The Basics of Talent Acquisition

As a tech-focused recruitment firm helping build teams that drive growth across Sales, Marketing, and Product, we invest a tremendous amount of time refining our skills.

Since no one ever went to university for a degree in Executive Search, our industry has come up with clever ways to mentor junior Recruiters and build recruitment best practices.

One of the basics of recruiting, we teach every junior Recruiter on our team, is called CLAMPS. CLAMPS is an abbreviation originally cited by interview guru and author MJ Yate. CLAMPS is an abbreviation of the six reasons candidates consider leaving a job.

Why is their reason for leaving so foundationally important?

When it comes to recruiting and interviewing for venture-backed startups, we have learned that the natural inclination is to be excited and talk about the company. Its last venture raise, new anchor customer win, or latest high-profile exec to join the ELT.

While that is all great, and we agree everyone needs to sell their organization, getting to the heart of what is motivating a candidate to change jobs helps to ensure the interviewer and the interviewee are aligned and, therefore, most likely to achieve the desired outcome - a successful hire.

Similar to an AE trying to close a customer, if the interviewer does not understand the core pain or reason a candidate is 'open to an opportunity,' they aren’t able to communicate how their opportunity can address and mend that pain.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the CLAMPS model to better understand a candidate’s pain:


  • General dissatisfaction?
  • Is the scope of work not intellectually challenging?
  • Do they feel too much pressure in their current role?
  • Or do they think they have the capacity for more?


  • Is their employer applying "be in the office" pressure?
  • Perhaps they want to be in an office, but the commute is too far or their current company went fully remote.
  • Is there a big move upcoming?


  • Does the candidate work for a startup with little upward advancement possibility since everyone reports to the two CoFounders?
  • Was the candidate overlooked for a promotion and now feels the need to leave?


  • Money is a complicated reason for leaving. Generally speaking, for most candidates, money is not the only reason.
  • Of course, everyone wants more compensation, but that should not be their sole motivation for change.
  • If money is the only reason someone is willing to leave a job, then that is an unsteady employee. Next higher offer, they are out of there.


  • Conflict with a boss or coworker?
  • Do they have a new boss who is bringing in their people?
  • The leader who hired them left the company, so no connections keep them there.
  • Everyone is jumping ship.
  • Significant culture changes.


  • Was their employer acquired, and now the future is uncertain?
  • The seed-funded startup didn't secure Series A?

Understanding the core reason a candidate is planning to leave their current employer will help a hiring manager better engage in a meaningful discussion about why their company and position are a great fit. Understanding and aligning with a candidate's needs will increase the likelihood that they feel heard, valued and excited to join.

As a recruitment firm with 20+ years of experience, the CLAMPS model is a reliable and easy tool to help better assess candidates and more successfully fill positions.


Are you nearing the end of the selection process but can't decide between two great candidates? Here are some practical steps to help you pick the right hire.