It seems like a match made in heaven; recruiters have positions that need filling and there are a lot of people looking for jobs. All we have to do is put a help wanted sign in the window and take an early lunch, right? Well, putting aside the fact that we don't place too many short order cooks, there are a few reasons recruiters might not be making the most of the active talent pool.
Sadly, our clients don't require his particular skills.
These can include mixed results from job boards, resume spam from job seekers and any number of other frustrations - all of which matter - but an anti-active bias is one of the big factors keeping recruiters from making the most of the active talent pool. So, let's take a look at some of the reasons for this bias and how it might be limiting your potential.
"Good Candidates Aren't Looking for Jobs."
This goes hand-in-hand with the old adage "Nobody fires their best employee." and it does have a grain of truth. The biggest fish in your market might not be looking to change jobs every 3 - 5 years, but even they started by handing out resumes. Frankly, we were all unemployed at some point and it wasn't because we were the bottom of the barrel.
Relocations, graduations and personal commitments pull new candidates into the active talent pool every day. These are people who have experience, training and skills but lack the professional network to get instantly snapped up by the competition. It might be because they're in a new city or have been in the same job for a while, but it doesn't mean they're not the perfect fit for the search you're working.
"We Don't Get Paid to Surf Job Boards"
Again, you're right, but not for the reason you might imagine. You don't get paid to surf job boards, you do get paid to place candidates. We all know how good it feels to sell the perfect candidate on a new opportunity and we know that kind of proactive searching wins clients but, when it comes down to it, where you found the candidate doesn't matter as much as what they have to offer.
Also, you probably maintain a database of potential candidates that represents a substantial chunk of the talent in your niche. Since we've already touched on the fact that active candidates can represent new entires into your market, it makes sense to appeal to the active talent pool now and then. Sure, you might get a dozen resumes with high school guidance counsellors listed as references for every one placable candiate, but we all know how much that one candidate can be worth.
He didn't have much experience, but he really wowed us in the interview.
There are a host of other reasons recruiters get turned off by the active talent pool, but I think the ones we've discussed are the elephants in the room. Now, this doesn't mean job postings are some kind of silver bullet, but I do think the active talent pool is a resource that doesn't deserve the stigma attached to it. After all, we all started off by handing out resumes and we all know people with impressive titles who suck at their jobs, but we'll talk about the passive talent pool next time.
Cody Pierson is the Marketing Manager at Martyn Bassett Associates in Toronto, Ontario. He sits on the other side of the office, but that gives him a unique perspective on the recruiting business. If you follow @MBAI_team on Twitter you'll actually be following him and he'd love to hear from you.