04 Dec Passive vs. Active: The Two Types of Candidates

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It is always a tough task to know how to approach a potential candidate during the recruiting process and later on the interview rounds. You first need to identify the type of candidate you will be engaging, passive or active. Now, it is not like in the recruiting world everything is black or white. There can be the “not so active yet not passive” candidates, “super passive” candidates, “in the middle” type of candidates… well, you get the idea. I honestly don’t think there is a scale to categorize them… If you do know one, please feel free to share on the comments section! But for this post’s sake, let’s discuss what active and passive mean in the startup recruiting business.

The Passive Candidate

Most candidates that fall into this category are happily employed and not looking for a job. However, some passive candidates have not closed the door to any opportunity coming their way. They would create some space in their busy agenda to contemplate the chance of getting a different job that best suits their expectations, excites them and even gives them the chance to grow higher in their career. It is how you reach out to them that gets them thinking.

Keep in mind that there are passive candidates willing to talk to you and those who will not. It is your job as a hiring manager or startup recruiter to make them excited about talking to you. When you initially approach them it will need to be a great pitch, hoping to get it out of the park. Provide an introduction of your startup and concrete reasons why you thought of them as a great acquisition for your team as well as benefits that come with the job. Do not waste their time with an unengaging interview, have open ended questions allowing them to go into as much detail as they prefer. This lot of candidates will be extra picky about switching jobs, be sure they are the right person you wish to hire to make it a win for both parties.
The Active Candidate

These are the ones on the market, currently looking for work. They might as well already be employed but feeling like there is another place where they could be fully content. These candidates are proactive and willing to speak to anyone with a job post that catches their attention. Most positions are filled from this group of candidates.

Since they are already branding themselves and sending out resumes, it becomes much easier to find them and get an appointment with them. A simple job posting announcement will get them coming your way. Nonetheless, just because they are actively looking for their next position, does not mean they will stay engaged to the opportunity you are presenting. Have the same respect and approach for this type of candidate that you would give a passive one.

Maria Jose Chaves

Maria is an English teacher graduated from the Universidad Hispanoamericana in Costa Rica. She is now a full time technical writer for recruitment startups. An avid reader on all matters technology, marketing and a beauty blogger on the side.