What Sets Apart the Active Job Seeker from the Passive One and Why

The competitiveness of today’s market has businesses seeking out high-calibre candidates to meet their objectives and remain ahead. To attract a larger pool of qualified applicants, hiring teams require novel methodologies. Active recruiting has been a long-standing component of the hiring process; however, recently, organisations have started recognising the potential for individuals who offer fresh perspectives. As a result, there has been a growing discourse around the disparities between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ job seekers, and the diverse benefits each group can offer. In this informative article, we will examine the primary contrasts between active and passive job searchers, and their individual merits.

The Various Types of Job Seekers

It is apparent that individuals looking for employment approach their quest with different motivations and objectives; this has led to the emergence of two distinctive groups, each with unique approaches.
There are two clear-cut categories of job seekers.

  • Individuals who are proactively searching for employment
  • Unengaged job seekers

Internationally, several individuals are discontent with the contrasting nature of ‘active’ and ‘passive’ job searchers, as they comprehend that each tactic offers unique benefits and drawbacks.

Distinguishing characteristics of active versus passive job seekers

Who are the Active Job Searchers?

  1. Individuals who actively pursuit job openings and apply promptly after identifying them, both on the organisation’s careers page and through various advertisement platforms, are known as active job seekers.
  2. Whenever a business posts a job opening on their official hiring portal or any other medium, it acts as an ‘enticement’ that pulls in active job seekers, just as a bait entices fish. Like fishing expedition, job seekers search for positions that align with their professional goals and provide a competitive compensation package.
  3. Currently, countless individuals are in pursuit of job opportunities, and most of them are novices who lack relevant work experience.

Why Do Passive Job Searchers Struggle to Secure a Job?

  1. Businesses are required to discover and engage with “passive job seekers,” individuals who aren’t actively seeking job opportunities, to mend the void in their workforce.
  2. Analogy between job searching and fishing can be established, with similar fundamentals in play. Conversely, passive job seekers may not opt for the most direct course, necessitating a re-evaluation of the issue. Similar to fishing, not everyone employs a similar technique; some prefer spearfishing instead. Companies often employ various means to locate passive job seekers and lure them in using incentives like a more competitive pay scale, superior perks and a flexible work schedule that caters to their needs.
  3. Passive job seekers usually possess considerable expertise and qualifications, rendering them appealing to companies who acknowledge their capacity to enhance productivity and profits. Businesses are continuously in search of such skilled professionals.

Tips for an Effortless Recruitment Process, Whether You’re an Active or Passive Job Searcher

When hiring new employees, companies often employ an array of tactics, with the most common one being the conventional method of collecting resumes, conducting technical assessments, and then holding a series of interviews with the most fitting candidates. However, despite this being a conventional mode of operation, some recruiters argue that it is impractical for both the company and applicants, owing to its time-consuming nature. It is essential to comprehend the recruitment process so as to differentiate between “passive” and “active” job searchers, in addition to comprehending their respective roles in the recruitment process and how they are handled by an organisation.

Understated Techniques of Recruitment

Businesses might be hesitant to opt for ‘passive recruitment’ because it is challenging to pique the interest of those who are not currently in pursuit of job opportunities. Nevertheless, it is in the best interests of the company to contemplate hiring an individual who is not an active job seeker. When considering recruitment of someone who is not actively looking for a job, several aspects should be kept in mind.

Simplify Labour-Intensive Recruitment Procedures

The recruitment process can be intimidating and discouraging, especially for those who are not actively seeking job opportunities. Redundant prerequisites like repetitive screenings, technical assessments, and initial submission of resumes, followed by the provision of personal information, may impede prospective passive job searchers. Companies should contemplate streamlining the application process, to ensure that they are not dissuading potential passive job seekers who may be intrigued by open positions, but are not actively seeking employment.

Contemplate an Adapted Approach

It is crucial to acknowledge that passive job searchers are more interested in the possibility of being employed by your company than you are in recruiting them. Triggering their enthusiasm for the position and your company culture will aid in creating an edge in evoking their interest in the role.

Accelerate the Recruitment Process

Numerous businesses tend to prolong the recruitment process, regardless of whether it is active or passive. In the case of applicants who are actively seeking employment, it may be feasible to wait; nevertheless, with passive job searchers, it is crucial to act hastily to prevent missing out on the opportunity to hire a qualified candidate. Consider the reasons behind your selection of this particular candidate, such as their experience, knowledge, or technical proficiency. It’s worth remembering that other companies may also be interested in the same individual, thus if you delay, you may lose out on the best candidate for the job.

Remember to be Competitive in your Offer.

