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From The Archive

53. Passive job hunters, or passive employers?
The holy grail of the employment industry is the "passive job hunter". That's the rare candidate everyone wants to hire. You know: the top-of-the-class expert who is so successful he doesn't need to look for a job. He's too happy doing the one he's got. The challenge, the employment industry tells us, is to attract that person to some web site and get him to fill out a form so he can be notified when a great job comes along. Yah, right. Why would he fill out a form if he doesn't need your help finding a job?

I've got an epiphany for you about "passive". Who's passive is the employer, not the job hunter. Employers are lousy recruiters because they're entirely passive about the way they try to hire good people -- whether the people they want are actively job hunting or "hiding".

Employers sit on their duffs, waiting for "the ads to pull" and for "the web sites to deliver". They're passive as lottery players, waiting for their numbers to come up.

Now I've got some news for you: "passive" job hunters don't need you. They can get a job almost anywhere they want, any time they want. If anyone needs to get active, it's you. Get out there and find the best people in your business. Go to them. Do it in person. Talk to them. Get to know them. You'll find them at professional conferences. (No, not at the career booths; at the podium, delivering speeches and showing off their talents.) You'll find them in training classes beefing up their highly desirable skills. You'll find them in newsgroups, talking shop with one another. And guess what? They don't want to talk about career opportunities. They want to talk about their work.

So, get off your duff and get out of your office. The answer isn't passive job hunters; it's active employers.

(Ooops. Forgot. Managers are too busy running important businesses to go find and interact with the best workers out there. Never mind.)


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