Definition

passive candidate

A passive candidate (passive job candidate) is someone who is being considered for a position but is not actively searching for a job. 

Active candidates submit applications to human resources departments. Passive candidates, however, are sought out by recruiters. Passive candidates often have skills that are highly in demand and are therefore more difficult to recruit.

Active candidates look for jobs on sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder or Indeed. Because passive candidates aren't usually looking at job boards, however, recruiters must use other methods to reach them. Some of these include creating talent communities, soliciting employee referrals, searching on LinkedIn and other specialty professional websites and mining past candidate data from an applicant tracking system (ATS). Recruitment technology, one of the four pillars of talent management systems, can also help HR managers identify passive candidates. 

Contributor(s): Emma Snider
This was last updated in January 2014
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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