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Do Candidates Only Value Money and Titles?

Season 4, Episode 6:


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This week on Recruiter Fuel, Steve sits down with Recruiter, Tim Frendo, to dive into a heated discussion that Steve had amongst his seasoned recruiter colleagues about candidates.

Candidates today, especially millennials, are focused on two things: money and title.

In Tim’s experience, he would have to disagree, “You have to evaluate what they really want. I’ve worked with people that have had high titles that took less money because they’re looking for something closer to home. They’re looking for something that will give them a better experience. They’re looking for something to get excited about when they go to work.” Tim continues to explain, “It’s not just about going to work, and being the director of whatever, and making six figures. It’s ‘I’m actually making a difference and I’m doing something that I can be excited about every morning going to work.’”

Are there people that have title and money as the only thing driving them?

Tim said that might be the case, but that’s why recruiters need to take the time to talk to their candidates and figure out what they’re actually looking to do. Recruiters also need to take the time to meet with the client to understand what they want so when they work with candidates they can make the right connection. “If that person only wants title and money, then they’re going to be gone for the next title and money when that opportunity comes up,” said Tim.

Steve has also experienced candidates that were solely focused on title and money, which brought up another question.

Do you generally find that there is something deeper that is spurring it?

“ It’s about money, but it’s more of, you guys don’t pay me enough to put up with this crap.”

Tim agreed that he sees a lot of that, but it can also depend on what the company is offering as far as benefits and other perks.

There are a lot of underlying factors that can determine why a candidate is only looking at the job title. Are they currently working somewhere where the job title means a lot? They could end up at another company where the job title is irrelevant to what they’re doing. Is it a title because the HR at their current company has pay scales based on what title you have?

Tim has seen all sorts of crazy titles come across his desk when looking for candidates; one example - Technology Consultant 4. Meaning what exactly? Tim said it depends on the organization. When he asked the candidate to elaborate on the title; they’re a Business Analyst. Tim suggested changing their resume to say “Business Analyst” because no one will know what a Technology Consultant 4 is. Tim says, “Titles like that are really for HR to put you in a pay scale. In that organization, title might mean more money but other organizations, it’s different.”

Is it bad for title to drive someone’s career goals?

“No, because you have a goal on what you want to accomplish,” said Tim. He continued, “As you start to get experience you’ll start to realize the title doesn’t really mean much. It’s really about what you’re doing day in, day out that matters. Your goals will change.” Tim mentioned that for someone in recruiting, it’s helpful to understand the different titles and what they mean within the marketplace.

“There will be recruiters watching this that have been in the business over 25 plus years, and some are going to say, Tim you’re wrong, the only thing that people want is money. People will do almost anything if you pay them enough money. Money makes the difference.”

Tim said that’s great, but when he works with candidates, he tries to understand what’s most important to them. He’s not just trying to put someone in a position because they get a good title and a bump in salary. “I want to make sure I build a relationship with the candidates and make sure they’re in the right spot. People can take title and pay but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be happy in what they do.”

What about third-party recruiters that get paid more, the higher the salary is. How do you balance your pay with, “it’s not a money thing?”

“It’s about relationships,” Tim replied. “I could submit somebody over for the maximum rate and get the most amount of money from the client possible, but is that really helping the client or the candidate? We are in a relationship business and if you’re doing that over and over again, you’re not going to be able to go back to that client or work with that candidate.”

In Steve’s experience, when someone is focused on money and title, he wants to find the underlying reasons why.

Money and title are symptoms of bigger problems.

Too often recruiters get lazy and don’t try to find out why they want more money or why they want a better title.

Tim’s last word of advice to wrap up the conversation? If recruiters don’t have the time to find out the underlying problems… send them his way!


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Recruiter Fuel is a weekly video series dedicated to all-things recruiting and talent acquisition. Learn more about our mission and how you can submit a topic, be featured in an episode, or nominate an expert to guest star on an upcoming episode.

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