Are Passive Candidates a Myth?
After CareerBuilder completed a survey of 1,078 employed people in the US and Canada they found that 74% of people are either actively looking for a job or are open to new opportunities. This study also found that 35% of people begin looking for a new job weeks after starting a new one and 69% of people say that job searching is part of their regular routine.
I’m sorry, but…what? If this was truly the case, wouldn’t the job of a recruiter be extremely simple, or maybe even obsolete?
I obviously do not doubt these findings. CareerBuilder published an infographic depicting these statistics and I am sure that all the information is accurate. What I am not sure of is who these 1,078 people surveyed were, and whether they are an accurate representation of the U.S. and Canada as a whole.
First, 1,078 people is a fairly small sample size of the total working population in the two countries. Second, were these people all active members of CareerBuilder? If so, doesn’t that skew the findings? Active members of CareerBuilder are much more likely to be looking for a job, right? Especially ones that are active enough to respond to this survey in the two weeks it was run.
Based on the candidates I come across everyday and my own experience and knowledge of their job searching activities, I personally find these statistics hard to believe.
Working for a venture capital firm and recruiting for positions within rapidly growing, exciting, expansion-stage technology companies, I find that I get responses more often than I did when I was with an agency. But a good portion of those responses look a lot like this: “The company and the position are very intriguing, but I am very happy where I am, and am not looking to make a move.”
Furthermore, per John Hollon’s “Weekly Wrap” article on TLNT, the CareerBuilder survey data was used to conclude that “Passive candidates are not necessarily better than active candidates. If anything, they might be less ambitious.” The survey also concludes that passive candidates do not in fact exist, and that nearly every person is looking for a new opportunity at any given time.
I disagree. I run into passive candidates every single day, and these will always be the candidates I am more excited about — for a few reasons:
- We want candidates who are good at what they do. If you are good at what you do you are, in turn, respected by management and by your peers. If this is the case, it’s likely that you’re not actively looking to leave.
- If you are not actively looking to leave a good job now, chances are that you won’t be quick to leave the job we have for you, either. We are looking for candidates who will want to stay with the company long-term and provide an impact.
- Passive candidates are never candidates who were fired or laid off. While there are certainly many strong candidates out there who have been victims to lay-offs — I know it happens to good employees everyday — with a passive candidate, it is a complete non-issue.
So with all due respect to CareerBuiler, my personal findings working in the industry and regularly targeting passive candidates conclude that they do indeed exist. Also, I believe that far more than 26% of working Americans and Canadians are not actively looking for a job at this very moment.
I know I’m not…