Hiring for Retention: 4 Signs Someone Will Stick With Your Company


The 21st century has brought with it many changes for the world of business. The massive growth of the Internet has changed marketplaces, while automation is in the process of changing industries across the world. It’s also introduced a massive, rather troubling decline in employee loyalty that’s causing concern for many employers. In a 2012 Wharton School article, the lack of loyalty in the 21st century workplace was referred to as “workplace infidelity.”

Far from the stable employment most professionals expected just a decade or two ago, many of today’s professionals expect to spend just a year or two at each of their jobs before moving onward – and preferably upward – to a new employer.

Employers, responding to the change in employee priorities, have tried to adapt to an unprecedented level of employee turnover. In the 21st century, is it possible for an employer to know, with confidence, that an employee is truly loyal?

In this guide, we’ll share four signs that your hiring manager should look for in job candidates to judge their loyalty. From their professional history to their honesty, these four signs can indicate that a candidate is likely to stick with your company.

1. Their professional history is stable, with few quick departures. 

Many young professionals have longer resumes than their decades-older working counterparts. This is because a “long-term” career today is often viewed as a year, two years or three years at a specific employer before moving on.

Part of this is due to employee ambition, while another part is due to the high level of competition for top-performing professionals. If you’re hiring for a position that you requires loyalty, you should look for a stable and consistent resume.

People that spend more than three or four years in each of their positions are less likely to leave your business on short notice. In the event that they do leave, there’s a greater chance they’ll alert you far ahead of time to prevent creating a hole.

2. They value aspects of your company beyond compensation. 

Many hiring managers have noted that “job hoppers” – modern professionals that hop from one job to another constantly searching for a better and brighter career – tend to be motivated primarily by compensation.

If a job candidate is more interested in your company’s culture, its benefits packages or its innovative approach to doing business than they are to compensation, there’s a far lower chance of them jumping ship should a better opportunity appear.

One way to screen for this type of applicant is by focusing on the non-salary benefits of your job in your listing. This can self-select for applicants that are more interested in stability and professional loyalty than maximizing their salary in the short term.

3. They tell you the whole truth, not just the company line. 

Although this is difficult to assess during the application and interview process, it’s a hallmark of an employee interested in staying for the long term. Instead of agreeing with you on everything, they’ll openly share a different opinion for you to consider.

People interested in progressing up through the company and onto the next career opportunity will rarely buck from the company line. People interested in sticking it out with your company and helping it grow will offer honest and candid feedback.

Loyal employees know that their opinion matters, and they’ll share it with you if it could help the company. When an employee disagrees with you and follows it with an opportunity to improve things, they’re signaling their professional loyalty.

4. If they’re targeted by a recruiter, they let you know. 

As with the above characteristic, this is difficult to screen for during the process of hiring someone. However, if while working with you an employee is targeted by a recruiter or another company and they inform you, they’re likely very loyal.

Top-performing professionals are often targeted by recruiters, as they’re a highly valuable commodity for businesses. Ladder climbers may leave at the first sign of better compensation, while more loyal employees will speak to you openly.

They provide you with alternatives, whether in the form of matching their potential compensation or offering additional benefits. If they do leave – and sometimes even the most loyal employees do – they do so in a way that doesn’t hurt your company.