Recruiter Report: Gauging Candidate Sincerity

Posted by The Jacobson Group

The recruiting landscape continues to transform and candidates’ attitudes and motivations are evolving along with it. In October, we hit an unprecedented 0.8% unemployment rate within the insurance industry. Recruiting has become even more difficult as the war for talent rages on. However, many hiring managers are now experiencing a new challenge: understanding how serious candidates are about accepting a new position.


It’s not uncommon for candidates to go through the interview process to “see what’s out there,” or make it to the point of an offer only to be swayed by a counteroffer from their current employer. Recruiters and hiring managers must adjust their interview styles to better understand how motivated professionals are to make a move – especially if they aren’t actively looking. In this edition of Recruiter Report, we address the question, How can you gauge a candidate’s sincerity throughout the interview process?

Q4RecruiterReport-01Ask the right questions. 
Understanding why candidates are exploring a new role and their willingness to leave their current employer is key. Here are a few questions that can provide insight into this area:

Q4 Recruiter Report-03 How recently have you looked for other opportunities? They may truly be open to a move, or they may be professional candidates who interview periodically with no true intention of changing roles.

Q4 Recruiter Report-03 How long have you been with your current employer? If they’ve been there 15 years, there may be a lower likelihood of them leaving without a large incentive. Conversely, if they’ve been with their employer under a year, it could be a potential red flag.

Q4 Recruiter Report-03 What is missing in your current position that you are talking with me? They may just be curious about the opportunity, or perhaps they are looking for something their current employer can’t provide such as full-time work from home or upward mobility.

Q4 Recruiter Report-03 What is still piquing your interest? This is a great question for the second interview, helping you understand why they are moving forward with the interview process and how motivated they are to accept an offer if it comes to that point.

There are always exceptions, but if responses to these questions make you hesitant, dig deeper to gain a better understanding of a candidate’s situation. Perhaps they joined a company during the pandemic and were told they could remain flexible, but are now being asked to return to the office full-time, causing them to seek a new role sooner than they planned. Or perhaps they have already asked for development or advancement opportunities and have been turned down.

Q4RecruiterReport-02Take on the role of a friend or consultant. 
It’s important to understand what candidates are looking for and if they can achieve it with their current employer. If they feel like they’re deserving of a promotion, have they approached the issue with their current manger? Do they want more money, which could be easily provided in a counteroffer? Have their responsibilities shifted, causing them to be unhappy in their position? It may seem counterintuitive, but many grievances can be easily fixed by their current company. Encourage candidates to have these conversations with their current managers now, rather than getting to the point of an offer and being swayed by a potential counteroffer. You may lose a candidate in the short-term, but it will save you time and lead to a better outcome in the long-term.

Make a strong offer. Q4 Recruiter Report-05
If you’re prepared to present an offer, make sure it is competitive. Never come in at the low end of a candidate’s salary range. Outside of monetary compensation, ensure you understand anything else that may be a determining factor in a candidate’s decision. If it’s flexibility, PTO, development opportunities or other elements, outline these areas when presenting the offer. Include as much as you can within your total rewards package, remembering that even after a candidate accepts a position, the recruiting process isn’t over. It’s a tight market; without a strong offer, you may still risk losing talent to a counteroffer from their current employer or be vulnerable to losing them to competitors. 

Adjusting recruiting strategies and creating strong offers is essential to remaining relevant in today’s market. Many hiring managers are concerned with internal equity; however, if your current employees aren’t being compensated at market value, you should be reevaluating their compensation and total rewards packages, as well. Otherwise, you risk losing your current talent to competitors who can better meet their needs. 

While all situations are unique, taking the time to dig deeper into motivators will ultimately result in better long-term hires. Ask the right questions, understand intentions and make strong offers that are tailored to those needs. For more insight on current recruiting issues and trends, read past editions of Recruiter Report here

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