Away vs. towards candidates
Many employers and recruiting professionals have a favourite interview question. I have mine too - it's simply "why are you sitting here today?". But to understand why this is my favourite question, you first need to understand the difference between away and towards candidates.
The away candidate wants to get away from a painful situation that is causing them stress or discomfort. They may be unemployed or at risk of getting fired, or the company they are working for may be struggling to remain viable. These candidates tend to look at things negatively, as they are focused on alleviating their pain. As such, they may say:
The towards candidate, on the other hand, is drawn towards something better. They are not trying to escape a painful situation, so their motivation is very different to the away candidate. These candidates focus on what they could get in a new role, and how it will make them even happier than they currently are. As such, they may say:
Interview questions to explore
To determine whether a candidate is an "away" or "towards" candidate, it is recommended to ask questions related to their current situation, urgency, and impact expectancy. Some of the questions that can be asked include:
An article for First Round Review details the favourite interview questions from a range of employers. Some that I found of interest include:
These questions can reveal the candidate's ambitions, values, and whether they have a history of running away from pain or running towards something positive.
Why are you sitting here today?
This takes me back to my own favourite interview question - "why are you sitting here today?". The answer you receive will tell you why the candidate is looking for a new job. And from this, you will be able to establish whether they are an away or a towards candidate.
If you are considering an "away" candidate, who is leaving their current job due to self-inflicted pain (such as poor performance), you should be cautious. You need to consider whether this pain will carry over into their new job. If so, it may be best to reject them. However, if their pain is not their fault, offering them similar conditions to their current role may convince them to accept the job.
On the other hand, "towards" candidates, who are seeking to improve their career and move forward, are typically more expensive to hire. If you believe you are interviewing a "towards" candidate, you should be prepared to offer at least 30% more than their current salary. If they are willing to accept the same conditions as their current role, it's important to investigate further and determine if there are any underlying issues causing them to consider leaving their current job.
So, next time you prepare your list of interview questions, you should ask the candidate about their motivation. This will make it easier for you to determine whether you should make an offer of employment, and what you will need to offer the candidate to get them to say "yes".
Want to recruit top talent?
Now that you have some interview questions to ask candidates, you may be interested in learning more about 11 Recruitment's permanent recruitment services.
11 Recruitment is the leading perm and temp recruitment agency for white-collar staff. We source high achievers for jobs in Perth and throughout Australia.
At 11, we typically get involved in the recruitment process when a client is either seeking a high achiever to elevate their business, recruiting for a role that is hard to fill, or having difficulty sourcing or attracting suitable candidates.
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What are your thoughts?
I'd love to have a conversation with you about this topic - please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or opinions 🙂
Managing Director of 11 Recruitment