Currently, young professionals are more inclined to consider a company’s values and benefits rather than just the salary when evaluating job opportunities. The rise of remote working culture and its related perks have caused a competitive salary to take a back seat when people decide whether to join a particular company. Remote work is appealing to those who are not actively seeking a job, as it provides freedom, increased productivity, and peace of mind. Companies are gradually realising the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely, which offers greater access to a wider talent pool of individuals who are not actively looking for job opportunities. Consequently, remote work is quickly becoming more prevalent in the workplace.

Proactively Seeking Fresh Employees

When discussing the hiring of new personnel, we refer to the conventional active recruitment process that organisations have been using for over a century. Active recruitment is frequently the most efficient means of attracting the best talent because those who are actively searching for employment are typically looking for what your company can provide, such as a competitive salary and supplementary perks. However, there may be scenarios where you require job candidates with certain skills. Consequently, the following are some factors to consider before hiring an individual who is actively searching for employment:

Establish an Efficient Hiring Process.

It is vital to incorporate a more simplified recruitment process, akin to passive recruitment, because candidates may become fatigued and decline the opportunity if the process becomes too protracted. Organisations should adopt diverse recruitment tactics such as making the process easy to comprehend and furnishing sufficient resources for applicants who face challenges.

Avoid Additional Processes Until They are Truly Necessary.

During the recruitment of new personnel, some companies require candidates to complete extensive paperwork before submitting their resumes or CVs. This could be perceived as a daunting task by potential employees, which may lead to negative opinions about the company’s work culture and hiring procedures. Addressing this matter may help to bolster the organisation’s reputation as a reputable employer.

Kindly Respond at Your Earliest Convenience

It is typical for businesses to take an extended period to reply to candidates after they have submitted applications or raised inquiries related to the hiring process. This could result in organisations missing out on excellent candidates and instead hiring unsuitable individuals. Candidates should feel confident that the company is committed to adhering to their procedures if they receive a rapid response.

Benefits of an Active Job Search

  1. Let’s explore the advantages of individuals who undergo an active job search to build a convincing case against passive job seekers and active recruitment.
  2. Individuals who are sincerely committed to advancing their careers may convey their enthusiasm by devoting themselves to finding an ideal employer. Submitting numerous applications to a company may indicate a true intention to secure a position in which they can excel.
  3. Candidates who are currently employed typically stay with a company until they sense that their current role is no longer challenging, at which point they may search for more engaging opportunities in other organisations while providing their current employer with valuable input.
  4. When individuals who are actively looking for employment elect to join your company, it indicates that they are leaving their current position in favour of the promising prospects that your business can provide, instilling confidence that you are on the right track.
  5. Candidates who are actively seeking employment are seeking ways to advance their careers. A proactive job seeker joining your organisation is evidence that they are eager to make a beneficial impact on their career, and employers can utilise this to their benefit.

Benefits of a Passive Job Search

  1. Several individuals who are currently seeking employment may not be actively looking for work. This can instil confidence in employers about the capabilities of the candidates they hire, which can also lessen the need for extensive screening of those who are not actively job hunting.
  2. Passive job seekers may not be actively seeking a position in your organisation, but they may still be receptive to the prospect of working for you. To attract top talent, employers may need to contemplate providing competitive salaries and flexible working arrangements.
  3. Passive job seekers can be a valuable addition to organisations, as they are probably more knowledgeable about relevant regulations and conditions if they receive an enticing offer. This is because of their past experience with similar situations at their former companies.

The Benefits of Inactive Candidates

There is a rising global curiosity about the benefits that inactive candidates hold over active job seekers in the continual debate between the two types of applicants. It’s important to acknowledge that passive candidates possess numerous advantages over those who are more proactive in their job hunt, such as:

  1. As a result of their past involvement in comparable positions at other organisations, employers recognise that passive candidates can frequently be the most fitting option for overseeing their workforce.
  2. Passive candidates are an essential resource in the IT industry, given the significant amount of expertise needed for specific positions. Inadequate hires can have damaging consequences, hence it is vital to meticulously identify the appropriate individuals for the job.
  3. The challenge of locating appropriate active candidates with the required technical abilities to perform vital responsibilities has played a role in the growing request for passive candidates in the technology industry.


Organisations are increasingly turning to passive candidates to fill vacant positions, causing discussion around the drawbacks and advantages of hiring active versus passive job seekers. Active job seekers generally use more traditional recruitment methods, whereas passive job seekers often wait for competitive salaries and a reasonable work-life balance to be presented to them. There seems to be no definitive answer as to which type of job seeker is superior, as each has its own strengths. Companies may encounter difficulties in finding the right equilibrium between active and passive candidates, as they require a large workforce but often encounter challenges in enticing passive job seekers. Nevertheless, they must not overlook passive candidates, as they can offer invaluable solutions to their business.

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