You need to investigate every candidate typeThe definitions have been floating around for a very long time.

Passive candidates are currently employed and are not actively looking for a new position.  They have a good industry reputation, usually have 3+ years with the same employer and can show a progression in their career path.

Active candidates are actively looking for a new job.  They may be unemployed and unhappy with their current job, or they may have been recently laid off.

Active candidates know you are hiring and usually respond to your job posts via your website, online job boards and other advertising.  Passive candidates usually do not even know you are hiring and have to be found. The best search firms usually position themselves as experts at finding and engaging passive candidates.

Historically, many companies have placed a higher value on passive candidates.  Some have suggested that these candidate types are better performers because they have not been laid off.  This indicates a level of value – value that can benefit the competition.

However, the lines between active candidates and passive candidates are being blurred.  According to recent surveys, 37% of employees think about quitting their job regularly and 43% of Generation X (employees in their 30s and 40s) think perpetually about quitting.  Employee engagement levels are at an all-time low.  Seventy-one percent of all employees are not fully engaged, with 25% being actively disengaged from their workplace.  The candidate may be employed, not actively looking, have a wonderful reputation with a stellar track record, but simply not be a productive employee for their company.

Just because someone is active in their job search, it does not mean that they are a poor candidate or will make for a bad hire.  In fact, a person who knows how to effectively market himself, understands how to follow-up and can adapt to changing circumstances (i.e. a company-wide layoff) could be a fantastic candidate.

There still is a difference between the two candidates, but not in the skills and value that they bring to the table….simply in the recruiting approach that needs to be taken with the two different types.

Companies need to consider and attempt to engage with both types of candidates when recruiting for key positions.  Analyzing a person’s value, talent and skill set comes later in the process.

When you ignore active candidates in your search, you are ignoring anywhere from a quarter to half of your potential candidate pool.  In today’s business environment where the average job tenure is 5 years, hiring managers need to consider everyone to be a candidate.

The only real difference between an active candidate and a passive candidate is the manner you use to locate him/her.  Snelling understands this.  Stay tuned next week for some tactical steps you can take to locate and begin a conversation with both types of candidates.

If you are looking for a staffing and recruiting partner who knows how to reach 100% of your candidate pool, contact Snelling today.  Visit our website for your local office and sign up for our blog’s RSS feed to get the latest recruiting tips and tricks to help you build the best workforce possible.