In recruitment marketing people seem to see the Active Candidate as a dirty word.  We just forget about these folks. The fact is some of my best friends are Active.  Probably 25% of them in fact…


25% active – 75% passive

These active candidates who only make up between 20-25% of the talent out there have nothing wrong with them.  They may still be able to do a good job for your business, and we shouldn’t forget about them.

When I started as a recruiter I focused on purely active people.  During that time I placed my now-wife (she ruined my profit margins by negotiating an extortion pay-rate), as well as friends and family in roles when they were looking. I was a hero to them.

As I became a better recruiter I realised that only tapping into those who were looking wasn’t going to allow me to fill every role I picked up.  This is when I went Passive.  I was finding the best people in the market, not just the best on the market.  I was a hero to my clients.

Today I am not a recruiter; I haven’t been for years.  But I still get emails and InMails from contacts asking if I can help them with their next job.  Some of these contacts I placed previously, many of whom I didn’t and for years I’ve been completely useless to them… but suddenly I am useful again when they become active.

Why contact me?  Why not Google a recruiter?

Because all I do, all day, every day is talk, share, blog, Tweet about recruitment.  They see me as the expert in this field.  I have managed to stay top of mind for several years and my brand is such that I am still a trusted advisor.  I will say this: there are much better recruiters than me out there (the best I worked with was probably Elleni) – but why would someone go and look for them when they know exactly where I am?  Let us not forget that not everyone trusts recruiters, and in fact the recruitment industry in general still doesn’t have a great name .  People go where they see an expert and avoid a cowboy.

No matter how well known you think you are, how many candidates you have placed or how big your database is you can’t guarantee that your target audience is thinking about you right now or at the moment they want a new job.  Ask yourself: when was the last time my target audience thought about me in terms of their career or their next job?

When friends and family contact me for advice on their CVs or interviews I am more than happy to help.  In fact, most of the time I am flattered if not a little surprised.  But when you think about my social footprint I seem a pretty logical choice.  Recently whilst on holiday with my wife in Mexico I had a bracelet made.  I shared it on Instagram…

#Staffing taking over in #Mexico now. Don’t hate the player – hate the game. #Staffing4life

A photo posted by Alex (@alphanovembercharlie) on

Recruitment consultancies need to constantly get their message out to market to promote the fact that they are experts in recruitment and experts in the industries in which they work, otherwise they won’t see the applications, registrations or inquiries when people finally become active.

Buyers Journey

The investment of time, resource and skills upfront may seem large, but it generates a never ending cycle of potential talent.  Build your brand, build awareness and build a following and you can reap the rewards long term.  Stay top of mind as your ideal candidate may just be becoming active…