Recruiting the Passive Candidate

You may recall that following the Kennedy Recruiting Conference in Orlando last October, I reported that the overriding theme among the internal recruiters attending the conference was the desire to recruit “passive candidates” … almost to the exclusion of those who were unemployed.  The perception of the unemployed candidate is that they are somehow less … less desirable, less qualified, less attractive.

Now, I know that is not necessarily the case; and if you are one of those unemployed executives, chances are good that you are offended (or worse) by that perception. Sadly, the perception is true and “perception is everything.”

Lou Adler is a thought leader in the recruiting industry and recently penned an article entitled “Recruiting Passive Candidates in Tough Economic Times,” which was published in Daily. Here’s the opening to his article:

Consider this as a basic truth: in tough economic times every job looks better, especially the one you already have.

This would imply that during recessions there are fewer good people actively looking and it’s tougher to get the best passive consider to even discuss your career opportunity. If this is the case, one could conclude that the bulk of the people who are looking during economic downturns tend to be those who are unemployed or marginally employed.

Since this group does not represent the best-of-the-best, you’ll need to rethink your entire sourcing strategy to make sure it’s targeting the people you want to hire.

If I can impress one thing on you, Senior-Level Finance Executive, it is to repackage and begin positioning yourself LONG BEFORE you think you need to look for a job. Assuming you are an accomplished passive candidate, proactively managing your career means you will minimize the chances of being viewed as “not representing the best-of-the-best.”