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1st May, 2023

Tamaryn Wilde
Tamaryn Wilde
Job Title
Executive Consultant

Recruitment and the change process

When an individual goes through a significant change in their life, such as starting a new job or changing careers, they can experience a range of emotions and challenges.

To understand these challenges, the ‘Stages of Change Model’ was developed by Prochaska and DiClemente in the late 1970s and provides a framework for how people change their behaviour. This happens through a series of stages including pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.

Intrinsically, the recruitment process is one of change, and understanding this process can help employers better support candidates and ultimately ensure a smooth transition for new hires.

For hiring managers to successfully navigate the change process, it’s essential to first assess the applicant’s motivation to change. Motivation plays a critical role as it acts as the driving force behind a person's behaviour and determines how likely they are to commit to the process.

Some individuals may appear highly motivated at the beginning and move quickly through the contemplation and preparation stages, but to really ascertain their level of commitment and ensure a successful hire, its essential to ask the right questions throughout the hiring process and listen attentively. This is where motivational interviewing can help.

What is motivational interviewing?

Created in the 1980s by Miller and Rollnick, motivational interviewing (MI) is defined as: “A collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.”

MI is often used in counselling and healthcare settings to facilitate behavioural change but lends itself well to the hiring process as it helps interviewers explore a prospective employee’s motivations and make informed decisions. The technique emphasises adopting a non-judgemental attitude and employs the use of open-ended questions, allowing the interviewee to be open and honest about why they are considering a career change and what their perfect role looks like for them.

How to use motivational interviewing to secure top talent

1. Adopt an open mind

Have an open mind and non-judgemental attitude towards your applicant and always treat them with respect. This can help create a positive and supportive environment that encourages them to be more open and honest about their motivations, goals, and concerns.

2. Build rapport and establish trust

Motivational interviewing relies on building a strong relationship with the person being interviewed. Prioritise building rapport with your interviewee and establish trust early in the interview by demonstrating empathy, active listening, and respect for their autonomy. This will give them the space to explore their hopes and fears about the potential new role with you.

3. Identify the interviewee’s goals and values

Help your applicant identify their career goals and what they are looking for in an employer. To do this, ask open-ended questions and actively listen to their responses to gain a deeper understanding of their motivations and values.

4. Use reflective listening

Reflective listening is a technique used in MI that involves repeating what the person has said in your own words. This can help the hiring manager clarify their understanding of the candidate's goals and values and show that they have been heard and understood. Reflective listening can also help the interviewee feel more comfortable and open during the interview.

5. Identify potential obstacles and brainstorm solutions

MI is focused on helping individuals overcome obstacles to change. In the context of recruitment, this means helping candidates identify potential obstacles to joining the company and brainstorming solutions. Ask questions such as "What concerns do you have about this position?" and "How do you think we can address those concerns?" as this can help your potential employee feel more invested in the process and more motivated to find solutions.

6. Highlight the company's values and culture

Once the interviewer has a better understanding of their goals and values, they should then highlight how the company's values and culture align with the candidate's own. By doing so, the candidate will feel more connected to the company and more motivated to work there.

If you are looking for your next talented accountancy and finance professional to join your team, contact our specialist recruiters today.