Active v. Passive Job Search

Posted on Jun 10 2011 at 11:00:26 AM in Law

Before the days of the Internet, the only way to find a new job was to look for one. Nowadays, with the emergence of on-line recruiting tools, there is another way: you can get the job to find you.

What do we mean? It’s best illustrated by referencing two different job search methodologies: “active” and “passive”

Active Search

In an Active Job Search, you look for jobs that meet your career objectives. This traditional method involves searching and monitoring job listings posted by employers and recruiting firms, and typically involves a substantial and consistent time commitment on the part of the job seeker. Although the Web makes it convenient – you can access it all from the comfort of your chair – it also poses a problem: with all the information about jobs out there, how do you find the source that actually represents your next job? You’re still left with a high-tech version of the proverbial needle and haystack. And some web sites charge you for access to their job listings …. do you need to be doing that, or can you get the same information for free if you know where to look?

In an active job search, the onus is on you to find answer these questions and find the sources that are most likely to have the type of opportunity you’re looking for. Although you should certainly look at other sites, at our jobs database contains over 2,500 unique current listings that are updated daily (the updates are noted on the homepage). These listings consist of opportunities posted directly by employers at, plus hundreds of additional legal jobs culled nightly from the Web sites of thousands of corporations, law firms, non-profit organizations and government agencies. We exclude listings from search firms and agencies, and otherwise spend considerable time manicuring this data so that it is best-targeted to our audience with the least amount of duplication and chaff. If you’ve not looked through our listings I invite you to do so.

Passive Search

In a Passive Job Search, you post your resume and credentials in an on-line resume database that is searched by employers, and you rely on the employer to make the match. Or alternately, you establish a “search agent” at a jobs database that will forward to you any new listings that meet certain criteria that you specify.

This passive method has the advantage of requiring less time from the job seeker: you fill out your profile (or search agent) once, and then wait for appropriate jobs to come to you. In addition, a passive search also gives you exposure to opportunities that might not otherwise be posted on any job board (some employers no longer publish their open positions at all because their ads get picked up and re-posted all over the Web, generating endless streams of resumes and candidate inquiries long after the position has been filled).

If you’re not currently employed and engaged in an open-ended search, there’s no reason not to apply both methodologies (it’s a numbers game). If you’re currently employed and your legal job search is truly confidential you might be reluctant to add your resume to an on-line database – a legitimate concern that we’ll address in our next entry.

Neal Rechtman is the CEO of and has over 35 years experience in the legal recruitment marketplace.

  Article Information
Author: lawmatch-com
Created: Jun 10 2011 at 11:00:26 AM
Updated: Jun 10 2011 at 11:00:26 AM
Category: Law
Language: English