The Pieces of the Puzzle: The Job, The Candidate, and The Fit

Jul 13, 2000

Where recruiting was once a matter of matching “Candidate X” with “Job Y,” today the process is more complex. Not only are there more “Y’s” than “X’s,” but those “X’s,” well, they have expectations. And some of these go beyond the normal scope of salary, advancement, and benefits packages. Issues you’ve been accustomed to addressing have suddenly become less relevant or, in some cases, totally irrelevant. So how do you place candidates whose motivational factors seem to defy the very logic on which you’ve built your recruiting foundation? The first step is to accept the fact that the workplace has changed. People have varying priorities and they want their individual priorities addressed. As a recruiter, you need to understand who your candidate is and what he or she wants from a job. If salary is less important than flexible hours, for example, hammering your point about a $7,500 salary increase is likely to do little more than give yourself a headache. On the other hand, by understanding that a flexible work schedule is a motivator for your candidate, and finding a job that offers this, you may be on your way to placing him or her in a position. As simple as it sounds, the answers can be found by talking to your candidate and listening?really listening?to his or her responses. There are many reasons a candidate may take (or leave) a job. While for some people it’s about money, and for others it’s about security, today many people are also looking for work situations that fit with larger aspects of their lives. This can mean anything from working for a socially responsible company to the opportunity to travel. Ask your candidate questions that will reveal his or her preferences. It’s quite possible that a passive candidate, a person who isn’t actively seeking a job, may not have given much thought to what would prompt a job change. If you ask, “What would motivate you to change jobs?” he or she might not know. But questions such as “What do you like most about your present position?” and “What do you like least?” can provide some insight into what a person values. So can questions about location. If a candidate has always lived in Hometown, USA, and tells you that every member of his family for six generations has lived within a four-mile radius, the odds are probably against him taking a job that requires relocating to Chicago. On the other hand, if he starts griping about the harsh winters in the Northeast, maybe a position in Tampa would appeal to him. As a recruiter, you are offering a candidate more than job placement. You are suggesting a change which can significantly impact a person’s life. As such, it’s important to know about the company for which you’re recruiting. What is the work environment like? Is there on-site childcare? What about educational opportunities? How does the company rank within its industry? Using the Internet, it’s easy to obtain information regarding an organization, an industry, or a geographical location. By understanding what a candidate wants from a job, and providing appropriate feedback, you are likely to increase your placement success.