Should employers prefer passive talent to job seekers when choosing a new candidate?

In the past, head hunting was a skill reserved for talented executive search agencies that had built up a detailed network of clients and candidates. However with everyone now far easier to contact and find, largely thanks to social media, it is possible for anyone to be headhunted.

Although, is hiring passive talent superior to searching through job seekers?

Firstly, just because a passive candidate is not looking to leave now does not mean that they are engaged and performing to their potential. Research has suggested that 70% of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged. There is no evidence to argue against the fact that 7 in 10 employees are disengaged in their job, compared to active job seekers that arguably have more drive and ambition to bring to a new position.

Quite often, active job seekers are as good, if not superior to passive talent with the opposite merely an assumption – are job seekers with the same skills and experience really less hirable and confident?

Passive talent have arguably held their position better, possibly by good performance or simply by avoiding risk or challenges. Equally, this points to these employees potentially being mediocre, avoiding challenges to better their career and achieve success.

Recruiting passive talent vs Active Job Seekers can be analysed both ways and there is certainly a suggestion to hire both types of candidates.

Here at Aspire Cambridge, the recruitment professionals primarily focus on the skills, suitability and personality of the candidate – rather than whether they are currently ‘passive talent’ or job seekers looking for work.


Aspire Cambridge have extensive experience recruiting a range of positions around the world that are typically difficult to fill. If you are an employer looking to fill a skills gap or in need of help finding a particular talent, call us today on 01223 855440.