"Convince Me I Could Be Happier." The Top 4 Things Candidates Ask

Our Thoughts
June 3, 2019

“Convince me I could be happier,” was the response I received to a question I recently asked of a candidate being considered for an executive level position.  My question had been, “Are you happy in your current role?” It was an interesting response that I definitely viewed as an opportunity to engage in a more in depth conversation about my current search.  What should candidates find out when considering a career move?  What insight is helpful to obtain from Hiring Managers when a recruitment is initiated?  What information should recruiters share with candidates?  I’ve outlined some ideas based on my experience over the last 15+ years in staffing.


We wear many hats as recruiters:

1.   Research and Development – researching the organization and the open position;developing a position profile that draws the attention of the most highly qualified candidates.

2.   Marketing and Sales – getting the word out about the position, being mindful of your target audience and promoting the opportunity strategically.

3.   Relationship Management – building rapport and trust with your Hiring Manager as well as your candidates.

4.   Evaluation- evaluating candidates and their potential fit; utilizing good judgment in each step of the search process.


My favorite hat, by far, is relationship management.  I went into Human Resources many years ago,because I genuinely love people.  I love getting to know them, learning their story and hopefully helping them find that perfect next career move.  


So, when one of my candidates asked me to “convince them they could be happier,” I knew that it was actually a matter of informing and letting him decide vs. convincing. These are the top four things that I’ve found matter the most to candidates considering whether or not to make a career change:

1.   Meaningful Work – What are the organization’s mission and vision?  What problems are they trying to solve?  What would be my part in that?  Will this position allow me to fully utilize my strengths, as well as offering challenge and growth?  In this recent article from Harvard Business Review, it’s noted that nine out of ten people are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work.

2.   Team Dynamics – Do team members work well together?  What is the day-to-day pace?  What is the boss’s leadership style?  Team dynamics are one of the most challenging areas for candidates to evaluate, but the most valuable approach is to observe,listen and learn during onsite interviews. You can learn quite a bit by observing the way people interact with each other.

3.   Support and Resources – Candidates, especially at the executive level, want to know if they will have access to resources, not only for day-to-day operations, but also to move the organization forward. Will they have support from senior leadership when making key decisions that impact their ability to grow the business? Do they have control over their own budget, approving authority, etc.?

4.   Compensation and Benefits – It goes without saying that this would be something prospective candidates need to know.  Is the salary competitive?  Is the target hiring range financially feasible/beneficial for the candidate?  Interestingly, over and above annual salary,I’m asked much more often about one particular benefit… is there any option for remote work now or in the future?  Most aren’t looking to work full-time from home, but the most progressive employers often support executives having some flexibility with their schedule; working one day a week from home, for example.


Researching these work culture characteristics in advance of an executive search has proven to be extremely valuable, for me and most importantly, for the candidate.  


Lynn Barboza is an Executive Recruiter at Morgan Consulting Resources, a healthcare executive search firm celebrating over 20 successful years in business.