The Intriguing Underside of the Iceberg

March 12, 2013

Here at Argentus, we staff exclusively for Supply Chain Management, Strategic Sourcing,  Logistics, Planning and Operations & Change Management/Six Sigma. Companies come to us because we’re really tenacious and resourceful when it comes to researching, engaging and tapping into those candidates who are absolutely NOT looking for new positions…. What exactly does this mean?

So let’s imagine the active candidate pool for a moment. Think of it as an iceberg floating in the ocean – (the ocean) that’s the job market. Bobbing above the surface, one has the active pool of candidates. These are individuals actively pursuing new employment opportunities. They might be unemployed or have decided that now (for one reason or another) is the time to consider a career move. Someone might find themselves in the middle of a transition due to a lay off or in a new city because of a spousal transfer. Or perhaps employed but unchallenged and absolutely detesting their current job, they’re now on the hunt for something new. These individuals do everything they can to make themselves visible to employers that might be looking to hire. In today’s terms what this means is that an active candidate has taken some or most of the correct moves to become socially/professionally savvy and got themselves set up to network. Updated LinkedIn profiles with professional-looking pictures have been done,  connections are being made quickly with recruiters and companies, and keyword-rich resumes are on hand at the ready.

An active candidate might even go so far as to have a personal website or start blogging if they really want to personally brand themselves well and stand out from the crowd. They might be asking colleagues and people in their network to keep their feelers out for any new, promising opportunities. Heck, they might even put “Looking for new opportunities” on their LinkedIn profile, not even caring what their current employer might have to say about it (What’s the deal with that anyway?). These are  people who apply to postings on job boards and company websites, or attend networking events. The hunters.

Passive candidates (some who say no longer exist – so untrue) are the underside of the iceberg – those really interesting, allusive and intriguing 90% which are so, so hard to find. And as the analogy goes, the part of the iceberg below the waterline is massive compared to the part above it. The passive candidate market is absolutely huge compared to the market of active candidates. Busy with their lives, these people are by and large happy with and comfortable in their jobs. They know what they’re doing. They’ve honed their skills. They’ve used their expertise to streamline their work processes – they are tremendously valuable to their teams. They’re familiar with their co-workers and really like what they do. The money’s good (this is Supply Chain, after all)..

Some would have you believe that with LinkedIn, that Passive candidates no longer exist. That is absolutely not the case. Engaged individuals by and large spend very, very little time with LinkedIn. For all intents and purposes, LinkedIn (and I love it) is a fantastic pointer system for in house and third party recruiters but that’s as far as it goes. Daily, I bemoan how poorly people populate their LinkedIn profiles. Without the correct wording and updating, and time and effort (because it is a time consuming activity) many, many profiles just don’t make the grade. So passive candidates remain as passive as they always were and always will. Without the human element and expert ability to see through what’s there or rather what’s NOT there, LinkedIn’s has its limitations.

But I digress….

But think just for a second….what would it take to move someone away from their  ‘happy place’ and consider the potential of a new role. Deep down, who knows how conditions might be improved with something shiny and new. That commute starting to seem longer every day? Not as enamoured by how well the company is doing? Not getting that recognition? Not having a crack at leading those new initiatives? If people were really honest with themselves, given the right set of circumstances, a happy Supply Chain employee might be open to the right situation if they are finding themselves starting to feel a bit stuck.  Maybe thinking of a move to a different or larger organization in another industry for a more senior role with more responsibility –and yes—better compensation and fringe benefits such as more vacation and more. As that resume is gathering dust in a long-forgotten computer folder opportunity could be around the corner.  It’s tempting for a passive individual – if they can be found.        

As Specialty Recruiters in The Supply Chain & Procurement – Strategic Sourcing vertical, Argentus’ primary focus has always been on our relationship with the PASSIVE CANDIDATE. Our research team is tasked with a large responsibility which is to bring the ongoing intelligence to our recruiters of who is the best talent in which categories in SCM at which organisations across North America – and it is a strength for us . As a group It’s our job to maintain our connections throughout the SCM vertical, and to instinctively know how to bring those candidates we engage to the table to meet both their expectations and the needs of the customers we search for. In fact, some of our best and most unique successes have been precisely with individuals who were satisfied in their current work situations when we initially engaged them. Go figure – it’s really about timing and about being persuasive and good at what you do as a Recruiter.

Learn more and see how we can help you. Call me at 416-364-9919 or email me at

Over and Out



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