Fay Hansen’s recent Workforce article posed a question for the next generation of recruiters: Are resume-based recruiting processes, which cater more to the active candidate, effective anymore? The article highlights Synaptics Inc.’s highly-selective strategy, which doesn’t eliminate active candidates but is shifting focus to attract and go after passive candidates.
The effectiveness of passive vs. active recruiting strategies may still be in debate. However, one thing was very clear to me after reading Hansen’s article: The companies you want to work for, (forward thinking, cutting edge, employee friendly) are proving to the C-Suite that the time it takes to cull the passive candidate is a better return on the investment than the quickly attained active candidate. Active candidates, if you are interested in truly landing that job, you have been officially warned and need to heed the alarm like your life depends on it.
For the active candidate, this recruiting strategy switch is just not good news. The biggest advantage active candidates have is immediate accessibility. Typically the active candidate is one who is either unemployed or is so disengaged from their current job they are ready and willing to follow a recruiting process on the company’s terms. They can interview on demand, they can start tomorrow, the recruiter says jump and…you know the rest. If quick accessibility is not a primary driver for the companies you want to work for anymore, you have lost your ace-in-the-hole.
As a recruiter—I want ALL types of candidates to be the candidate worth hiring. I really don’t see passive better than active or vice versa. I will say there is at times an unfair perception from decision makers that the passive candidate is more appealing. Like your “best friend” you never want to date until they hook up with someone else. But just like in high school, that perception is typically overcome quickly and isn’t all encompassing. One thing Hansen’s article did bring back to the forefront is the efficacy of referrals for either passive or active candidates. Synaptics Inc. has a 36% hire rate from referrals which follows in line with percentages from other choice employers.
To take it a step further, in opinion, passive recruiting, at least as defined by Synaptics process, is really a hybrid version of referral recruiting. Why? Both types are based around a relationship being formed before the hiring process. So what does this tell us: That decision makers still like to hire who they know best, because it usually is a better business investment.
So, active applicants—especially those who are out of work and need to get a job, quit making excuses about why you don’t:
- Start building real business relationships now!
- Shake hands
- Join outplacement groups
- Figure out why you are scared to try something new
- Get out from behind the computer
- Do anything but apply to job boards and newspaper advertising
Start fighting the good fight and even out the playing field. You’ve been warned.
Dawn Burke, Sr. Consultant for Recruiting Toolbox and founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker, and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/recruiting/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, with past gigs including a foundational role as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at DawnHBurke.com and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.
Most importantly: She is addicted to TV, knows most of the lyrics to Hamilton and West Side Story, loves to cry at movies (check out Cinema Paradiso for a cry fest!), thinks wine, a wheel of Brie and Milk Duds make a well-balanced dinner, and sings in her car daily. Her husband and cat are the Yin to her Yang.