Passive and active candidates on LinkedIn are different in a number of ways. Let’s start with some basic definitions. An active candidate on LinkedIn is looking for a new job and very open to new opportunities, he is basically on the market. A passive candidate on LinkedIn is not looking for a new job; he is not on the market. However, he just might be open to an opportunity if it’s compelling or correctly positioned. Please note that is a BIG might. There are no guarantees. How else is the passive candidate different from the Active candidate? Let me take a risk by making some sweeping generalisations.
Branding on the profile – Sometimes you can tell quite quickly if a LinkedIn profile is an active or passive candidate by the manner they have branded themselves. Look out for a lot of selling in the summary and in the contact details of the active candidate. An active candidate is very keen to showcase his brand to a potential employer or recruiter. The passive candidate on the other hand seems more self-assured and modest and sometimes does not even have a complete profile which can be frustrating for potential contacts.
CV is already on the market – The active candidate already has his CV out in the market including a few job boards. There is a good chance that a few companies already have his cv on file. The passive candidate could count the number of times he has sent out his CV to anyone.
Connected to good number of recruiters – An active candidate will probably be connected to a large number of recruiters or be maintaining good communication with them. He is quite aggressive in networking with recruiters. The passive candidate might have a few recruiters he is connected to but this is really the exception rather than the rule. He is conservative in networking with recruiters.
Email updates jobs – The active candidate probably subscribes to email updates or newsletters on jobs they might be interested in. The passive candidate will generally spend time subscribing to newsletters on jobs. He is quite content.
Views jobs on LinkedIn – An active candidate will regularly view jobs on LinkedIn that might be interesting and might have applied for a few even. The passive candidate will occasionally view a job if they think it might be interesting.
Responses to mail – The active candidate will generally respond very promptly to mails while with a passive candidate more patience is required. In terms one needs to engage with a candidate as a matter of urgency then trying to reach out to a passive candidate could even be frustrating at times.
Taking chances – I would imagine that the passive candidate is very strict about what kind of opportunities he might consider if at all. An active candidate will probably be more open in terms of roles that they can take on. There might be quite a spread in terms of the types of jobs the active candidate has applied for.
Quite discreet – The passive candidate is quite discreet in his activity and really does not give much away in terms of activity. He is very careful about who he ever lets know regarding career plans. When he does start talking about his career, tends to be guarded and wants to know who else might know about this information.
How do you approach them – Surely you cannot approach these two types of candidates in the same way. They have a different outlook to their career and look at different things when considering a new job. One size will not fit all and that certainly applies when it comes to passive and active candidates? In future article we might discuss a few strategies on how to approach the passive candidate.