If you want a job, we don’t want you.

If I read one more time that the best recruitment candidates are passive candidates I think I’ll throw up.

Note this comment from Lou Adler:

You need to be super creative to reach out to the best candidates — who by and large all are passive.

This might have been true 20 years ago, but it certainly isn’t today. If you insist on focusing on only passive candidates, you will miss two specific groups of active candidates:

  • Candidates who are recent victims of restructuring
    Many companies downsize and it is not only poor employees that end up on the street. It may have been an issue of salary or management change. Are you going to tell me that you wouldn’t be interested in Carly Fiorina because she is an active candidate?
  • Candidates who are unhappy in their current positions and are looking
    These may be excellent staff who just aren’t happy and are actively looking.

Yes there will be more active candidates and you will have to sift through a number of resumes looking for the needle in a haystack. So buy some resume extraction software to simplify your task.

You can spend a lot of time and effort trying to attract a candidate who isn’t motivated to move. You can assume that all active candidates are useless – after all, if their last company let them go they must be incompetent (I wonder what the commission on a Carly Fiorina might be). Or you can spend a little time to spot the active candidate who brings talent and drive, and might be an incredible hire for the company.

I’ve been a victim personally of restructuring where the company has killed off a product division, leaving several active candidates. Do you really think that we were all incompetent? Do you think that all Enron or Worldcom employees were incompetent?

I’m amazed that anyone could conceivably make such a rash judgement about entire classes of people based on an active or passive status. I sincerely hope that you never find yourself unemployed, though if you do it was obviously your own fault – if we are to believe Mr. Adler.