Focusing on Candidate Motivations

Steve Lowisz

In theory we all know that the motivations of a candidate are important to consider during the recruitment process… 

But when the time comes to find potential candidates, many recruiters mistakenly focus on a couple pieces of resume information without digging deeper. We decide a candidate’s viability after spending 6 seconds to learn their education and their current title, and we stop there.

We’re missing out on great candidates.

Think about recruiting for a director level position. Why do we automatically discount potential candidates if their current title is “VP”?

We assume that because they’re a VP, they won’t be willing to take a step back. Or we believe we won’t be able to afford the compensation that they’re looking for.

Money and titles aren’t everything.

We’re making decisions for people without even talking to them; Basing our decisions on the assumption that what matters most to them are extrinsic motivators (money and titles).

Of course, these things ARE important to a lot of candidates, but it’s not necessarily their biggest driver when making career decisions.

There are intrinsic motivations that might matter more.

If a candidate’s intrinsic motivations are met, extrinsic items can take second stage.

For example, if a new job has a less stressful environment than their current job, or the company’s values align better with their personal values, compensation might matter less.

Or let’s say a candidate’s passion is to build something from the ground up, they might be more inclined to take a step down from their current title to take a position with a startup company.

As recruiters, it’s our job to uncover their motivations. 

The point is, it’s impossible to determine these things without getting to know your candidate. We need to build strong relationships with them in order to get truthful answers.

There is more to a candidate than their knowledge, skills, and abilities. We’ve also got to look at the head and the heart. The heart is our intrinsic motivations; how we’re wired because of our beliefs and values. The head is how we behave based on those motivations.

By understanding candidates on this level, we can do better at making long lasting placements.

To learn more about the issues that are holding us back in recruiting and how we should do things differently, don’t forget to check out my book: Recruiting Sucks… But it Doesn’t Have To. Get your copy on Amazon today by clicking right here!