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Active Candidate

Definition:  Active candidates are individuals who are actively looking for a new job. They are engaged in a job search, applying to job postings, networking, updating their resumes, and may be actively engaging with recruiters or hiring managers. 

These candidates could be unemployed or employed but seeking a different job for various reasons such as career advancement, dissatisfaction with their current role, desire for a better work-life balance, etc.

What is the difference between active and passive candidates?

Passive candidates are not actively looking for a new job but might be open to new opportunities if the right one comes along. 

These individuals are typically employed and might be content with their current position but can be persuaded to change for a better opportunity.

Active Candidates:

  • Active candidates are actively seeking new job opportunities. 
  • They frequently browse job boards, apply to open positions, send out resumes, and engage with recruiters or hiring managers.
  • Active candidates require immediate responses and faster hiring processes due to their urgent need or desire for a new job.

Passive Candidates:

  • Passive candidates are not actively seeking a new job
  • These candidates are content in their current roles but may be attracted by a role that offers better compensation, benefits, career progression, work culture, or other appealing factors.
  • Passive candidates require different recruitment strategies than active candidates. 
  • To engage passive candidates, recruiters need to “sell” the role or company, showcasing why the opportunity might be a better option than their current employment.
  • While active candidates can be reached through traditional job postings, engaging passive candidates involves sourcing strategies, such as networking, leveraging social media, or using a headhunter or recruitment agency. 

Hiring active candidates

Here are some strategies to effectively hire active candidates:

  1. Job Postings: Active candidates are likely to frequently visit job boards, so having your job posting on popular job boards and your company website is crucial. Make sure the job description is clear, engaging, and accurately reflects the role and company culture.
  2. Fast Response Times: Active candidates are likely applying to multiple jobs and may receive multiple offers. Prompt responses to applications, efficient scheduling of interviews, and quick decision-making can help secure these candidates before they accept other offers.
  3. Active Engagement: Recruiters should actively reach out to promising candidates who apply. This can include sending personalized emails or making phone calls to discuss the role in more detail.
  4. Career Fairs and Networking Events: These are places where you can likely find active candidates. Promote your company’s brand and job opportunities at these events.
  5. Leverage Social Media: Active candidates follow companies they’re interested in on platforms like LinkedIn. Regular updates about company news, culture, and job openings can attract active candidates.
  6. Recruitment Agencies: Consider working with a recruitment agency. They have access to a large pool of active candidates and can help you find individuals who are the right fit for your job openings.
  7. Clear Hiring Process: Candidates appreciate transparency in the hiring process. Communicate clearly with candidates about each process stage, what they should expect, and the estimated timeline.
  8. Attractive Compensation and Benefits: Competitive salaries and benefits are key to attracting active candidates. Make sure your compensation is in line with the market rates for similar roles.

Remember, active candidates are looking for a quick transition, so swift and decisive action is key when hiring them.


Is it beneficial for a company to focus more on active candidates rather than passive ones?

Both active and passive candidates have their own strengths. Active candidates are usually more motivated to move quickly through the hiring process, but passive candidates can also bring new skills and perspectives to the role. A balanced hiring strategy that includes both groups can be effective.

How can companies speed up the hiring process for active candidates?

Companies can speed up the hiring process by clearly defining the job requirements, using technology for screening and interviews, and streamlining the interview process with structured interviews and prompt feedback.

What should recruiters keep in mind when engaging with active candidates?

Recruiters should remember that active candidates are likely applying to multiple jobs and may receive multiple offers. Prompt responses, clear communication, and quick decision-making can help engage these candidates effectively.

Are active candidates more likely to accept job offers?

Active candidates are typically more eager to change jobs, which may make them more likely to accept an offer. However, they may also have multiple options, so the offer still needs to be competitive and appealing.

What is the best way to retain active candidates once hired?

Retention strategies should include competitive compensation and benefits, opportunities for growth and learning, a positive work environment, and consistent recognition of their work.

What are some mistakes to avoid when hiring active candidates?

Common mistakes include taking too long to respond, not providing feedback after interviews, offering compensation below market rates, and failing to sell the benefits and opportunities of the job and company