What do travel and tourism recruitment and the World Cup have in common?

Read Account Director Fiona Morrison-Arnthal’s thoughts on passive vs active candidates to find out how a World Cup squad manager and a travel and tourism recruitment agency are more similar than you might think.

Take a minute to think about your favourite World Cup team. Now imagine each country’s coach had to assemble their team by putting out an ad.

for the
Pay: £560k per person (if you win)
Benefits: Mega-stardom, world travel

I’d wager you’d get a fair few responses. Now imagine sifting through them all trying to find the one Cristiano Ronaldo or Harry Kane in the pile. Even if you had a video-clip of each potential player, it would be easy to miss a star among the mass of replies. So, it’s unsurprising that managers go about recruiting players by scouting for themselves. A small army of scouts will be employed by each country’s FA to watch every premiership team match, keep an eye on growing talent, and peek over fences at training sessions to assess and advise which players would work out well in the national squad.

The best travel and tourism recruitment isn’t that different. Going out to headhunt the best people rather than wait for them to turn up makes sense in many situations, whether it’s finding an exceptional travel candidate, searching for a new band member, or finding a new top-scoring national footballer.

At the moment it’s a jobseekers’ market in travel and tourism recruitment, and we’re seeing a rise in passive candidates. These are people who aren’t actively looking for a role but might have their head turned by a great opportunity. The only way to engage with these people is to headhunt – or scout. Our job is to find them and work out where their talents could be best placed.

There’s still plenty of need for active jobseekers, of course. Those people who know they want a new job and put their CV on a job board or apply for roles directly are plentiful. The most determined will get where they want to go with a bit of work.

The rise of passive candidates

I’ve been in the travel industry for over 25 years. And over the last 12 months I’ve seen a shift with headhunting for passive candidates in travel and tourism recruitment on the rise. There are currently more roles than candidates and good candidates can pick and choose the best travel jobs.

I’d say 75% of positions I place candidates in are filled by passive candidates. I recently recruited a head of sales for a cruise company with a passive candidate winning the role. I’ve known the candidate for a few years as they’re within my network. Likewise, a luxury tailor-made travel company recently hired a passive candidate who I’d put forward for a marketing manager role. Again, they were from my existing network.

Without giving away too many trade secrets, I source people from our travel and tourism recruitment talent bank and network first. This is the advantage of a specialist travel and tourism recruitment agency. We’ve spent years building contacts and know the market at a very deep level. We are constantly sourcing talent through referrals, recommendations, and keeping in touch. The market is constantly evolving of course, but we are able to identify key candidates when companies need them. If you’re a candidate with good credentials it’s worth your while making friends with a successful recruiter, as they will always come to you with opportunities that you may not hear about otherwise.

The active candidate ghosting problem

While I have found many excellent candidates who are actively looking, there is a current problem with these candidates ghosting. Some active candidates get halfway through a recruitment process and simply disappear, cutting off contact. These people are often applying for multiple job opportunities and feel no commitment to the individual companies they’re corresponding with. This is obviously very frustrating for an employer and for us. It’s also pretty rude. I find with passive candidates that ghosting is less likely to happen. They are often more mature in outlook and because they have been targeted specifically they feel in a special position and act accordingly.

If you’re a company, large or small, looking for inspiring new talent, you’re more likely to find a good fit using the knowledge we have, than trying to find that Cristiano or Harry yourself simply by putting an ad out.

If you’re interested in finding great travel talent, connect with me on LinkedIn

For more on this subject, read PTR director James Roberts’ recent blog on why simply putting out an ad won’t get you the best candidates.