July 1, 2023

How to indicate the difference between active and passive candidates


In the business world, where people are everything, companies tend to hire the best specialists in their field. Suppose they cannot hire the right candidate among those who are actively looking for a job. In that case, they simply poach workers from their competitors as they need the best candidates in the market to maximize their business goals and fill their enterprises’ human resource gaps. In other words, recruiters are nowadays performing a complex task hunting for both active job seekers and passive job seekers, especially in IT recruiting.


We will try to determine the difference between active and passive candidates. Plus, we will learn more about the ways of finding and hiring candidates.

The two types of job seekers

It goes about active and passive candidates. No one claims that some of them are worse than others. Both categories have their pros and cons.


Active job seekers are the ones who are actively looking for a job. They are energetically looking through job ads and applying for desirable positions. Most of them are new hires with no work experience. Some are currently employed but searching for a better salary, career prospects, or working conditions.


Passive job seekers are currently employed and not in a hurry to change their jobs. They are open to new career opportunities, but they have not decided to change their job yet. They are not actively monitoring job boards or vacancies on social media networking sites. On the other hand, a passive candidate can become an active one in a moment.


Thus, the sensible recruitment strategy balances the two treatments: recruiting active job seekers for the currently open roles and keeping in mind recruiting passive candidates in prospects.


Why should both categories not be overlooked? Statistics will give us the answer. According to LinkedIn, only 30% of the global human resource population belong to the category of active job seekers. An incredible 87% of job seekers are active and passive candidates open to new job opportunities. This means that those who exclusively target active candidates and neglect hiring passive candidates lose the lion’s share of potential applicants.

How to find active candidates

The search and hiring of active candidates are the most straightforward and traditional because they are actively looking for a new job, browsing various resources, and are ready to consider different offers.


They may be found through such resources:

  • jobs ads on companies’ websites’ job board pages;
  • bulletin board ads on the internet;
  • paid ads with specific keywords on social media networks like Facebook or LinkedIn.

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How to find passive candidates

Passive candidate recruiting is a more complicated process as they are not actively looking for a new position. Thus, recruiters cannot get by with traditional job boards in this case. That is why they have to apply different hiring methods here.


These methods may be as follows:

  • Using LinkedIn and other social networks’ opportunities. The SHRM’s survey says that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to recruit passive candidates who are not energetically looking for a new job but refresh their resumes from time to time.
  • Promoting posts on social media sites. Some passive candidates who are not searching for a job may already know something about your company, like it, and would not mind being hired by your company.
  • Building an attractive work culture. Even passive candidates read and learn from others about companies’ strong and employee-friendly work culture. Again, according to statistics, every third worker would change their current job to a new one with a better work culture.
  • Using recruiters’ talent pool. There may appear to be a specialist who did not match another position but perfectly matched the current one.
  • Using colleagues’ referrals. Your current co-workers may suggest a perfect candidate they know in person who works for another company but would not mind changing their current position.


As we can see, there is no and cannot be a difference in the working qualities of active and passive job seekers. The only difference is that the first ones have already made a conscious decision to change jobs and are actively searching. In contrast, the second ones have not yet made such a decision and are not enthusiastically looking for a new position.


Therefore, recruiting passive candidates is more difficult and costlier in terms of time and human effort. But the result in both cases is worth the effort.