candidates are easy to find, they are a small segment of the talent pool. The rest are passive candidates.


Passive candidates have a job but feel open to new employment opportunities. However, you have to reach them where they are instead of holding up a sign for passerbys.


For that reason, targeting passive candidates isn’t as easy as sourcing active job seekers. However, it can yield impressive results.

Advantages of Hiring Passive Over Active Candidates

The complexity of finding a perfect candidate is reinforced by a limited number of people actively seeking jobs. By turning your attention to passive candidates, you are increasing your chances of filling the position.


Access to a Larger Talent Pool

A Zippia survey found that 73% of professionals are passive job seekers. By avoiding passive candidates, you restrict your search to a little over a quarter of available job candidates. This shrinks your chances of finding the right candidate for the job.


By opening yourself up to passive candidates, you are increasing the effectiveness of your recruitment strategy while decreasing the time to fill.

Reduced Competition

Many of the best candidates leave the job market within 10 days of active job seeking. The reason is fierce competition between employers.


Since recruiting active candidates is more straightforward than targeting passive talent, many companies focus on the former. That makes your focus on passive candidates a competitive advantage.


While your competitors are fighting over top candidates in the active talent pool, you can also explore top-notch professionals who are still employed.

Better Candidate Fit

Active candidates often accept offers even if they don’t believe they are a perfect fit. In many cases, they are more focused on immediately getting a paycheck rather than contributing to the success of your business.


When passive candidates become interested in your company, they have enough time to research the position and evaluate its benefits.

Enhanced Employer Brand

Passive candidate recruitment involves honing a solid employer brand and building high-yielding relationships with potential employees. As you invest more effort in brand-building, you position your company as an employer of choice.


Challenges and Misconceptions in Sourcing Passive Candidates

Reaching out to passive candidates requires a comprehensive strategy. However, before you start, you should be aware of some of the challenges in targeting passive candidates.


Key challenges include:

  • Finding passive candidates since they aren’t actively searching for a job
  • Connecting with a candidate who isn’t actively open for recruitment
  • Spending more time promoting your company to the candidate and getting a response
  • Working outreach tactics like paid ads


A common misconception about recruiting passive candidates is that they are always superior to active candidates. Such a point of view isn’t just erroneous. It could cause you to break the law.


In New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington D.C., it is illegal to discriminate against candidates based on their employment status. In New Jersey and Oregon, you can’t publish advertisements that exclude the unemployed from applying. Meanwhile, in New York and Washington D.C., the unemployed are a protected class.


Accordingly, if you are focusing solely on passive candidates, you could be guilty of discrimination against the unemployed.


Even if you want to focus on passive candidates, you should still have your opening listed on a relevant job board to give active candidates a means of applying.

The Role of Recruitment Marketing for Active and Passive Candidates

Recruitment marketing is a set of strategies aimed at attracting and engaging talent. Similar to traditional marketing, it involves comprehensive tactics that demonstrate the benefits of the role to candidates while building your brand.


A few tactics for using recruitment marketing to attract active and passive candidates include:

  • Local television ads to reach passive candidates
  • Adding and managing information about open positions on the company’s website and social media pages
  • Managing your brand on review sites
  • Promoting your company on job boards
  • Implement strong branding tactics


The main goal of recruitment marketing is to bring top talent to your doorstep without actively recruiting it. It works for both passive and active candidates.

A Comprehensive Approach to Hiring

While active candidates are easier to recruit, passive candidates may be more valuable. Implementing tactics that attract both types of candidates increases your chances of finding a perfect fit.


By balancing recruitment marketing between active and passive talent, you can create a holistic strategy that yields excellent results. Before you know it, you’ll fill your ranks with employees who can get the job done.


Related Blogs

    Aug 17, 2023
    How You Recruit Reflects…

    A strong company culture is a requirement for today's companies to attract the best employees. found that 77% of workers consider a company's culture before..

    0 Read More
    Aug 17, 2023
    How to Get Started…

    Finding top talent in a tight labor market like Boston’s is like fighting against a tide. Either there is a swell of far-off and unqualified..

    0 Read More
    Aug 17, 2023
    5 Reasons to Use…

    As Massachusetts's drops to just above the record low set in the summer and fall of 2000, available skilled workers in the Greater Boston area..

    0 Read More
    Apr 11, 2023
    5 Ways to Find…

    Returning to the job market can be daunting after a gap in employment. It can be easy to feel frustrated and discouraged. However, remember that..

    0 Read More
    Apr 11, 2023
    Preparing For a Job…

    Preparing for a job interview can be a daunting experience, especially if you're new to the job market. However, with the right preparation, you can..

    0 Read More
    Apr 11, 2023
    Is a Trade Job…

    The decision to pursue higher education is a difficult one for many people. While attending college or university is often touted as the key to..

    0 Read More

Leave us a comment

logged inYou must be to post a comment.