Why We Love Passive Job Seekers and Your TT Office Should Too

By Glen Gardner posted 02-27-2017 10:13


The word “passive” gets a bad rap. There’s passive aggressive behavior. There are people who are passive and just let life happen to them. But there’s nothing bad about the passive job seeker. As a matter of fact, it’s often the preference, here’s why:

What’s a Passive Job Seeker?

First, let’s define a passive job seeker. A passive job seeker is not actively looking for a job. They’re gainfully employed in their field of choosing. They are excelling in their current position and focused on it, not looking for something else.

They are also largely untouchable. They are not actively looking so they are missing all your job ads and posts. They are not on LinkedIn every day because they’re not looking for a job. Sure, they may subscribe to industry/group digests that are delivered to their email but they’re not paying attention to job postings.

Only about 25% of the workforce is actively looking for a position and many of those are looking because they are dissatisfied with their current job. This may be for good reason but it may also be a career pattern, like those who are unable to work for someone or play nicely on a team.

How Do You Reach the Passive Job Seeker?

Executive search firms have advantages in reaching this passive job seeker. Specialized recruiters often have relationships with the best and brightest people in the field they work in. When they present an opportunity that they think the passive job seeker might be interested in, this relationship tells the seeker that this is a good opportunity that suits them well. It’s like getting a referral from a friend.  You take that more seriously than an ad in the paper because that person knows you.

The recruiter also knows where the job seeker is coming from and what the new position may offer that is similar to what they like about their current position or different from what they dislike. So, using an executive search firm helps you get the passive’s attention.

Finally, because they’re not “officially” on the market your position is often the only one they are considering, which places you at a recruiting advantage. In the situations when that is not the case, your recruiter can help position your opening in a personal way that your ad alone cannot do.