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How to Address Hesitancy to Change Jobs in a Time of Uncertainty

Aly Finkle
Fri, Apr 10, 2020

People don’t like change under normal circumstances and especially not in the middle of a crisis. 

The world right now is seeing widespread uncertainty in all aspects of life but especially at work. With social distancing mandates in place, many businesses are shutting down or facing layoffs. 

So what does this mean for companies that still are able to hire and are looking for new talent? 

In a normal job market, it’s common to approach talented workers with an invitation to apply for positions within your organization. Many times, those candidates are willing to test the waters and gauge if the opportunity you’re offering them is better than where they are. Amid today’s unpredictable business world, however, workers are less likely to leave a sure thing for the unknown. 

If you’re responsible for talent acquisition, your recruits’ hesitancy to change jobs can make your work more difficult. 

If you’re finding that fewer candidates are willing to talk or see the hiring process through to the end, here are some ideas for addressing their hesitancy in this time of uncertainty and securing the talent your company needs.

1. Make the hiring process as smooth as possible.

Life is hard enough at the moment, so give job candidates a break and make your hiring process as easy as possible for them. If they are applying with any doubts, it’s all too easy to back out as soon as they hit an obstacle. 

Help them feel comfortable exploring opportunities with you by keeping the hiring process streamlined. Stay in contact to update them on developments or even offer advice for their application and interviews. It’s like being a good host. If you’re a good host, your “guest” is less likely to bolt!

2. Be informative. 

In addition to helping candidates feel welcome during the hiring process, you should help them feel welcome to the company. The less your candidates know about the organization, the less invested they’ll be in seeking a position there. 

Spend time introducing them to the company’s history, mission, values, achievements and culture. Tell them about social events and community outreach programs the company has hosted and exclusive perks that employees enjoy. Invite them to follow the organization on social media and in the news if applicable. 

You may not be able to show them around the office if people are working from home, but video meetings with employees involved in the hiring process or on the hiring manager’s team can give candidates a feel for who they could be working with and what the job is like. At every point, invite them to ask questions. 

The unfamiliar often leads to hesitancy, so the more information you can give promising candidates, the more comfortable they will feel while exploring opportunities with you.

3. Sweeten the deal. 

Job candidates need to know that a job is worth taking a risk for. If their current employment is secure for now, it’s difficult to ask them to jump ship for something less familiar. They may feel less able to assess your company’s future or feel some guilt for leaving their current employer when everything in the world is so precarious. 

Help them know that the opportunity you’re introducing is stable and beneficial. Be prepared to give proof of the company’s financial health and positive future projections. Also, anticipate negotiating salary and benefits. It’s already standard practice to offer incentives to top candidates when you want them to work for you. This is even more important at a time when many people are worried about their own finances. 

You may find it necessary to pay top dollar for valuable talent in today’s market.

4. Express understanding. 

Nobody likes to be pressured. Talent acquisition professionals sometimes get a bad rap for being pushy, which is a major turn off to most candidates. Many workers are under stress and facing significant challenges at the moment. They deserve to feel that you understand their feelings of hesitancy in accepting a new job. 

You can do this by having a candid conversation about their reservations and telling them you understand their point of view. Ask if there is more information you can give them to relieve their anxiety. Of course, you can’t see the future, but being transparent about the current state of the company goes a long way in making candidates comfortable making a decision. 

5. Call in reinforcements. 

It never hurts to have an ally on your side when you’re facing an unprecedented situation like hiring during a worldwide crisis. If your company is struggling to attract and secure the talent you need, talk to SelectOne. We are here to help organizations recruit candidates who fit, not just fill, their needs best.

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