The Psychology of Job Search

Career changes are among the most stressful life decisions in people’s lives. Unfortunately for us humans, we’re wired to resist change and have a tendency to overestimate the risks associated with change.
Last week Chris McDonald, Managing Director for Indeed Australia and New Zealand  and Todd Davis Head of Talent Acquisition for, discussed the psychology of job search, and how understanding the emotional process can shape your talent attraction strategy. The recording of the recording of this webinar can be accessed on demand here.
Don’t feel like watching? Take a look at our 10 second snapshot of what you missed below. When you’re done, don’t forget to sign up for the last webinar in this series, Future Proofing Your Strategy with Chris and Mike Bailen, Director of Recruiting at Eventbrite.
Mike Balen - Lrg Banner


Most of the talent pool is ‘Pactive’

Nearly everyone is ‘pactive’ (passively active) in terms of being open to a new job. For recruiters this means that the talent pool is huge and thus their recruitment marketing and sourcing activities are more important than ever.

Candidates must make at least 7 major decisions before they become an employee with your company


Click to see whole image
Click to see whole image


  1. The first thing on the left is they need to consider a change. They need to make the decision to be open to other opportunities. This is the most important and the hardest step of all.
  2. Next they need to consider your company and see whether it might be a good fit for them.
  3. They then hone in on the specific position that they’re applying to or being recruited for, and assess the fit to their skills and goals.
  4. Now they need to take action and apply for  the job.
  5. If they get an interview, they need to commit to your interview process and steps going forward.
  6. If they’re lucky enough to get an offer, they need to accept the offer.
  7. Lastly, after accepting they need to actually turn up to their first day.


The problem?

Research shows that most people will overestimate the risks associated with a change. We tend to focus on the probability of failure when thinking about any type of change, especially a career change.
AU_Science of Talent Attraction_Q3 2015 ATC_pt22

How do we get people to take the first step?

The research shows that people are willing to go through the steps of change by 2 key things.

1. When they’re inspired by a new company or opportunity

2. When they’re disillusioned with their current work.

Candidates believe it’s important to direct their job search

AU_Science of Talent Attraction_Q3 2015 ATC_pt2

‘Pactive ‘candidates are ready for change

The research shows that these actively passive candidates are ready for change and have taken the actions to begin the multi-step psychological process.. They want to find a new opportunity of best fit and hence are more likely to find a good match and be successful.


Candidates are looking for good play, flexibility, location and meaningful work.

Most candidates focus mostly on three things, on good pay and compensation, a good location and flexibility (both which related to time) and doing meaningful work.

Don’t Forget To Register!

Mike Balen - Sml Banner

Webinar 3 – Future Proofing Your Strategy

How can you future proof your talent attraction strategy? How can you use data to optimise your online recruiting efforts?

Related articles

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up to our newsletter

Get a weekly digest on the latest in Talent Acquisition.

Deliver this goodness to my inbox!