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Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions

Passive Candidate

A passive candidate refers to someone who is already employed and not proactively looking for work but who could be interested in a new job opportunity. It’s important to include passive candidates into an overall sourcing and recruiting strategy as otherwise you miss engaging and attracting a majority of the workforce.

What are the differences between passive and active candidates?

Here’s a quick overview of some of the main factors that differentiate passive candidates from active candidates. 

Passive candidate

  • Already employed and not immediately available
  • Not looking for a job but be enticed by a new opportunity
  • Sourced through social media and other online networks
  • Needs to be personally engaged to apply for a job vacancy

Active candidate

  • Unemployed and ready to start a new job
  • Proactively searching for a new job
  • Sourced through job boards and search sites, career sites, and other online platforms
  • Applying to job openings via job posts

How to turn passive candidates into active candidates?

Build longer-term relationships with passive candidates and let them know you still want to hear from them even if they are not interested in your current offer. By staying in touch you have the chance to get them to apply when they are ready for a change.

Encourage candidates to follow your social media accounts to keep them engaged and interested in your brand, and informed of any new opportunities.

Highlight growth opportunities within your organization on your career site and in recruiting marketing materials so potential candidates can envision the full value of making a move to your company. 

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