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Are passive candidates always the best hire?


A constant struggle for hirers using AI recruiting software is balancing the search for active and passive candidates. Active candidates are easier to find because they’ve indicated they’re looking for work or are open to a change. But passive candidates are perceived as higher quality because “all the best people already have jobs.” That old saying may be true statistically, but a resourceful recruiter doesn’t discount active candidates.

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Why is the active candidate active?

First, let’s not think of active candidates as tainted just because they’re looking for a job. Nearly all of us have been in the market for a job, and that was no reflection on us. Don’t make the assumption that they’re damaged goods! Until you interview an active candidate, you don’t know the story.
Consider the possibilities…

  1. The active candidate has been caught up in downsizing or reorganization.
  2. They are relocating with a spouse or for family reasons.
  3. They’re looking for a corporate culture more like yours and less like their previous employer.
  4. They made the proactive decision to make a career change.

They could be just the candidate you’re looking for. But if you reject every active candidate, you’ll never have an interview.

Is the active candidate really less qualified?

You may come across active candidates who have many, but not all, of the skills and experience you require. Before you reject them, give the situation some thought.

  1. Could you quickly train up this person on the missing skills? By the time you find the perfect candidate, the active candidate could be on the job and trained up.
  2. What’s the cost of keeping the job open while you find and onboard a passive candidate?
  3. Could you hire that active candidate for less money?

Conventional wisdom says always hire the best candidate. But take a longer-term view, and consider whether getting someone to start earlier, take less salary, and receive some training might make better business sense.

Can someone be actively looking, and not know it?

It sounds illogical, but we don’t always know when we might be ready to change jobs. Consider your own career trajectory – have you unconsciously tended to change jobs every 3-5 years? Or stay in one position for 2 years? Does the progression of your promotions suggest you might be ready for additional responsibilities at a new company? A brilliant AI-assisted recruiting system like Arya People Intelligence can spot these subtle patterns and shortlist passive candidates in your feed who may be ready to consider your job. These are insights that a traditional AI that just matches keywords in resumes and profiles could totally miss.

Active or Passive – Move Quickly and Stay Engaged

The key to making the most of your active and passive candidate pipeline is to move quickly. Great candidates find themselves looking for jobs all the time, but they don’t have to look for long. Somebody is bound to reach out soon, and it might as well be you. When you spot a qualified active candidate, engage them right away and compete with the countless other companies who’ll be reaching out. This is no time to fumble while others engage your candidate.

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This is where a candidate engagement platform like the Connect dashboard within Arya helps you be more agile, more personal, and more persistent. Through a single easy-to-use interface, you can connect with candidates via talk, text, chat or chatbot, while they’re hot on the market.

Recruiting is hard enough. Don’t neglect a big part of your pipeline.

As sophisticated as AI-assisted recruiting has become, it’s no substitute for good old human intelligence. Only an intuitive recruiter can truly balance the needs of the business in choosing the person to hire. Does hiring an active candidate at a lower salary pay for any additional training? Is it better to hire now rather than wait for a candidate who may or may not emerge?  Only a seasoned recruiter can make those decisions, but you need the view of all candidates, whether passive or active.

Arya Quantum searches the entire universe of talent and uses People Intelligence to deliver the best active and passive candidates and the communications dashboard that lets you engage them quickly.

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