Remember Your High School Girlfriend?

Last week I was catching up with some of my colleagues and one delightful conversation was with one of my favorite CFO recruiters. Naturally, we talked shop.

One of our topics was the “passive candidate trumps an unemployed candidate” which has been getting a lot of press (and outrage) these days. It isn’t fair, is it? Sadly, life is far from fair. 

He once again affirmed that from his professional experience the statement is true, has been true for quite awhile, and will continue to be true long into the future. And then he used the high school girlfriend analogy to make his point. 

Back in high school having a girlfriend meant you were cool, in demand, and popular. You were envied and everyone wanted a piece of you. Then she dumped you and suddenly, you were uncool and unpopular with no Friday night destination invitations. 

The same is true about your career. When you’re holding the title and visible to your target audience, you’re hunted, high-value, and in demand. When you don’t, you aren’t.  Sad, unfair, but true.

Speed of Hiring Decisions

There can be great anguish, not to mention frustration, irritation, and discouragement, associated with an active job search. The process can be agonizingly slow, with a lack of clear communication (sometimes even non–existent communication), and certainly nebulous timeframes proffered by decision–makers. (Have you read my article “Everybody Lies”?)

Dr. John Sullivan, in his article “Understanding Why Fast Hiring is Critical to Recruiting Success” suggests there is a direct correlation between speed of hiring and whether a candidate is passive (employed but open to opportunities) or unemployed and actively searching.

It makes perfect sense. When a passive candidate “finally” makes up his mind to interview for an opportunity (notice how the candidate holds all the power), assuming he is “the” right candidate, a company will move quickly to bring him on board rather than lose him to a counteroffer.

Conversely, an unemployed candidate probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (who holds all the power in this scenario?) … unless that candidate is entertaining multiple offers simultaneously.