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Get to know the three types of job seekers


From the moment you know you have a vacancy to fill in your team, your goal is to attract the best possible applicants. You want to find people who aren’t just interested in the job, but who will excel in the position.

Regardless of whether the job is entry or executive level, your goal as a hiring manager is to maximise the value of your investment.

The trick is however, to be able to accurately target and speak to the three main types of job seekers in our Australian market. The following tips will help you identify and engage each of these job seekers next time you recruit – to ensure you’re capturing the interest of the best possible candidate pool.

1.Active Job Seekers

These are your most common job seekers. Unemployed or dissatisfied individuals who are ready, almost immediately, to be hired by a new company. These job seekers are actively looking for work so will go out and seek job listings on job boards. The positive of these job seekers is that they are keen applicants who are looking to kick-start their new career sooner rather than later and will be quick to provide you with resumes, references and give short notice to their current employers.

The downside of these candidates are that they can often be ‘click and send’ job seekers who email their resumes to anyone with a job offering without fully looking at your requirments. Active job seekers are a big market so need to be engaged, but watch for red flags to ensure you’re not one of two-dozen companies with whom they’re interviewing. The best way to engage active job boards is through traditional, simple methods like job board advertisements.

  1. Exploratory Job Seekers

Another type of candidate who may apply for your vacancy is someone who isn’t actively looking for work but who is happy to explore open positions in the market. These individuals are not searching job boards with any sort of regularity but who have considered moving on from their current role recently.

Exploratory job seekers can be great candidates because they’re usually still employed, so have up-to-date and relevant skills but who have some workplace needs that aren’t being met. If you can position yourself as an employer of choice, to appeal to whatever it is they think they’re lacking in their current role, you’ll be able to entice them to apply. This is where more creative advertising and positioning comes in. Highlight your workplace culture, salary and work hours – try and capture these candidates by posting to social media and your website because these job seekers won’t be on job boards daily.

  1. Passive Job Seekers

Passive job seekers are the diamonds of the candidate market. Passive job seekers are those who are not actively searching for work and who are relatively satisfied with their current jobs. They aren’t however married to their work – if the right opportunity came along they would entertain the idea and investigate it further. These candidates are highly skilled and their current employers will definitely put up a counter offer if they ever try and move on.

Because these candidates are rarely looking for work you need to actively pursue them. Recruitment consultants can use headhunting and advertising techniques to pin down your ideal candidates even if they’re already in work, and as a hiring manager you can source them on platforms like linkedIn and Seek yourself. Finding passive job seekers means taking a proactive approach to recruitment and not posting a job ad, sitting back, and hopping they apply.

About the author

Saxon Marsden-Huggins is the managing director of Recruit Shop, which offers recruitment services to small businesses in Australia and New Zealand.