Are the best candidates actually looking for a job

We take a look at this common view here, and determine whether employers really approach recruitment in this way.

Today’s potential and employed candidates don’t have one eye on the job market, they are getting on with their lives and often need their current position to become dissatisfactory before they start actively job hunting. The most appropriate candidates are therefore most likely to be, as we call it in the recruitment world, ‘passive’. Many jobseekers who have tried looking for work actively in the past, may have also come to some conclusions about how employers recruit that may work against how recruiters source talent. Read our thoughts on the impact of these common perceptions.

Good companies find you, you don’t find them

It is assumed that the ‘Employers of Choice’ don’t need to advertise positions as through the amount of prospective applications received they have a large talent pool to call on, or they tend to head hunt people who are already working in other organisations deemed to have a great reputation. This perception has impacted both the behaviour of potential candidates and employers. Ambitious workers have therefore taken to building their personal brand online in order to get noticed when recruiters are looking to source new talent. However, most people only pay attention to their online profiles in places such as Linked In or their registrations on job boards when they take the decision to seek out a new role.

With employers’ continued investment in direct recruiting, which to a large extent can involve searching for profiles online, many brilliant incumbent professionals do not come to the attention of recruiters. So good companies do find great people, but may miss those who are less findable online.

The jobs you want, are the jobs everyone wants

While looking for a job, a candidate will review and consider a number of job positions, based solely on the information he or she finds published on the job.

Much job hunting occurs on job boards and in professional communities such as LinkedIn. Many of these display the number of applications already received for the job advert on their website. High numbers of applications against a job advert can put off good candidates from applying.

Seeing 250+ applications on a job, will not motivate a candidate to apply for a job as this reduces the chances of the application even being read. So this kind of job advertising can be counter-productive for certain roles.

However, organisations do see the value of advertising not only to build their brand in the eyes of an appropriate target audience, but also to attract enough applications from candidates outside their current employment market to allow them to reach a large enough number of candidates to meet their recruitment requirement. It is always worth applying for a role, as even if there are many applications, recruiters use sophisticated tools to identify the most relevant CVs with the use of key word searching. Take note then that your application should include the best description of your skills and experience.

Passive candidates are likely to make better employees

The fact that an active candidate is around 52% satisfied with his position, and a passive one is around 80% satisfied, should make them less desirable, however this is not the case. Their satisfaction is likely to be the result of feeling valued and receiving positive feedback and reward for their contribution in their current organisation. Although advertising is a valuable source of branding for the hiring organisation, recruiters of more senior and professional roles are looking to efficiently reach the best candidates rather than sifting through many CVs whose content can vary in quality and relevance.

There is  another “hidden” reason for looking mainly for passive candidates – companies really like to impact their competition – but often this means an industry suffers from talent fatique, where the same individuals work around that market meaning talent with additional experience and skills are often overlooked or just not visible when recruiters are undertaking their searches.

When you consider this last point, great recruiters will search more broadly to ensure an organisation’s talent acquisition is refreshed so their client can move forward by employing people who will give them a competitive advantage bringing knowledge and practices from other markets.

So is the perception that those who are not looking to find a new role are likely to add more value to an organisation true?

Not looking for a new position does not guarantee that an employee is necessarily more talented than a person who takes an active role in their own career development, as in all things there is a balance. If you are reading this article and are not currently looking for a job, it is worth making yourself more findable just in case your job is good but not great!

  1. Keep your online profiles up-to-date, including any images of you and/or examples of your work
  2. Be aware that employers advertise because they want to not only improve their brand profile amongst their target audience of potential employees but they do also want to receive applications from new candidates
  3. Recruiters use recommendations and referrals to identify and verify talented professionals, so be aware that any recommendations you can receive on your online profiles are valuable, as is keeping in touch with your professional network both online and in the real world
  4. Contributing to your industry in terms of content and involvement in events are a good way to get noticed

Our last recommendation is that you are not passive about your career and make sure you can be found even if you are busy doing a great job!





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