Are You an Active or Passive Candidate?

Back to Blogs
New Year New Career Thumbnail
Share this Article

Are You an Active or Passive Candidate?

  • Publish Date: 6 months ago
  • Author:by Ayrton Fontaine

​Statistics show that 75% of global candidates are 'passive job seekers'

Passive candidates can be defined as individuals who are not actively seeking a new job role, due to either being satisfied in their current role, being part of an ongoing project, or simply a lack of motivation to seek opportunity. Whereas, an active candidate takes action to find a better vocation, improve career prospects, and in theory give themselves more opportunity for change.

Is it better to be an active or passive candidate?

The type of candidate you should aim to be is highly dependent on which sector or type of industry you work within. Sectors such as administration, customer service, and sales are often seen as more 'disposable' skill sets, with willing replacements said to be easier to find. As a candidate working in this employer-led environment, you cannot afford to be as passive and will likely benefit from actively making yourself accessible to potential employers either via numerous job applications, adding your details to a CV database, or engaging with a recruitment agency.  

On the other hand, in industries prizing more niche or deeper skill sets, such as Technology, Engineering, or Scientific, candidates are often in high demand and so can afford to be a little more passive in their approach. Forbes found that only 30% of the global tech workforce are actively seeking more – putting greater emphasis on the employer to go out and find them. The question for this group of candidates is, even if you have a desirable skill set to offer, are you in the right places to be discovered?

As a short answer, no; it is not better to solely be an active or passive candidate. The first question you need to ask yourself is where do I fit on the scale below? Are you in a low-skilled environment needing to work that bit harder to find new opportunity, are you highly skilled and can afford to take a foot off the gas, or like most of us are you somewhere in the middle just looking to make yourself that little bit more desirable to a potential employer?

How desirable do you think you are?

As mentioned, your ability to be recognised and plucked from the talent pool will be relative to the environment in which you work, the demand for your particular skill set, and your competition. There are three fundamentals to making yourself desirable to potential employers.

A candidate, either passively or actively searching for a new role while still in full-time employment is far more desirable than an individual who is currently unemployed. Your worth and value as an employee is far easier to demonstrate – with recruiters and employers able to see the difference your role is making in real-time, without having to rely on a snippet from your CV. Don’t wait until you’re at the end of the road to start your job search, whether you are looking or not keep an open mind, flag yourself as open to new opportunities.  

Many passive and even some active candidates continue to rely on outdated CVs and old profiles, if you haven’t added those latest qualifications, skills, or work placements, how can you expect recruiters and prospective employers to know your true potential? Is there something that you could add to push you up the skills scale? Is this something you already have in your armoury? Or is this something new you could explore?

All the statistics point to passion and drive being the way to fill a skills gap, according to a survey conducted by The Polling Company, 70% of Talent Acquisition leaders, and over half of recruiters (51%) push forward candidates with greater motivation and drive, although difficult to demonstrate on paper, Indeed research also backs this up suggesting that 9/10 recruiters preferred to hire active candidates, could this be the route to making yourself more desirable if you're lower on the skills scale?

5 tips for making yourself accessible:

You have decided where you sit in the skills model, you know how active or passive you need to be to create a new opportunity for yourself and you have updated your profile to help maximise your potential and saleability. Here are five steps to ensure you're making yourself discoverable and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

1. Build your online brand

How discoverable are you? Could a potential employer find you with a quick search? According to research conducted by Aberdeen Group, a staggering 73% of millennials found their last job through a social networking platform.

  • Upload your CV to relevant job boards (Completing additional profile information where applicable)

  • Update LinkedIn profile – Does this match your CV? Have you declared yourself as open to opportunity?

  • Do your other social media platforms give the right impression?  

2. Talk to a recruiter 

Not all recruiters are created equal. Upload your CV to relevant local and specialist recruiters.

3. Fill a skills gap

Look at your peers, is there a skill or qualification that could complement your current skill set or make you eligible for your dream job?

4. Be confident 

Approachability and preparation are key to success when searching for a new role - be confident in your ability, be willing to clearly communicate your experience, and explain your career choices.

5. Be Motivated 

Show passion and drive within your role and towards any potential opportunity - According to a survey conducted by The Polling Company, the top reason for Passive Candidates not being successful in their new roles is due to showing a lack of passion and commitment at 51%.