Why Passive Candidates Are Like Bananas
When referring to the candidate market, the term market is often used in relation to candidates as a commodity, but the more traditional definition of the word as it pertains to a store is also applicable. To run with this analogy, we have to think about candidates as products, but we also have to be careful to not lose track that unlike typical products on a store shelf, candidates aren’t simply there for the taking. They are in greater control of their destiny than a bag of chips or a case of water. Unfortunately, too many prospective employers misunderstand the candidate market and cost themselves exceptional professionals in a market where the shelves are not so easily replenished.
Candidates Have a Shelf Life
Candidates aren’t canned goods. They aren’t going to sit on the shelf forever. In the words of a fellow recruiter, when it comes to explaining “the lifespan of a person’s psychological excitement when approached with an exciting career opportunity,” candidates are like bananas. After about a week on the shelf, bananas have passed the threshold for most people’s taste preference. When searching for talented professionals to meet your staffing needs, it’s important to understand that the best are not products filling the shelves. The best candidates aren’t really candidates at all. They are passive talent. Fresh and handpicked. Like the freshest produce at your local market, these professionals are only going to remain ripe for your opportunity for a limited time.
Supplies Are Limited
It takes extensive experience and a concerted effort to locate the best passive talent to match the unique needs of an organization and specific opportunity. Our experience has proven that the best are rarely already on the shelf, and they are even less likely to remain available after they’ve been given the chance to consider new opportunities. As we’ve already established, passive candidates have short shelf lives. It’s equally important to understand that there isn’t a deep back stock of candidates with the right combination of qualifications and culture like those we present to our clients. If you allow a candidate’s interest to expire, don’t be surprised to not find another as talented or as qualified.
Beware Other Shoppers
When professionals are recruited for specific opportunities, it’s important to keep them focused on the client for whom they have been sourced. But this is where the market analogy begins to break down, because as much as we can make these comparisons, candidates aren’t products, they’re people, and when people are made aware of one opportunity, it isn’t long until they grow curious about other opportunities. The goal is to encourage smooth and seamless processes that keep candidates excited about the specific opportunity, but there is only so much that can be done to maintain their interest. In the end it is not the candidate, but your opportunity that becomes the banana, and the longer they wait the more sour it becomes to them.
Ultimately, the market works both ways. Candidates have expiration dates, but so do opportunities. When a passive candidate moves past their expiration date, they either move back into the comfort zone of their current position or they move on to a newer opportunity. When an opportunity reaches its expiration date, it loses out on the best talent and either settles on less-qualified candidates or remains vacant, both of which can be a strain on the resources of an organization. Passive candidates have an exceptionally short life cycle and positions that are open too long quickly become less appealing to more discerning talent. At The James Allen Companies, we rely on years of experience and extensive sourcing to locate and present our clients with the most relevant passive talent. Our efforts uncover professionals that have the skills and background needed to not only fit the needs of the opportunity but also the culture of the organization. Often, the vital difference as to whether or not our clients are successful depends on how aggressively they move on the talent we present.