We asked our candidates what their biggest hurdle was when looking for a new role.
Completing tech tasks? Updating their CVs? Nerves during Interviews? Getting feedback from recruiters?
It’s our job to lower these hurdles as much as possible, but no one said finding a new role comes without its stresses.
To our surprise, from our survey, nearly a third of candidates listed ‘Arranging time-off for interviews’ as their #1 stress during their job search.
Were their current employers keeping our candidates as prisoners? Were they scared of the wrath of their managers when news spread of their half-a-day holiday and unusually smart attire?
The truth is that often our relationships with our managers and team are much more complicated, especially if you are contemplating a move from somewhere you have been several years. The more diligent and conscientious the candidate, the more the stresses, responsibilities and white-lies will bear on them.
Despite wishing to pursue new opportunities and forging a whole new career path for themselves, candidates can find the time-off for interviews extremely taxing. Office law dictates you can’t simply announce you’re going to interview at a competitor because you feel you are stagnating/ overworked / want to learn something new/ commute is getting your down / are being underpaid. You must be smart about it and channel your inner, duplicitous Bond.
This is even harder when the current employer or team are in danger of being left in the lurch. Or the project you have been working on is in danger of taking a hit because of your absence. The more conscientious the candidate, the higher the hurdle becomes.
‘They’re leaving anyway, what does it matter’ I hear you say.
Interviews are a chance for the candidate to suss out the company as much as they are a chance for the company to suss out the candidate. So, unless the candidate is at their absolute wit’s end, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the candidate’s qualms about their existing company will resolve themselves and they will stay. In fact, the majority of candidates we work with aren’t desperate for a new role, but simply ‘keeping an ear to the ground’ on what’s out there. They are peering over the fence.
Of course, this is hard for hiring managers to hear. They want to hear that their candidate is head over heels for the company and the role and would lasso the moon for the opportunity to interview with them. Why would they waste their time on anyone else?
Peering over the fence won’t quite cut it for them, understandably, but some hiring processes can go a little far the other way. Putting the neighbour’s fence analogy to its limit, some recruitment stages are not dissimilar to asking a neighbour over to cut their lawn in a timed event and then, if completed to a reasonable degree, being invited for a cup of tea at a specific non-negotiable time that is wildly inconvenient for you. It’s quite a stretch from peering.
While companies and hiring managers may be frustrated at a candidates’ lack of availability for interviews- you have to say that it speaks to the candidates’ work-ethic and shows that they value their time highly. These are excellent traits for an employee. A candidate that demands efficiency, values their time and will likely value yours too.
Should you pass up the opportunity to interview a candidate because they aren’t willing to leave their current employer and team in the lurch?
We wanted to give advice to our candidates on how to overcome their biggest job search hurdle, but for this one, we feel the advice should fall on our clients, and on recruiters, to correctly gauge both parties’ sentiments and fit, so that neither party wastes any time pursuing unsuitable matches.
For every hiring manager that feels a candidate’s lack of availability equates to a lack of commitment or excitement for the role, there is a candidate who feels a hiring manager’s lack of flexibility equates to a lack of excitement and short-sightedness towards them as a candidate.
If a company is genuinely excited by a candidate, they may need to go the extra mile to ensure they don’t miss out on a candidate just because of their sense of responsibility and the number of holidays they have left to take at the end of the year.
What does ‘going the extra mile’ look like? It can be as simple as coming into the office an hour early or staying an hour later than usual. That’s it. By being flexible to hold your candidates interview out of your regular office hours, you can save a good, trustworthy candidate from their biggest recruiting hurdle.