If youve ever lost a placement because a candidate turned down a job or
worse, took a counteroffer it's because the new job didnt satisfy the
persons motivation for change.
When you get right down to it, there are four basic reasons a person
changes jobs. Each of the reasons will influence the candidates
decision, to a greater or lesser extent. But generally, one of the
factors is dominant, and, like a compass that wants to point North, will
steer the candidate in a specific career direction.
The first factor is the candidates SITUATION, and has nothing to do with
the job itself. Some people change jobs because theyre being laid off,
or have a spouse whos being transferred to another city. So the need for
change is based on circumstance. Or, maybe a loss of key benefits might
initiate the search for a new job; or some other external factor, such
as the jobs location, commute time or a change in the candidates
personal of family needs will compel a person to seek out a different
The second factor is MONEY. I've found that someone will change jobs for
money only if the money intrinsically changes that persons lifestyle or
self-esteem. Otherwise, the money is eaten up by taxes and has little
significance. Or, the pursuit of more money involves taking a risk the
candidate would just as soon avoid. Think about it. Would a ten percent
increase on a $100,000 salary really motivate someone to change jobs?
Probably no tunless that extra $10,000 had a super-strong emotional
appeal or would enable the person to do something for his or her family
that was otherwise out of reach.
Beware the Money-Motivated Candidate
As a recruiter, you have to be careful if money is the driving force
behind a persons interest in changing jobs. In a bidding war between a
new company and the incumbent, the incumbent wins nearly every time. So
watch your step when it comes to money-motivated candidates.
The third factor involves HATE, as in, theres something the candidate
hates or something that drives the person crazy at their current job.
Whether its a particular individual, a work environment, a corporate
culture, an attitude, a technology, a tool, or whatever, the bottom line
is that the candidate feels trapped where he is. And whatever it is the
candidate hates about his job will never change.
When dealing with the hate factor, you always have to ask the candidate
if he's sought resolution or made a serious attempt to correct the
problem. If he hasn't, you want to try and encourage the person to talk
through the issue before you get too involved. Tell the candidate to go
ahead and have that conversation with his boss, whether the issue is
about money, responsibility, work assignment, recognition or difficulty
with a co-worker. The last thing you want is to find the person a new
job, only to find out that you helped resolve an issue that ends up
keeping the candidate where he already is.
If the candidates situation absolutely can't be resolved, and if the new
job takes away the hate factor, congratulations. Youve got yourself an
iron-clad placement that no amount of money in the form of a
counteroffer will satisfy. In fact, candidates who suffer from the hate
factor will often change jobs, even if the money is the same or even
less than they were making at a job they hate.
The fourth and final motivating factor deals with LOVE, or to be more
specific, unrequited LOVE. When a person has a passion for doing
something or working with like-minded people who share his valuesbut
that role or relationship will never be availablethe frustration can
become overwhelming. The good news is that if you can find an
opportunity for that person that fills the void, nothing can stand in
The sooner and more accurately you can figure out the motivation thats
driving a candidates need for change, the greater your odds of making a
match and having it stick. If you dont understand exactly what the
candidate is looking for and whether the new job satisfies those
needs you'll run the risk of flying blind. And as a recruiter, thats a
frightening position to be in.