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Hiring Challenges -- Are Candidates Buying What You are Selling?

There are two forces that affect a candidate’s interest in making a move and your ability to make a hire: push and pull.

The push is when a candidate’s current situation contributes to their desire to leave. They are in the market to buy. The pull is the appeal of the job they are moving towards. That’s the sell.

Happy employees minimally experience the forces of push and pull...nothing is pushing them to look to leave, and they are not tempted by other opportunities. That being said, being “happy” is conditional and temporary.

Here is an example of a good friend of mine who experienced a change from being “happy” to being pushed. Matt likes his job and company but there are no growth opportunities. He brought this issue to his manager’s attention over the last couple of years. Since he has effectively capped out at this location, he started to put out feelers for a new role. He was “pushed” to look elsewhere.

A great company in a great location started to court him (pull) and was drafting up an offer. All of a sudden, his current company started offering promotions and salary increases at his choice of locations. In this case, they used counteroffers as a way to mitigate the push with a different pull. These are tricky to navigate in their own right. As a result of this situation, both companies now have a hiring challenge.

This scenario is a typical nightmare for recruiters on both sides of the equation that often doesn’t end well but it’s a good spot for a candidate under today’s market conditions.

As a recruiter, there are several things you can do to mitigate this hiring challenge that fall into both sides of the equation:


Your company’s employer value proposition should be comprehensive enough to address multiple talent needs.

  • What’s great about your location?
  • What’s the “why” behind your work and the “sizzle” that makes the role appealing?
  • What are your company’s values and how might they align with your candidate’s?
  • Is the compensation package comprehensive?
  • What opportunities for growth, impact, learning, development, engagement, community involvement or mentoring others exist?
  • Does the candidate have a spouse or other family obligations to factor in?
  • Brainstorm multiple categories and draw a straight line to what you offer.


To avoid hiring challenges it’s important to understand why someone is looking to leave his or her current position. Maybe the new opportunity is just that good...but that’s probably not the whole story. Even a lack of discernible pull from the current company acts as a push at times. Something the candidate needs are not getting fulfilled. Are they being compensated unfairly? Is the work unrewarding, unfulfilling, or not interesting? Is the manager or coworkers creating an unpleasant work situation?

It’s critical to ensure that the opportunity you are presenting the candidate with differs from challenges he or she is experiencing currently. It helps to avoid the same problem in the future and minimize the likelihood that the current company will be able to come up with a quick-fix counter offer.

You can avoid many hiring challenges if you know what to look for and can address problems before they arise. So what is Matt going to do? I’m still waiting to find out...



Written by: Allison Small, Co-founder and VP of Program Development and Execution, TalentCMO

Links and other interesting stuff:

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