Passive Candidates: Are You An Active or Passive Job Searcher

In the recruitment world, recruiters and hiring managers use the term “passive candidate” to describe someone who is not actively looking for a job.

A passive candidate is typically someone who isn’t looking for a new job but who would (or might) consider a good opportunity if one arose.

This is opposed to being an active candidate, someone who is actively searching for a new job.

Many in the recruitment world talk about how a passive candidate is preferable to an active candidate. Many of them argue about the merits of this statement and whether or not it’s true.

The idea behind this preference tends to be the thought that finding a potential employee who is

is somehow more desirable than a person who is actively searching for a new job.

From your perspective – the job searcher – I’d be less concerned about the definitions of the two terms and I’d be more concerned about what they mean in reality to


To me as a recruiter, let me tell you about things that I consider when thinking about whether or not I want to help someone with their job search:

1. I don’t want to help a job searcher who has their resume plastered all over the Internet. It’s hard these days to find employers who don’t have access to the most popular job websites. Many employers won’t let recruiters send them resumes of candidates who have their resume placed on job boards that the employers have access to since the employer can search the database and find such candidates themselves.

2. I don’t mind helping a job searcher who is already looking for another job but when they have applied to dozens if not hundreds of companies and haven’t found a new job yet, I start to wonder why? Plus it makes it harder for the recruiter to find good opportunities for you if you’ve already applied to numerous companies.

3. I think there

something to be said about finding a passive candidate who isn’t actively looking for a new job and who is currently and happily working. It can eliminate many issues that recruiters don’t really want to deal with. If you are not actively looking for a job, we don’t worry about competing with other recruiters trying to put the same jobs in front of you, we don’t worry about you accepting another job offer and we don’t worry about putting jobs in front of you that you might have already applied to.