The Sought-After Passive Candidate
By Elijah Thomas
Not every new job candidate arrives via a mailed-in application or LinkedIn posting. In fact, those pathways often make for a longer, more arduous hiring process.
Managers will tell you that some of the fastest, best hires are proven commodities in other companies who haven’t thrown their hat into the ring for a new position. Dubbed “passive candidates,” they’re too busy helping their current employer achieve operational goals to spend an inordinate amount of time photocopying their resume. Here’s why many companies prefer them:
HOW THESE EMPLOYEES ARE DIFFERENT
These job candidates are already employed in the same or a similar position, rather than arriving off the unemployment rolls or as someone trying to move up the company ladder. Those who haven’t been working may have hidden issues that will impact their continued employment, and sometimes aren’t straight-forward about why they were laid off, fired or quit. This lengthens the reference-check element of hiring, and can mean taking a chance on someone who may have a less-favorable history at work. It’s easier for recruiters to pinpoint the most attractive candidates when they’re currently having success in comparable roles.
POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS
Obviously, you’ll need to be successful at what you do to become a passive candidate for another job in your field. But beyond doing your best in furthering various career goals, you’ll need to sell yourself to a group of hiring managers who may be unknown to you. That means keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date, and remaining active there in describing your successes. Recruiters might also ask coworkers for recommendations, review previous applications, consult professional groups and social media sites, or utilize a modern talent-management system.
BE READY TO MOVE FAST
Passive hiring is meant to speed up things, so be ready to jump into the hiring process as quickly as possible. You’ll want to have an updated traditional resume and cover letter at hand, so you can quickly respond if and when a potential employer reaches out to you. Keep other relevant documents like certifications and college transcripts in an easily found place, in case they are needed. Convert them all to PDF copies as well, since someone outside your immediate area might reach out. Then you can quickly upload everything to an email or website.