Active vs Passive recruitment - how to best approach both - Juggle Jobs

Active vs Passive recruitment – how to best approach both

Active vs passive recruitment refers to the type of candidate you’re looking at , not to the business need behind filling the role.

Active recruitment targets candidates that are actively looking for a new job. They may be jobseekers or employees who are dissatisfied with their current role. Whatever the context – they want or need a new job.

Passive recruitment targets candidates who aren’t looking at all. They’re (almost certainly) in work and they’re probably happy with what they’re doing. You want them because of their skills and experience, but they don’t necessarily want to work for you… not just yet.

On the face of it, active vs. passive recruitment seem quite different. But in fact, the processes are quite similar aside from the very outset. And actually, active recruitment could learn a lot from the passive counterpart. 

Does the extra work involved in chasing that right candidate actually matter? And how do you best approach it? Let’s explore.  

Recruiting passive candidates  

Passive recruitment, again, means going after that one candidate you really want on your team. The star sales person of your competitor, or someone that was recommended to you as just what you need in your next CFO. How do you score the talent?

You will need to change your approach

Whatever the reason is you’re going after a passive candidate, your recruitment style may need an overhaul.

Here’s the thing – you are trying to entice them to a role. Which means they are in the driver’s seat, which ultimately means your initial conversations will need to be… say about 20% more sales-y than normal.

Your task is to spark their interest in both the role and your business. Tell them why you need just them for the role. Honestly, if you’re struggling to do that we’d recommend suspending hiring full stop until you’ve got the basics figured out.

Be prepared to take it slow

Passive candidates aren’t by nature ready to move, you’ll need to meet their requirements. For example, they might not want or be able to interview during work hours. Or they are a bit hard-to-get at first, overall. Keep persistent and

And remember, they may just love their current position too much to move for any reason at all. Don’t set your heart on anyone at this point – and respect a firm no if it comes to that.

Keep in mind the cultural fit

While they need to like your company and the offer, the most important thing to determine from your end is chemistry. If you’re targeting someone specific in the first place, you’re probably sure that their experience or skills makes them right for the role.

So, the work you would normally do further down the line has (in part) already been done. What you need to determine now is – are they the right fit for your company? And you’ll want to learn this as soon as possible – there’s no reason pursuing them if they aren’t a good match.

Have a good offer ready

You’ve confirmed they are ready to move and a good cultural fit – it’s time to discover what they want/need to actually take the step.

Don’t beat around the bush. Ask them direct questions, and think of it the same way a candidate in an interview would: the more insightful and well-researched your questions are, the more impressive you will be.

Knowing what you want from them is key. Everyone likes for other to take an interest in their work, but what’s in it for them? Before you approach someone, make sure you have 1) an outline of why you need them and 2) an understanding of what you offer them in return.

Beware of the active factor

Lastly – be mindful that passive candidates can turn into active candidates very quickly if you get their gears moving.

Active candidates might also look elsewhere for a new role (or realise they can push harder for promotion with their current employer). Reminding a fantastic professional that they want more from their career/should consider switching roles is great… unless they take that knowledge (and the work you’ve done to impart it) elsewhere.

The solution to this? Do your best to accurately gauge their buy-in and move quick to close the deal. Again – prepare an agreement in advance, just in case.    

Recruiting Active candidates

In many ways active recruitment is more straightforward because candidates are actively pursuing roles – they probably want what you have, and it’s likely incumbent on them to move fast, which matches your needs.

But what if you really want a specific candidate?

Assume your opinion of an active candidate is the same as the previously discussed passive candidate – you value their skills and experiences and they seem like a good cultural match. You might not have gone looking for them, but now you’ve found them. You want them.

Keep your sense of urgency

Active candidates have time and money pressure to deal with, which might not always benefit you, especially if you’re slow moving.

Great candidates may also be suffering from interview fatigue, and there’s little you can do to account for that. Plus, their price is likely to go up the longer you prevaricate.

So treat active candidates the same way you would late-stage passive candidates: keep the lines of communication open (in fact, giving out your personal details will make you stand out from other recruiting parties) and get the deal closed

Now, putting too much pressure on them is not the way to go, but there’s no harm in making it clear that other people are being interviewed. Be explicit about what the next steps are and always be ready to close in the next round.

It’s not you it’s me, etc

In summary, active vs passive recruitment requires different opening strategies. But in both cases, the onus is still on you to escalate effectively once you’ve found a professional you’re happy with.

Be wary of assumptions. Active candidates won’t necessarily come to you (or at least, the best may not, and if you’re not chasing the best you aren’t doing your job properly). Passive candidates won’t necessarily wait around for you to get your ducks in a row. Active vs Passive recruitment is about the ways and manner that you communicate.

At Juggle we actually distinguish between candidates that are actively looking and those that will only be open to the perfect opportunity, so you can tailor your approach accordingly. Sign your business up today and begin hiring for flexibility, diversity and a better class of candidate.