Close this search box.

Current Region & Language

People2.0 branded globe with hands

Understanding a Candidate’s Non-Monetary Motivators, Part 1


If you’re applying techniques shared in a previous blog, “Qualifying Candidates and Compensation Conversations,” then you’ve navigated through the initial monetary portion of the candidate interview and have established with the candidate realistic salary expectations.

So, the opportunity still appeals to them? They continue to be a viable candidate you could be interested in presenting to your client? Great! Proceed to understand the non-monetary motivators.

Remember, to satisfy the golden rule of recruiting, a candidate must:

  1. Have 90% of the skills you/your client are seeking
  2. Be willing to work inside the salary range that the client specified
  3. Be motivated by something other than money

You can determine the first two components by reviewing their resume and candidate information sheet and asking the right probing questions in the first phase of qualifying interview. Gathering feedback to clarify how a candidate is motivated beyond salary compensation is an essential next step.

Why is this important? Because your best candidate is someone who not only can do the job, but also wants to do the job – and they have to want it for more than money. Those who are only interested in the opportunity because of money are the ones who accept counteroffers at the end.

Answers Must Align

Here’s the key question you ask the candidate now: What is it about this opportunity that’s made you decide to pursue it?

Listen very carefully to how the candidate answers. Because whatever they answer, you’re going to match it up against the four primary non-money motivators:

  1. Quality of Life – For example, does their answer refer to working less hours and fewer Saturdays so they can attend more of their child’s sporting events?
  2. Responsibility/Challenges of the Position – Do they describe being underutilized in current position or that they’re ready to grow into greater responsibility?
  3. Advancing Career Path – A candidate may explain, for example, that they’ve advanced as much as possible at their current employer and need to move on in order to move forward in their career.
  4. Geography – Perhaps in their answer they mention that the job opportunity’s location is only a 10-minute commute, or it’s in city they’ve also dreamed of living.

If they’re answer to your question doesn’t align with at least one of those points, then you’re going to ask about those aspects specifically. For example, you might say, “Mary, you’ve had time to think about the job description thoroughly. How do you feel about your ability to actually be good at the job?” Their answer to that probing question may align with the motivator about challenges or career path.

During this conversation about non-monetary motivators, take detailed notes about their answers because you’re going to use that information to sell back to them the position as you continue to present the opportunity during negotiations.

If the candidate is proving to be a viable fit for your opportunity, then you’ll want to read Part 2.

Related Posts