Passive candidates don’t look for a new job the same way active candidates do. The mistake made by many companies is they do not differentiate in their sourcing and hiring strategy. So if you have problems identifying real great talent to your organisation, one reason may be that you are using the wrong channels and tools. You are most likely using the wrong marketing mix when you recruit.

The typical blunder I see is when companies try to approach passive candidates for executives jobs by using the method applied for hiring non-executive active candidates.

Passive candidates are passive in the job market. In other words, by definition, they are actually not in the job market at all. These “candidates” are happy with what they are doing. They are not looking for a job and are much more discriminating. There are many people who have not been in the market for a long time and have no resume. In a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: "at any point in time, just only 16% of all employees are actively lookingfor job." So 84% of the workforce are passive candidates.

To reach this large group of untapped potential talent you will obviously not get them through advertising in the printed media or on the internet job boards. Remember, they are not looking to change jobs and do not go to the places where you have placed a job advertisement.

Calling your favourite data base recruitment company, hoping they can dig up some real great resumes from their data base, fails too. Remember, most passive candidates do not have a resume, but should they have one, it will for sure not have been sent to the doors of hundreds of recruitment agencies.

So what is the simple answer? In two words: personal contact! You need to know where the right candidates are working now. What are the companies and what are the names of the people you want to talk to? You need to find an intelligent way of approaching a person who already has a job with a value proposition that clearly proves why your grass is greener.