Analyzing a Person’s Underlying Motivation for Taking a New Job

I’ve stated this before in numerous articles and blog posts: nothing happens without desire. In other words, nothing can happen without somebody having the desire to make it happen.

I’ve also stated something else before: everything boils down to motivation. People do what they are motivated to do, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously.

Desire manifests itself as motivation. Understanding the effects of both are important within the landscape of the employment marketplace. This is especially the case for organizations that are looking to hire. In order for a company to hire the people that it wants to hire, its decision makers must understand what motivates those people, as well as the desire that motivation creates within them.

Exploring the main motivators

Of course, when we’re talking about hiring, we’re talking about hiring the best candidates in the market. If that’s not the goal of every single organization, it should be the goal. If you’re hiring just to put a rear end in a seat and you’re not concerned about the quality of the talent you’re acquiring, then you’re already putting your employer at a disadvantage.

Below are four main motivators for professionals who would consider a new opportunity and ultimately accept an organization’s offer of employment. In addition to listing and analyzing these motivators, I’ll also discuss the likelihood that each would be a motivator for a top candidate and the urgency level associated with the motivator. Because once again, you don’t want just any candidates; you want the best candidates.

#1—Dislike/hatred of current situation

There could be many reasons why the candidate dislikes their current situation. One of them might very well be their boss. You may have heard this saying before: “People don’t quit their job, they quit their boss.” While the accuracy of that statement is open to debate, a poor relationship with a supervisor is certainly a reason for a professional to seek other employment. Other reasons include conflict regarding company culture, low pay/benefits, and miscellaneous personal issues.

The chances that you’re dealing with a top candidate: not many top candidates find themselves embroiled in such a situation. That’s because these candidates are more than likely being treated well by their current employer. There is a chance that they’re clashing with their boss and that conflict is serving as a motivator. However, that is the exception rather than the rule. Professionals who have a strong dislike for their current situation are categorized as active job seekers and not passive candidates.

Urgency level (on a scale of 1 to 10): 10

#2—Seeking a new start

Typically, these are people who are good at what they do, but they’ve grown weary of it for one reason or another. They’re looking for something different and dynamic that fits their skill set and interests and may or may not be still within their chosen field. The viability of these types of candidates can vary on a person to person basis. That’s because their candidacy depends on whether or not they possess skills or characteristics that can be transferred to the new direction they wish to take in their career. These professionals are motivated, but they’re not desperate to get out of their current situation at all costs.

The chances that you’re dealing with a top candidate: it’s possible, but still unlikely that such a candidate would be counted among this group. Usually, those who are the very best at what they do are the very best because not only do they have a proficiency for it, but they also have a passion for it. For top candidates, what they do is typically one of their motivators for continuing to do it. For professionals in this category, what they do is the main motivator for NOT doing it.

Urgency level (on a scale of 1 to 10): 7

#3—Strategic lateral move

Sometimes a person will make a move not because they dislike their current situation or have grown weary of what they do, but because they think it will better position them for future success. Much like a game of chess, they’re making a move now that they believe will allow them to make a winning move later. This professional is thinking long term, which means that they’re doing more than just dealing with their career on a job-by-job basis.

The chances that you’re dealing with a top candidate: much better than candidates in the first two categories, but still a hit-and-miss proposition. It’s certainly not the majority of the time. While the best candidates typically do not entertain lateral moves, they will under the right circumstances.

Urgency level (on a scale of 1 to 10): 5

#4— Next logical career move

This motivator is the focus for extremely career-minded individuals. While those in the third category might make a lateral move for the purpose of benefitting their career, these professionals will typically not make a move unless they believe it’s the next logical one. In other words, they will not make a move unless it is clearly better than the one they already have.

The chances that you’re dealing with a top candidate: very good. This is how top candidates think, and their talent and experience give them the luxury of acting in this manner, as well. These candidates have options. Those options include waiting until the right opportunity comes along, as well as the option of staying with their current employer until that opportunity does arrive.

Urgency level (on a scale of 1 to 10): 3

The less urgency, the more you need a recruiter

While looking at these motivators, a few patterns emerge:

  1. The more reactionary the motivator is, the less likely that you’re dealing with a top candidate.
  2. The more urgency that exists, the less likely that you’re dealing with a top candidate.
  3. The less urgency that exists, the more that you need the services of a recruiter or search consultant.

Why is that? Because top candidates are motivated by a proactive frame of mind that benefits from the existence of multiple options and is less dependent on the need to change their situation immediately. (Thus the lack of urgency.) As a result, these candidates are not actively looking for a new job, including on the Internet via online job advertisements.

That’s when a recruiter can engage these candidates, present the opportunity, and convince them to consider it. A search consultant can tap into the motivators that compel top candidates to take action and create in them a desire to explore your company’s employment opportunity and to ultimately agree to work for your organization.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.