First off, let me explain to those of you who don’t know – what a ‘passive job seeker’ is.
A passive job seeker is someone who is not unemployed, does not need another job but is open to the possibility of getting a better job. They are different to most of the regular candidates that apply for lots of jobs on the Internet. Different in so much as…
…they don’t have a lot time to spare.
…they look at other job opportunities infrequently.
…they’re looking for a better job, not just another job.
…they’re invariably off the market relatively quickly.
These are the types of people that most companies and most recruiters are looking to interview. So, to those of you still in the ranks of the employed, here’s career management tip number 1 – always be looking for your next career move while you’re still relatively happy in your current job. It’s better for you and it’s better for the potential new employer. Much better. It’s better for you because you can view the job you’re interviewing for with more objectivity than if you were out of work and needed a job to pay the bills. It’s better for the potential new employer because, for reasons best known to themselves, they will consider you a better worker if you’re not temporarily out of work. Trust me on this one.
Most companies have problems finding these passive job seekers. This is one of the reasons why there are so many recruitment agencies feeding off the employment system. And they are only marginally less worse at attracting candidates than their clients but with more time to process vast numbers of average candidates (the best two or three of which are given a 10 minute ‘makeover’ and presented as “the cream of the crop”), they can sell the notion that these people are in fact the best that is out there. It’s money for old rope really, but more on that another time.
To save money on communicating their open positions powerfully and building their own specific candidate knowledge banks, many companies put up poorly conceived and badly written ‘job postings’ on job boards. Some even allow recruitment agencies to put up the same poorly conceived and badly written job postings on job boards on their behalf. How stupid are they? Rhetorical question.
So anyway, the passive job seeker doesn’t look at these job boards containing all of these job postings, except, when they’ve had one of those days where they think to themselves that they’re overworked, undervalued and underpaid. These days happen more regularly than you might think.
So, after getting home at half eight the night before, covering for their incompetent boss, they start perusing one of the job boards on the off-chance that there’s something better out there. This is the companies and the Recruiters window of opportunity to capture some of these people.
Here’s what happens next.
Since passive job seekers don’t have much time to spare, they only look at the titles of the jobs and the names of the companies on the first or second page of any job board listing or will skim the employment section of a newspaper. So if the job or title or advert doesn’t stand out, the company or recruiter don’t have a chance.
If they get past this, they’ll then read the ad copy. If the job sounds boring or lists the traditional “must-haves” like skills, requirements, years of experiences, academics, industry background, with a few duties and responsibilities mixed in, and they see no difference between that job and the one that their doing at the moment, then the passive job seeker will opt-out. I mean, we all would really wouldn’t we?
If they read the ad copy and see something different in the employment proposal, chances are they’ll next look at the company or the recruiters website and the detailed job description (if there is one). If this isn’t as convincing as it could be, or not easy to find and review, then the candidate will say goodbye and get on with their job.
However, if the company and/or recruiter manage to get the candidate past these hurdles and get them to send in a CV or an application, and then contrive to not call the candidate back by the next day at the very latest, then their chances of convincing this passive job seeker that they take recruiting new staff seriously, is greatly diminished.
Then the candidate will wish he’d done something more constructive with his time …like repeatedly smashing his head against his desk for 10 minutes. We’ve all been there, right?
Hiring managers, HR people and recruiters will post on the Internet almost weekly complaining about how difficult it is to find good candidates and bemoaning the fact that they get so many applications from desperate (and/or unemployed) people with little or no relevance to the jobs advertised (I use the term ‘advertised’ very loosely here).
And they also wonder why everyone thinks agency recruiters and inhouse recruiters are mostly just simple telesales people or glorified administrators with no commercial acumen.