“The best candidates aren’t on the job market”: not true!

The belief that the best candidates not looking for job opportunities, unlike those actively seeking new pastures, is an ingrained and old fashioned myth perpetuated by Executive Search firms.

As result candidates frequently express concerns that if they are seen to be actively looking for a job or are between roles it can be unattractive to employers.

Employers, in turn, are led to believe that the really great candidates have to be head-hunted as they aren’t looking for a job (a view especially common in management consultancy recruitment). There can be the perception that good candidates certainly don’t apply to “job adverts”. This influences their recruitment strategies and makes it more difficult for them to hire.

Active job hunters must be a key part of your talent strategy.

Here are six good reasons why:

  1. Passive or headhunted candidates can waste a lot of time if they are on a fishing expedition. They may use a job offer to get a better deal with their current employer or indeed just to see what’s in the market to validate their intention to remain.
  2. No job is perfect. The active candidate often has more sensible expectations of both the role and the salary and can, therefore, be much easier to attract. Neither of these points tends to apply to headhunted candidates.
  3. A headhunted candidate will rarely have any enthusiasm for a swift process. An active job seeker will be keen to get to offer stage quickly and may be able to start immediately if they are not working.
  4. Passive candidates take more effort and time to find. Often LinkedIn profiles are out of date, have limited information or are inaccurate. This wastes everyone’s time and adds significant time to the hiring process.
  5. A headhunted candidate often calls the shots and can name their terms. That makes an active candidate a much more congenial prospect. Their skills may be highly sought after and you might not secure them at a reduced price but the relationship is more equal.
  6. Active job seekers will, of course, be looking at other jobs. But If they take your job offer it will be for the right reasons based on a good look at the market. It doesn’t make them more difficult to land than a “passive” candidate.

Remember, an active job seeker may be in the job market for a host of very legitimate and understandable reasons. These days, if they are between jobs because they were made redundant from their last role that hardly ever relates to their performance. They will usually thrive with a new employer.

The role of the recruiter

Employers sometimes seem keen for us to deep dive into ‘passive’ candidate pools without any real understanding of why, or how they might attract or afford such candidates but with a vague feeling that it’s what they are paying a recruiter for.

They are not: a recruiter does their job if they find a good candidate for an employer who is right for the role, ideally available to commence work in a reasonable time scale while providing good service, irrespective of their source.

So it doesn’t matter how the candidate comes through the door and often the active candidate is a better bet.

To sum up: embrace active job seekers!

For more information on optimising your hiring approach or working with recruitment consultants email Chris Sale, Managing Director, Prism Executive Recruitment [email protected], call him on 0203 143 5926 or visit our Client Services page.

Subscribe to our blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.