The importance of engaging passive candidates in the UK’s labour market

How Much of the Candidate Market is Truly Passive?

As many as 70% of the workforce consists of passive candidates—individuals not actively searching for new employment. Solely relying on active job seekers narrows down your talent pool to a mere 30%. However they aren’t just keen on your role; they’re reviewing the entire job market. Given that the Office for National Statistics reported around 1 million job vacancies at any one time, it’s clear why applications might seem scarce: job openings outnumber active job seekers.


Understanding Active vs. Passive Candidates

Active Candidates: These are individuals who proactively apply for job positions. They see a job advertisement, find it appealing, and decide to take a chance. If they align well with the role, the likelihood of hiring them increases.

Passive Candidates: They aren’t on the hunt for a job, which means the onus is on recruiters to identify and engage them. Convincing them to consider a change might require highlighting unique opportunities within your business.


Strategies for recruiting these two groups differ considerably. For active candidates, casting a wide net might fetch numerous applications, which then need to be meticulously screened. On the other hand, with passive candidates, recruiters pinpoint their needs first and then scout for the right fit.

Attracting passive talents demands dedication—it involves extensive research, outreach, and persistence. Given its complexity, many companies opt to collaborate with recruitment agencies, like Workforce.


Optimising Engagement for Both Active and Passive Candidates

Streamline the Application Process: The journey from seeing a job listing to applying should be as frictionless as possible. An overly complex or lengthy application process can deter even the most enthusiastic active candidates. For passive candidates, they may not even bother to begin. Ensure that your application platform is intuitive and doesn’t ask for repetitive information.


Reduce friction wherever possible

Active candidates are looking to engage with you, whereas with passive candidates, you’re trying to engage with them. Passive candidates may be less likely to want to go through multiple rounds of interviews, test assignments, and frustrating online applications. Regardless of a job seekers active or passive status, all candidates will appreciate a streamlined application process.


Top Tip: Put the shoe on the other Foot!

Have you tried submitting a CV or filling out an online application for your company? If not, take a few minutes and try it out. Many internal platforms waste candidates’ time with unnecessary steps, form fields, and complicated processes; applicants often have to upload their CV, but are then forced to re-enter all their information. Active job seekers may be willing to work through long or complex applications, but passive job seekers will likely just move on.


Since 60% of applicants don’t complete job applications already, don’t make job candidates jump through unnecessary hoops.


Consider creating a special workflow for passive candidates that bypasses your normal hiring process. Instead of making a candidate fill out an online application and initial screening, offer them a fast-track opportunity to talk immediately to someone with hiring authority.


Extended hiring timelines are one of the primary grievances among job seekers. When you stumble upon an exceptional candidate, swift action is essential, otherwise you lose them to competitors or their current satisfaction. Delays can also increase hiring costs, especially if other offers force you into salary negotiations.


Entice with Incentives: Today, job seekers prioritise more than just a lucrative salary. Attributes such as work-life balance, job security, conducive work environment, and growth opportunities rank high. Post-pandemic, values centred around health, family, and flexibility have gained prominence. Review and realign your benefits package to resonate with these evolving preferences.


Be Forward-Looking: Recruiting in the current climate necessitates a proactive stance. Passive candidate sourcing is no longer a luxury but a need. To remain competitive, it’s crucial to explore and exhaust all avenues of talent sourcing.


For a comprehensive understanding of strategies tailored to attract both active and passive talents, consider contacting our team today.

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