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Passive Candidates – Why Are They So Important?

Author: Rafał Jędrzejewski | Partner / CEO, Executive & Friends | IPTER Poland

The following years in recruitment only confirm my conviction that it is particularly important for the recruiter to look at the market through the eyes of the Client. Even if the ideas and concepts differ, The Client’s perspective should be the one to start from and to focus on. Of course, I mainly mean recruiters working in consulting companies. On the other hand, the internal recruiter will certainly not be hurt by adopting the perspective of her or his internal Client as well.

At the same time, I would like to emphasize that it is difficult to define success in recruitment differently than mutual satisfaction of the Candidate and the Client, coming from establishing cooperation. Full success is rather a matter of 2-3 years of satisfaction in this respect. Especially many years of practicing this profession lead to such an approach, going further than the mere completion of one or the other recruitment processes. Nevertheless, the rest of the article will specifically show the point of view of employers whose interests are (hopefully) represented by recruiters.

Covid has changed quite a bit, but still most of the Candidates truly interesting for the Client are not active on the labor market. Before the pandemic, estimates and analyzes showed that the number of active people was up to 25%, compared to 75% who do not show any activity. Passive Candidates do not browse offers, do not send CV’s, do not register in databases or portals, or at least do not update their data there, do not follow the career pages of the employers. Could this proportion have changed significantly recently? Certainly not.

Why not? That’s true that larger number of people is available on the market due to regorganisations, company downsizing etc. Several employers overeacted when market slowdown occured. However, at the same time, employed potential Candidates are much more hesitating to consider change. They assume that this is the worst period to move, due to high degree of uncertainty. Those two phenomenons balance each other. Finally, the situation on the labour market, on the supply side, is not that different from the past.

Nethertheless, research data show one more important number – 52% of passive Candidates are ready to consider other career options, if they are made aware of them. It also means, following simple arithmetic, that there is a large group of potential Candidates who are passive and unavailable in the standard way, via ads, portals, databases etc. I believe that for both employers and recruiters it should be a key priority to reach them.

For some recruiters, the above news is good. Under the condition that they have the skills and tools to directly reach the right people. This means that they can provide greater value to several employers. Beyond making job ads or searching databases full of records. Direct search, direct approach, direct communication with the Candidates make difference. Even if it’s the hardest, winding, sometimes ungrateful path, it often leads to the most suitable people.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the technology that is changing the recruitment world more and more also aspires to play an increasingly important role in reaching people who are not looking for a new job. Some of them have achievements and measurable successes, and that is why they are the most interesting for potential future employers. It would be good to choose recruitment methods, which at least give a chance of including this target group. I would recommend both employers and recruiters to have eyes open for evolving recruitment concepts and tools.

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