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Candidate Motivation vs Employer Hot Buttons

By Matthew Good, Managing Partner, Management Recruiters of Sioux Falls, LLP

It is said that first impressions are everything. In the world of interviews, they say that employers and candidates, typically, form a decision in the first five minutes of the interview and spend the rest of the time justifying their answer. This article outlines the most important factors to consider in preparation for a productive interview.

To the employer:

In today’s candidate-driven marketplace, it is particularly important that you thoroughly qualify every candidate. It will be increasingly challenging to find the types of individuals your organization seeks; you simply cannot afford to invest time with candidates who are not truly committed to making a career move.

If you ask candidates, ‘Why are you looking to make a career change?” it’s likely that you will hear a variety of responses and still not have a good understanding of their motivations.

The most common factors, or ‘hot buttons,’ that affect a candidate’s willingness to make a career move are; People, Challenge, Location, Money, Advancement and Security.

  • People – Team, Environment and Company Culture
    Challenge – Technology, Tools, and Training
    Location – Where the company is and why people enjoy the area.
    Money – Total compensation including base, bonus, benefits, flexibility, etc.
    Advancement – Title and org chart, a visual outlining position and opportunity
    Security – Financial and Career Stability

When presenting an opportunity to a prospective candidate, paying attention and referencing these factors allows the outline of your position to be extremely comprehensive and anticipates questions the candidate would naturally have.

In summary, you must ask yourself – “If I were searching for a new position and were gainfully employed, would my own opportunity stand out as the clear best choice?”

To the candidate:

Just as a job seeker has specific factors that are important when exploring new opportunities, employers have their own hot buttons. Hiring executives have an entirely different set of standards for what they are seeking in candidates. If you, as a job seeker, fail to recognize the difference, your chances of being the ‘candidate of choice’ are lessened.

Some of the most common considerations that run through an employers’ mind are; Ability, Desire, Commitment, Work Ethic, Character, Willingness to Learn and Leadership.

  • Ability – Simply put, can you do the job?
    Desire and Commitment – If you can do the job, do you still have fire and passion.
    Work Ethic – Go above and beyond, enough to get by, or underachieve?
    Character – Demonstrate your integrity, professional ethics and personal morals.
    Willingness to Learn – Attitude is infectious, show ability to go extra mile.
    Leadership – This is a rare commodity. Everyone says and few can.

If you are in consideration for a new position, when you are demonstrating your level of interest it is important once again to anticipate these factors and provide a summary of your background that speaks to these points.

Most importantly, you must communicate the value you can bring to an organization. The value you can bring is best supported by specifying past achievements and how those achievements can plug into a new organization. When referring to achievements, be specific and use numbers, fractions, dollars and percentages.

Your goal upon exiting the interview should be that you leave no doubt to the hiring executive that you are the right fit for his / her organization.