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Qualifying Your Candidate's Compelling Event

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IT recruiters interested in improving their recruiting effectiveness including client job offer offer to candidate acceptance ratios-particularly with passive candidates, will want to make sure that they know how qualify the candidate's compelling event.  Executing Qualifying your candidate's compelling eventthe entire IT recruitment process  is the lifeblood for any recruiter.  Perhaps the most important aspect of screening and qualifying candidates is qualifying your candidate's compelling event and motivators.

Leaving your current employer, starting a new job, buying a house, getting married and having children-for most people- are the biggest and most stressful changes one will experience in their life.  After all, this is why Human Resource professionals refer to these changes as “life events.” Because switching jobs or starting a new job is so stressful, it is critically important that recruiters understand why their candidates would leave their current situation-employed or unemployed-and accept a new job. Sure the candidate 

may be a “career consultant” or “free agent” who works project to project, but regardless of how long they have been doing it, making the transition to take on a new job or project every six, twelve or eighteen months is still a big and stressful decision. And even for the entry level IT help desk agent who has been unemployed for twelve months, they still have options to consider as well.  This bring me to the topic of your candidate's compelling event.

What is a Compelling Event?
A compelling event can be defined as a direct response to move away from a problem or towards the achievement of a goal where if the candidate takes no action there would be a negative impact that personally impacts the candidate either financially, professionally, and/or emotionally and psychologically.  The compelling event defines the reason for the candidate to leave or be compelled to leave their current situation (employment situation) and take on a new career opportunity. 

Regardless of how amazing your job offer may be including the career opportunity (relative to your candidate), technologies, learning and development opportunities, salary and benefits, and location (commute), candidates can;t commit to accepting without firs deciding:

  • "Am I committed to leaving my current situation?"
  • "Am I committed to making a career change in my life right now?"
  • "How will leaving my current situation impact me and my family?" 
  • "How will leaving my current situation impact me professionally and financially?

The point is, by accepting a new career opportunity your candidate must commit to making a change in their life, today.  In general, most people don't like change. The decision of “am I committed to making this change in my life right now,” is by far the most important decision your candidate must make.  To determine if your candidate is ready, able and willing to commit to this change, recruiters must qualify their candidate's compelling event. Here are some questions to help with qualifying your candidate's compelling event.

Compelling Event: Why does the candidate need to take action (accept a new job offer) on this right now?  What (bad things) would happen if the candidate did nothing and things remained the same? Examples of a compelling event might include:

  1. Getting married
  2. Having a baby
  3. Candidate hates his or her boss and is miserable
  4. Going through a divorce
  5. Company downsizing, merger or acquisition
  6. Career change or transition 

Urgency: Is there a deadline in which a new job must be secured? Is there a deadline or date in which the candidate must begin their new job and start receiving a paycheck from a new employer? Why or why not?

Risk: What is the downside of the candidate accepting this new job offer or opportunity?  What could go wrong? What is the downside of sticking with the status quo and not changing anything for the candidate?

Prioritization: Of all of the things currently taking place in the candidate’s life that he or she needs to act on, which are the most important and top priority right now and why?

Whatever the candidate’s compelling event is, the recruiter must decipher how “real” and “compelling” it is. This is where the recruiter's judgment and discretion comes into play. You must understand why it is so important for the candidate to leave their current situation or status quo for your opportunity.  If the candidate can’t convince you why the compelling event is so important, then the candidate is most likely not serious about making a move and committing to the change or at least not serious about accepting your opportunity.  Maybe the candidate is just ‘window shopping opportunities’ but not committed to making the change. You won’t be able to effectively sell a candidate your job opportunity if you don’t understand their compelling event and motivation behind wanting to make a change.

Course of Action: Which Opportunities Should I Consider & Accept? Once your candidate determines that they do in fact have to take a new job today, the next logical decision they have to make is, what opportunities should I consider and accept? Your candidates know that there is always more than one way to achieve a career goal. Other factors that your candidate will have to consider when deciding on which opportunities to consider and which to accept include:

  • Personal Career Goals:: Will accepting this position allow me to achieve my short career goals? Long term career goals?
  • Financial Feasibility: Will this opportunity work for me and my family financially?
  • Work-Life Balance Feasibility: Am I confident this work situation will work for me and my family such as the hours, committed, daily commute?
  • Risk: What are the odds of success or failure if I go this route?
  • Prioritization: Of all the possible opportunities to choose from, is this one the best for me (and my family)?

The decision of “do I need to take a new job now” is by far the most important decision your candidate must make because if they can’t arrive at a decision the others don’t matter.  And because every candidate job offer decision starts and ends here,  qualifying your candidate’s compelling event is the single most important thing you must uncover and qualify about your candidate.

Looking for additional insight into interviewing candidates? Download the eBook titled "Executing the Candidate Interview, Five Pillars to Effective Qualification."

Executing Candidate Interviews for Effective Qualification

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