Why asking candidates for long commitments is a bad idea

Anton Korenyushkin
August 27, 2020

When you’re looking for a new tech hire, you definitely want the collaboration to last for years, not months. So why don’t you ask candidates to commit to working for you for a few years before making them an offer? Maybe even ask for such a commitment in writing?

Unfortunately, doing that might not be the best idea. The right to choose your employer is even stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN, article 20 – freedom of association.

If you try to restrict this right, you can heavily damage your HR brand. Candidates are unlikely to accept such a condition and even if they do, you’d have no way to enforce it. The employee rights are protected by the International Labor Organization and local regulations.

So, what should you do instead to make your colleagues stay with you for years? Here are a few tips:

  • provide healthy work conditions, encourage transparency and discourage politics;
  • implement effective processes, so that people aren’t stuck at their jobs;
  • make sure there’re enough interesting and challenging tasks for your tech people;
  • try to understand candidates’ motivation to join your company and pay special attention to job hoppers;
  • provide options and other benefits for those that stay with you for long

To summarize: imposing unenforceable requirements such as forcing a commitment for a long period of time actually sends the wrong message to candidates and will likely scare them off. You’re better off using other means to ensure their long term loyalty.

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