Winhurst Recruitment
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Blogs & Vlogs

The added risk of offering a passive candidate a job.

In a text book case of recruitment, a CV is submitted to a client, they invite them for a couple of interviews, job offer is made, candidate accepts, they consequently resign from their current job once paperwork is received and they start a few weeks / months later. But that seems to be happening less and less now. There is such demand for good candidates as they’re getting snapped up so quickly, processes in some instances are taking longer, circumstances change for either client or candidate, oh there could be a million and one different reasons.  

And how candidates get a new job is changing as well. At a recent seminar on recruitment, someone said that over 40% of candidates find a new job through someone they know. Responses to adverts can be hit & miss, and I can only speak on behalf of the industry that I have worked in since 2002, food & drink but it seems to be getting tougher to find good candidates. All jobs that I got in the food industry weren’t through agencies, it was through either writing directly to the company, or through someone making a recommendation. And as I look through my GDPR compliant database (ha ha!) I’d say over 50% of the candidates have been found through LinkedIn, and a good percentage of those were through me contacting the candidate speculatively. I ignore the whether a candidate has ticked the box “open to new opportunities” as if their profile looks interesting and relevant, I’m making contact with them. As you never know, they may be actively looking or they may have just had a bad day (which is how I ended up applying for my job with Bakkavor!) and want to speak to me. 

I recently placed a candidate in a “Head of” role but this candidate wasn’t actively looking. He came recommended to me so I dropped him an InMail and yes, he was open to having a chat. And from that moment, the process took off. It moved at a pretty slow pace, mostly because my client wasn’t able to move any faster than they were due to demands of the business, demands of the customer and managing peoples diaries. But 4 meetings later with an incredibly patient candidate, an offer was made. Did the candidate accept? Not straight away no. It then took a further 10 days for him to make his decision and I won’t go into the in’s and out’s but this slightly threw my client. They could not understand why it was taking him so long. Was he not interested? Was he trying to negotiate a higher salary with his current employer? Was he in another process and wanting to play 1 offer off against another? My answer was no and these were my reasons why. 

1)      This candidate was as straight as a die. When he said he’d call me at 5.30pm in the evening, he’d call me at 5.30pm. And had been like this for months.

2)      He came recommended which I think is invaluable.

3)      He wasn’t actively looking in the first place so there was no other job offer on the cards, he was interested in this job and this job alone.

4)      And this is the biggy I think…….. he’d not been actively looking for a job in the first place. There is a thought process in looking for a new job, measuring up the pros and cons, preparing your CV, talking to family & friends about the decision and generally just getting your head around the decision. And all of this is done usually whilst working full time. Deciding to look for a new job is a big decision and this guy hadn’t decided to look for a new job, I had approached him. So the added time needed to make the decision to look for a new job had to be added into the process somewhere, and it just so happened to be after the offer was made.

So was the timing of the making the decision right or wrong?  It was right to that candidate in that process. So when my client got nervous about the delay in accepting an offer, I pushed back with reason number 4 and they got it. All nervousness disappeared and they offered to meet with him or to speak to him to see if there was anything that they could do to help him make his mind up, with no pressure.

The candidate accepted the job and started 2 weeks ago. But not every passive candidate is as thoughtful, measured, considered and reliable as this candidate. There is always a risk offering any candidate a job but with a passive candidate, I believe that there is that little extra risk. But give them the time and support they need, they’ll  make the right decision for themselves as well as the business. There is nothing worse than joining the right business at the wrong time, or the wrong business at the right time.


Tel: 0115 972 6513


Jo Richardson