Friday, 3 August 2012

Everyone’s Interested in New Opportunities, aren’t they?

Pie chart 300x168 Everyone’s Interested in New Opportunities, aren’t they?

The idea of a perfect candidate is one we hear all too often. Yet in this candidate-rich market, hiring managers are still constantly pining for that perfect hire – the one that’s hidden amongst the masses with a skill set perfectly suited to join your corporate brand. More commonly than not, you hear these candidates referred to as a passive job seeker.

But who are they? What is the difference between active and passive candidates? What impact do they have on your recruitment strategy? And why are passive candidates so highly sought after?

Anyone who has done recruiting will understand the difference between active and passive candidates. The most common definition for a ‘passive candidate’ is employed, but not looking for another opportunity. An ‘active candidate’, however, is a candidate that is currently seeking a new employment opportunity.

Yet, a recent poll by webrecruit found the meaning of active and passive may not be so clear cut. The survey taken part by 749 LinkedIn users, asked candidates how they would best describe themselves in terms of searching for new opportunities.

The results revealed 46% of candidates would consider themselves as active job seekers currently looking for a job. 9% were passive and would not initiate candidacy, and another 4% were not interested in opportunities at all. The remaining 41%, however, are not actively looking for a job, but are curious about opportunities they see before them, and are more commonly referred to as the actively passive. So what does this mean for recruitment?

Many argue that a passive or curious candidate is more desirable than an active candidate. This is because, unlike active candidates, they aren’t looking for jobs and must, therefore, be better.

But reaching the passive market can be a challenge. After all, passive candidates aren’t looking for a job and are not using the traditional recruitment platforms. As such, business networking, social media and direct candidate sourcing become key channels to recruit these types of individuals.

The fact is, as recruiters, we have to seek out the right candidates – passive, active and everything in between – regardless of their current working status. Which means we have to be vigilant in the resources we are using, and more importantly, how we are using them.

In reality, no type of candidate is better than the other. Rather, the best candidate is the one that best meets your needs, is the best person for the job, and the best person for fitting into your organisation.

And these findings show now, more than ever, the importance of embracing an integrated recruitment strategy comprising both social media and traditional recruitment methods in order to identify the best person for the job.

James Caan - Issue 105

Dear Member,

Talking about the current financial climate and the affect it’s having on the jobs market is something I’ve had to do a lot of recently. It is tough out there, and with recent government statistics revealing a 0.7% fall in GPD, it doesn’t look set to significantly improve any time soon.

However, and I say this vehemently, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Recessions can provide us with an opportunity to identify new and exciting career paths.

I also believe that positivity and a healthy dose of fighting spirit is the recipe for career success in these hard times. To help foster this, webrecruit has teamed up with Aimee Bateman, of Careercake.TV, to bring you CareerCamLive.

CareerCamLive – a monthly live careers show – will see Aimee answer questions from those seeking careers advice. The first show – Using Social Media to Job Hunt – is on 7th August, 18:30, and is available here:

Aimee is incredibly knowledgeable and fantastic to watch, so please ensure to tune in.

Now, back to the column. This week I’d like to discuss the issues facing public sector workers seeking employment in the private sector.

For instance, I received an email from Alex, a finance officer within local government looking to move into the private sector due to a lack of progression in his current role.

Having worked in local government for the last four and a half years, he is now seeking his next step up as a finance analyst or manager. However, he fears that prospective employers may be put off by his public sector background.

He asks me:

‘Is there anything that I can do to show them that I am capable of translating the skills I have and continue to learn into the private sector?’

Alex, I can see you’re in a frustrating position. Whilst there are many benefits of working in the public sector, career progression isn’t necessarily one at present.

Transitioning from the public to private sector can be a challenge; this is because they are often seen as two different worlds.

As you mentioned, Alex, progression prospects within local government can be limited. Whilst the public sector can offer flexibility in terms of working hours and holiday, the workspace can be regimented and includes a lot of red tape.

The private sector can also prove to be a very challenging working climate too – it’s incredibly target-driven, with longer working hours and shorter holidays. Yet, the rewards, both personally and financially, can be fantastic.

To make the move, you must consider the type of company you are interested in working for. Whilst I appreciate you’re open to any industry, it’s important to target your job seeking efforts in order to transfer your skills and demonstrate your value effectively.

In your case, Alex, with your lack of private sector experience I’d try adopting a different approach to your CV. We know that the private sector keeps a firm eye on costs, so emphasise what value you will deliver; for example, your budget management skills.

You mentioned you were studying towards your CIMA. This is an excellent example of going the extra mile to gain new expertise. Make sure to communicate the qualification’s value and how you are able to transfer this to a new commercial setting.

It may also be worth mentioning the importance of an online profile. Why not harness LinkedIn’s potential to market yourself? Private sector employers check candidates’ profiles online and it can be a strong networking tool.

Overall, your challenge, Alex, is to present your experience in such a way that a prospective employer can ‘slot’ you into their company. If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to finding your next opportunity.


James Caan