Active vs. Passive Job Seekers: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever tried recruiting new candidates for your open positions, you’ve likely realized that candidates can be split up into segments: active and passive. The terms active and passive refer to the candidate’s role in their job search. Simply put, active candidates are those candidates that are actively looking for a new role and passive candidates are those that are not. In a competitive driver market, it’s important that transportation and logistics companies today are able to identify what types of candidates they need.

Any recruitment team that is looking to boost hiring efforts needs to take a step back and ask themselves a question before they post their next job: what type of candidates are you trying to advertise to, and where can you find them? Answering that question can reduce loads of headaches and will help streamline your recruitment efforts.

What’s an Active Candidate?

Whenever someone applies for your open position directly, they are considered an active candidate. They can be either employed or unemployed, however, what makes them unique is that they are taking an active role in their job search. Typically active candidates are going online and actively searching for a job for multiple days on end. This can be through job boards, social media, or Craigslist.

This is typically what recruitment teams hope they will receive when they are advertising jobs, both online and in more traditional methods. To increase the active candidates you receive from your job posts, your job needs to stand out from the competition and make it clear that your company and team is the one to work with.

Key indicators of what makes an active candidate include:

  • They’ve applied via short form or application

  • Can be either unemployed or employed

  • Usually a shorter time-to-fill

  • Found through job ads, online presence, or job fairs

A best practice when reaching out to these candidates is to do so in a timely manner since the competition will be high if they’ve applied to multiple companies in your region. You can learn more about some other recruitment best practices from our ultimate guide on driver recruitment here.

What’s a Passive Candidate?

If you have a database of past candidates that you are tapping into when you are looking to fill open positions, those are considered passive candidates. There’s no time frame it takes for an applicant to be considered a passive candidate, however, if you haven’t scrubbed through your database in a while, the chances are they may not be interested.

There are also other methods recruiters can utilize to source new passive candidates. One example of an effective way to make a connection with passive candidates is getting job ads in front of them and piquing their interest enough to click on the ad and go through the application. Simply put, a passive candidate is not looking for a new job, but that doesn’t mean your team can’t win them over.

Key indicators of what makes a passive candidate includes:

  • They’re not searching for new opportunities

  • Usually employed

  • Can be sourced through referrals

  • Helps recruiters expand their candidate pool

These passive candidates can be hard to get on the phone, let alone getting them in for an interview, however, they are still a valuable resource for your team to utilize when you are looking to recruit at scale. Before posting your jobs, think about what the optimal ROI for job advertising would be for your team, and then move your recruitment strategy forward from there.

What Kind of Candidate Do You Need?

The simple answer for your team is that you will need both active and passive candidates to really succeed in recruitment. While having active candidates apply to your open positions is the ideal situation for any team, it can be overwhelming to manage multiple job boards and make sure your team is getting optimal ROI. Passive candidates are important since they do make up 70% of the workforce, however without knowing if they are interested or qualified it can be time-consuming to continuously track down every candidate in your database.

Experimenting with tools and services to make driver recruitment simpler and more efficient is a growing trend today in order for recruitment teams to meet their hiring goals.

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