A Game Changer: Technology and Passive Job Candidates


LinkedIn has crossed over a new threshold. It was inevitable. LinkedIn was destined to be more than just a professional networking tool. It would seem to follow that anytime you’re able to gather qualified professional people in one place, businesses would want to have access.

Well, that is exactly what’s happening, and it’s changing the way recruiters identify, interview, and hire new talent for their employers. You are hearing the term “passive candidate” bouncing around the recruiting world. This term is used to describe qualified professionals that may not be actively seeking new employment, but whose profile has been found on various recruiting, sourcing, and talent management software systems.

LinkedIn is leading the charge in passive candidate identification and rapidly diminishing the importance (and expense) of traditional executive searches and contract recruitment services.

Josh Bersin, of Bersin & Associates, noted in a recent article:

“There are many elements to the recruiting marketplace, including the market for applicant tracking software (Taleo, Lumesse, Kenexa), assessments (SHL, Kenexa, DDI, and hundreds others), recruitment services providers (often called agencies or RPOs), candidate relationship management systems (hot tools like like Jobs2Web, just acquired by SAP), social referral systems (like JobVite), and interviewing tools (hot companies like HireVue). But the hottest part of this market is tools for sourcing.

Sourcing is the difficult and often highly secretive process of “finding the right candidates” — seeking them out, contacting them, getting them interested in your position, and then bringing them into your screening and assessment process. We used to have to hire a contract recruiter (or Korn/Ferry, Heidrick & Struggles, and hundreds more) who has deep skills in locating candidates, vetting their skills, and attracting them to your position.

Now, these companies are all using LinkedIn to replace their own networks, and corporate recruiters are going through an enormous transformation as they learn how to source passive candidates themselves. Not all companies are going to bring this in-house (many are), but no matter where you go, LinkedIn is now the most powerful tool on the web for sourcing (professional candidates).”

Over the next five years, the job market will become increasingly competitive, as companies vie for the best talent to fill critical positions. This means that identifying passive candidates early will be a key differentiator between companies battling over a shrinking talent pool.

This is great news for those looking for work. The times they are a changin’, and so is the game. Better update your online resume and profile.

Passive candidates still need to be aggressive in their career pursuits.