Are you chasing a candidate running from a job?

running briefcase

The day I realized my new hire ran away from his previous position was about a week after he started.  I overheard him talking to another employee about his former boss, his lackluster work, and his insufficient vacation time.  As I listened for a moment, my stomach churned a little. I realized I may be chasing a candidate running from a job.

I had that reaction because I thought he was excited about this new role, and not just escaping something else.  You see, there are really two main motivators for job searchers: running away from something or running towards something.  And, we all hope to hire the latter.

I thought back to the interview.  I remember asking him why he wanted the position, and his answer was vague but convincing.  Perhaps I should have probed more, asked more specific questions about his former role.

Why Job Motivation Matters

As experienced recruiters, we at Artemis Consultants realize how important job motivation is to ensure a good fit.  We always ask our candidates why they are seeking a new role.  If a candidate answers that they are moving toward a new opportunity to further their career, they are generally more intrinsically motivated.  This means that their motivation comes from a place of internal satisfaction.  For example, someone who is intrinsically motivated may decide to take a cooking lesson for fun or may learn to speak Japanese because they’ve always been interested in the culture.  Job seekers who run towards new opportunities are truly interested in the work itself.  In an interview situation, these candidates tend to ask more about the day to day of the position and/or the company mission.

Candidates who are running away from bad situations should ask themselves why they are unhappy.  Are there things in their control that they could change?  Will the same thing happen in a new environment?  Kim Meninger of Executive Career Success says, “When your primary motivation is getting out of a bad situation, it’s difficult to think analytically about what you need and want from your work. To ensure that your new role doesn’t lead to the same frustrations as your current role, be clear and specific about what’s not working and what you need to thrive in your next job.”

In other words, candidates should be cautious about why they want to leave a current job.  Tom Berger of Genius Mesh says, “Once this “running away” mindset takes over, rational thinking may fall by the wayside with any new opportunity appearing to be perfect.  Essentially, this situation is a variation of the proverb of the grass is always greener on the other side. The reality is that there will be cons along with all of the imagined pros with any new position.”

Self-Analysis is Essential

Professional recruiting firms like Artemis Consultants can help candidates and employers ask necessary questions to determine job motivation.  We recommend the following questions:

  • What did you like best about your previous position?
  • What did you like least about your former position? What makes you want to leave your current role?
  • What kind of work environment is ideal for your personality?
  • What career goals have you set for yourself over the next few years and how does this position meet those goals?
  • What motivates you to go to work every day? What would motivate you to stay in a position at least five years?
  • What qualities do an ideal manager and team possess?
  • How does this new role meet your needs better than your last/ current role?

To candidates, we recommend you ask yourself these questions before seeking that new position. To hiring managers, we recommend you ask candidates these questions during the interview.

An alternative method is to focus on attracting the candidates you want. Take intentional steps to better brand your company to a potential hire, but keep in mind that the biggest employment brand influencers are employees themselves.

Hiring the best candidate is not always about what looks best on paper.  A candidate should know what they want and how this new role fits those needs. Please visit our website to check out the services we offer to ensure a fit on both sides of the offer table.

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