In our latest blog, Cogito’s Head of Insights – Ruari Fangman discusses just what drives candidates to take their next role


In the dynamic world of recruitment, understanding what motivates candidates is the key to attracting and retaining top talent. Today, we’ll explore five pivotal motivators that our research suggests stand out in the minds of professionals seeking their next career move.

On our RPO programmes we use this motivators data to shape candidate attraction collateral & job ads to make them more likely to resonate with specific talent pools. When A/B testing tailored job ads vs generic job ads, in some cases this has led to an increase in quality applications by over 400%!

The five key motivators we have identified through our research are: Career progression, Flexible work, Interesting work (or the nature of the work), Location, and Salary increase. Let’s delve into each of these motivators to uncover how they shape the decision-making process for candidates.

Career Progression: Climbing the Professional Ladder

Career progression stands tall as a cornerstone of candidate motivation. Ambitious professionals are drawn to organisations that not only recognise their potential but also provide clear paths for advancement. Companies that invest in mentorship programs, skill development initiatives, and transparent promotion structures signal a commitment to fostering the growth of their employees. The promise of a challenging and rewarding career journey can be a powerful magnet for top-tier talent.

Flexible Work: Balancing Life and Career

The landscape of work has transformed, and flexibility has emerged as a non-negotiable for many candidates. Whether it’s the option to work remotely, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks, the ability to balance professional and personal life is a significant motivator. Organisations that embrace flexible work arrangements not only cater to the diverse needs of their workforce but also position themselves as employers who prioritize employee well-being.

Interesting Work: Nurturing Intellectual Curiosity

Beyond the paycheck, candidates seek roles that stimulate their intellect and tap into their passions. The desire for interesting and meaningful work is a potent motivator. Employers who can articulate the unique and challenging aspects of their projects create a compelling narrative that resonates with professionals seeking fulfilling roles. Showcasing innovation and the opportunity for continuous learning can set a company apart in the eyes of motivated candidates.

Location: Finding the Perfect Fit

The geographical aspect of a job is often underestimated but plays a crucial role in a candidate’s decision-making process. Some professionals prioritize proximity to family and friends, while others seek opportunities in specific urban or rural settings. Employers who understand and communicate the benefits of their location (or flexibility in terms of location!), whether it’s a bustling city or a tranquil countryside, can enhance their appeal to a broader pool of candidates.

Salary Increase: Recognising Value

While intrinsic motivators are essential, the significance of financial compensation cannot be overlooked. Competitive salaries, performance bonuses, and other financial incentives signify a company’s acknowledgment of its employees’ contributions. Employers who align their compensation packages with industry standards and demonstrate a commitment to rewarding excellence are likely to attract professionals who value their skills and experience appropriately.

In the competitive landscape of talent acquisition, recognising and addressing these five motivators can significantly enhance a company’s ability to attract and retain top talent. Career progression, flexible work arrangements, interesting job responsibilities, location considerations, and competitive salaries collectively form the foundation upon which successful recruitment strategies are built. By understanding and embracing these motivators, and how different talent pools are moved by them, organizations can create workplaces that not only meet the professional needs of their employees, but also stands to attract external talent and become an employer of choice.

To learn more about our candidate motivator data and the ways in which this can transform your recruitment performance, contact us here.

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