A Study on Active vs. Passive Candidates

Hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals put applicants into two distinct groups: active and passive. Both groups behave differently, and today, we will be learn their behaviors so that it may help us make valuable decisions related to recruitment.

Hiring strategies often change when dealing with candidates that belong to either of the two groups. But no matter the method, hiring the best candidate matters the most.

Applicants are expected to have different levels of interest and motives while applying to your company. This is why your recruitment strategy cannot be the same for all candidates. Instead, it should appeal to different people differently, according to their needs and interests.

This way, you will make sure you attract top talent and keep them interested in working for your organization without making any unnecessary efforts.

Choosing an expert recruitment process outsourcing provider like Exela HR Solutions will make your job even easier.

Just tell us what you need and when you need it, we will use our robust HR infrastructure and expansive talent networks to get you the talent you need.


Simply put, applicants that are actively looking for jobs are active candidates. This group can be motivated to look for other opportunities due to multiple reasons.

Fired? The employer went out of business? Not satisfied with the current pay? Not sure about the employer’s stability? Is the work environment toxic? Rejoining the workforce after a long time?

These are some of the main reasons why candidates decide to go active.

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, a fourth of all employed applicants are active, but 66% of all active applicants are employed. This means that a majority of the people are happy with their current job, along with the fact that only a minority of job seekers are unemployed. This is because people who already have a job are majorly the ones actively looking out for open positions in other companies in order to advance their careers.

Posting about open positions on social media and job portals is still the number one method used by recruiters to find active candidates. These public forums have the capacity to make businesses reach a very large group of people quickly. Using just the right keywords while posting about your open position can amplify that reach even further in front of a few hundred more candidates. But the biggest drawback of this method is that there is a lot of filtering required after applicants have applied, in order to identify the real talent from the fake ones.

To avoid this hassle completely, many businesses will often partner with a trusted recruitment process outsourcing provider like Exela HR Solutions, which helps businesses find active top talent as quickly as possible.

Another big mistake hiring managers commit while combating this problem of weeding out unqualified applicants is to purposefully design a complicated and confusing application process. This might seem like a great idea on the outside, but in reality, it isn’t. By doing this, the company in fact, loses out unnecessarily on a lot of top talent. Why make your own job harder? Design a simple and easy-to-apply application process so that you don’t lose out on the best people.

A simple application process will always attract unqualified candidates. But make sure you have a team set in place for following up. One-to-one follow-up experience gives a positive perception of the company in the minds of the candidate. On the other hand, a poor candidate experience can damage the reputation of your company and may affect your hiring results negatively in the future.

Also Read: Answer these questions to improve employee retention and loyalty


Passive candidates are applicants that already employed and are not actively looking out for newer opportunities. Almost 75% of the total workforce falls under this category, a LinkedIn survey concluded recently.

The people who fall under this group are not actively looking out for newer opportunities. Targeting this group sure sounds counterintuitive, right? It is, yet it is often recommended we pursue such talents. Why? Because the biggest upside to targeting passive candidates is that they are isolated and are not aspiring to pursue any other offers or companies. Half the battle is won right here. The other half is generating curiosity and interest in the minds of the passive candidates. The initial contact can be soft and informal to let them know about your company as well as the reason why you chose to contact them. Appreciate their past experiences and let them know how your opening is relevant to their experience. This definitely generates curiosity and interest. Once this aura is established, it becomes easier to ask them to be available on a video or audio call to have a quick chat.

Another great way to tap into the “untapped potential” of passive candidates is through referral programs. Existing employees are already interested in bringing over their talented friends and colleagues to your company. The cost of acquisition is zero, and you build a well-balanced work culture, an overall win-win.

Exela Technologies is a leading global recruitment process outsourcing company. Our robust HR tech and well-built networks can help you find your next candidate without any hassle. Our expert HR professionals are well-versed in attracting all types of candidates and can help you source the right talent for your company at the right time.

Learn more about our Offerings.

Sources: google.com | en.wikipedia.org | linkedin.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.