Like any other professional service that deals with the public,
recruiters continuously struggle with the issue of control. The same
way doctors wrestle with "patient control" and lawyers boast about
"client control," so recruiters agonize over "candidate control."
If you look at recruiting realistically, you'll recognize that you
can no more "control" the actions of another person than you can
control a speeding vehicle that's hydroplaning down the interstate
at 70 miles an hour in a driving rainstorm. That is, the force of
momentum will to a greater or lesser degree affect the direction
your candidate takes, just like it will a 3,000-pound car.
The best you can hope for is that you've selected the right vehicle
for the trip and that your preparation, training and reflexes will
guide you safely towards your destination. Your degree of control,
in other words, is relative to a variety of external factors, the
most important of which is the candidate's true motivation for
Revealing the Source of Discontent
I've found that people experience dissatisfaction with their
employment situation due to one or more of the following reasons:
Personal. The candidate's relationships with those at work are
unfulfilling. Perhaps the peers and/or supervisors are incompatible
with the candidate, or they have different goals. Or maybe there are
vast differences in political, religious, socioeconomic or
educational backgrounds. Or the overall corporate culture seems out
of synch to the candidate, or the "feel" or "look" of the company's
surroundings leaves something to be desired.
Professional. The candidate's ability to achieve career
goals or technical fulfillment is stalled, or unattainable. As
recruiters, it's on the professional aspects of a candidate's
employment equation that we most often (and erroneously) focus our
Situational. The candidate's
dissatisfaction has nothing to do with the personal or professional
aspects of the job; rather, the dissatisfaction is tied to
circumstances. For example, the candidate's commuting distance might
be intolerable, or the air quality or school system in the
candidate's city might have deteriorated; or the candidate's spouse
might have recently accepted a job in a different city.
The point is, there may be a hundred different value-related reasons
behind a candidate's apparent discontent. As recruiters, it's our
job to develop an awareness of the factors that motivate a candidate
to explore his or her options-and to offer viable career solutions.
Unless you've pinpointed the precise
motivation behind a candidate's interest in interviewing for another
position, you'll have no leverage in the job-changing process. And
worst of all-if the candidate has no real motivation for making a
change-you'll find yourself as a mere facilitator in a tire-kicking
exercise, in which your efforts will serve only to satisfy a
candidate whose only interest is to extract a counteroffer.
At which point, you need to ask yourself:
Who's really in control?