How to Ease Candidates' Career Change Concerns

Mar 21, 2024

There’s no way around it: changing jobs is a stressful process. Even under the best of circumstances, when a new opportunity is exciting and sought-after, there are plenty of reasons why a candidate might hesitate to make a career change.

Four of the most common concerns we hear from candidates are:

  • Impact on the family: A candidate’s top priority is often their family’s health and happiness. No matter how lucrative or promising the career opportunity is, if a candidate’s spouse, partner, and/or children aren’t on board, it’s unlikely that they’ll be willing or able to make the move. Even if they do take a new job, it’s likely that they’ll need to consider a change that better fits their family’s needs sooner than later.
  • Cost of real estate and relocation. If it’s not required or in pursuit of a long-term goal, candidates often struggle with the idea of relocation. Relocation is expensive and hard on families. Both the cost of real estate and interest rates have risen significantly in recent years, meaning that finding a safe, comfortable place to live in a new location is going to cost candidates. As a result, many people choose to stay put rather than paying significantly more for a comparable home in a new location and taking on the stress of settling into a new neighborhood, new schools, and a new workplace.
  • Work-life balance. Some candidates are no longer willing or able to work long hours at the cost of their relationships, personal lives, health, and wellness. Starting a new job often requires putting in long hours and extra work to prove yourself in a new company, and some candidates will choose to stay in a job where they have a degree of freedom and earned trust already. New jobs also sometimes require employees to start over when it comes to accruing vacation perks and personal time off. In order to keep their current levels of PTO, some candidates will be reluctant to move jobs.
  • Financial stability. From inflation to fears of “last in, first out” policies, financial security is a powerful motivator for candidates to stay in their current jobs – even if they’re not fully satisfied where they are. For many candidates, financial stability has to trump an exciting new opportunity. This is especially true when a new job opportunity includes an unfamiliar pay and bonus structure that is discretionary rather than guaranteed.

So how can hiring authorities address these issues in a way that will ease candidates’ concerns and boost their confidence about accepting a great opportunity?

  • Understand and respect the candidate’s value system, priorities, and expectations. Helping a candidate feel confident about a career change starts with understanding why they’re concerned in the first place. What specifically are they focused on at this stage in their career? Do they have families or long-term goals you can talk to them about, and does your opportunity meet both their short- and long-term needs? Listening to a candidate’s concerns and working to understand their values not only helps you directly address any issues that may arise in the hiring process, but it gives you the chance to show that you genuinely care about them and their success, in and outside of the office.
  • Don’t push – instead, provide the information a candidate needs to make an informed decision. If you dismiss a candidate’s concerns or try to force a “square peg, round hole” situation to work, it can communicate to them that your priorities and theirs aren’t in alignment. To make a successful, long-term hire with a candidate who will stay loyal and engaged, you want to make sure that they are the best fit for your company and that your company and this specific opportunity are the best fit for their needs as well. So provide information, answer questions, talk through any potential problems as well as the benefits of an opportunity, and then let the candidate make the decision that’s right for them.
  • Call on existing relationships to provide references of stability and support. Hiring managers usually ask candidates for lists of references to verify their qualifications, experience, and character – but not many offer up references of their own. For example, you might call on a recruiter who knows your company inside and out, employees at various levels of the organization, or clients or vendors who have worked with you before. Introducing prospective candidates to people who can verify your company’s financial stability, strategic vision, and history of supporting employees can help ensure that they’re confident in their decision to come on board and it can demonstrate authenticity and trust, which are high priorities for candidates in evaluating a potential new employer.

In the end, there’s no formula for working with people – each candidate’s concerns, needs, and expectations are going to be unique. However, by working to understand each individual candidate, providing them with information without pushing, and introducing them to references for your company, you can help ease their concerns and ensure that the candidate who does accept your job offer is motivated and confident about their decision.

About the Author

Russ Girgenti

Russ joined Kimmel & Associates in 2022 as an Associate in the Waste & Recycling Division.

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About the Author

David Williams

David joined Kimmel & Associates in 2015 in the Mechanical & Electrical Division, serving clients in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. “Working with a servant’s heart” is the motto that David has always lived by.

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