Typically, we in the staffing industry refer to candidates as either active or passive:
Active candidates are those candidates that are energetically seeking new career opportunities. They may currently be unemployed, or with the economy showing signs of turning, feel as if they are underemployed – underemployed candidates may believe they are not challenged, are not leveraging their knowledge and are underpaid and undervalued. Many of the professionals that fall into this category have taken positions that they were overqualified for because of the economic conditions that have existed over the past few years.
The other potential types of active candidates are those who are employed but are simply seeking different opportunities to advance their career objectives more quickly.
Passive candidates are just the opposite. They are not actively looking for a new position. They are generally happy with their current situation and see no immediate reason to change. They believe that, for the most part, they are fairly compensated for what they do and feel a certain loyalty to a current employer or manager. Something extremely compelling would need to be presented in order for them to change employers.
Hiring Passive Candidates
While employers may feel like they are in the driver’s seat, the tide has definitely shifted toward the employee, and speed in the hiring process has become the biggest differentiator for successful companies.
Once a passive candidate is in a position to potentially consider an offer; they will immediately become extremely active to ensure that the offer and position that they accept next, is in fact the best for them in the market at that time. An individual that has been in a position for many years will usually evaluate multiple opportunities, including a reassessment of their current role, before accepting a new position.
Skilled candidates today are receiving numerous competing offers for various opportunities as well as counteroffers from their current employer. In fact, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of candidates that go through a formal interview process and accept an offer, only to never show up for their new position or leave within the first 60 days. With all of this pressure in the market, unemployment for college degreed professionals remains a low four percent (1). This number is significantly less than half of the published unemployment rate for the entire population.
So how do you get a candidate to say yes to your opportunity? Time can be your enemy! Time creates opportunity, not for the employer but for the candidate. Rapidly changing market conditions have set the stage for the most highly qualified candidates to have more options to choose from. This can leave employers fighting for talented professionals in their industry.
Once the hiring process begins, these candidates will likely seek additional time to evaluate multiple opportunities. It is critical to use a recruiting process that compresses the time between the following:
- Candidate identification
- Candidate Selection
- Candidate interview
- Offer extension
- Offer acceptance
- Start date
Attracting and retaining human capital is the key to operating a successful and productive business. If your organization acts swiftly and efficiently, you can create a competitive advantage in the pursuit for the most qualified professionals.
1. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics data - July 2011. Unemployment Rate - Bachelor’s degree and higher, 25 yrs. and over