What Candidates Really Want

Updated: Aug 24, 2021


Now that we are at the middle of 2021, it’s fair to say that the ways in which we work

have drastically changed since those halcyon days of 2019.

Before we can move ahead, we have to address the current situation: as more and more vacancies go unfilled, candidates are becoming increasingly selective about the roles and organisations they wish to pursue.

Monster, and other companies, have interviewed a range of different jobseekers to compile their own statistics that break down why candidates make the decisions that they do. If we boil it down, there are four main sections we can look at which encapsulate candidates' thought processes when looking for a job.

  •  Pre-application,

  •  the application process,

  •  the assessment process,

  •  the company culture, ethos and benefits offer.

When you take a step back and look at each individual section and how candidates act within

each, it becomes clear what they want from an employer and how you can cater to their new

wants and values in a job advert and in your company’s internet presence.

Before The Application

Through their research, they found that most candidates, about 82%, will seek out a potential

employer’s website to find more information about who they would be working for. First

destination? The homepage, closely followed by the career page and then employee reviews

(Glassdoor), before finally, the company’s social media. It could be assumed that candidates

don’t want to waste time looking through pages upon pages to find every detail you may have

released to the internet – instead, going direct to the pages that show the most valuable

information, at least to them. Interestingly, a company’s social channels were the least popular option, with only 45% of the respondents saying they would research the social media for information on their possible employers.

This shows that candidates are becoming much more proactive about researching an

organisation’s culture before applying to the role. They want to understand the ethics and values of any company that they may be working for before any application is made.

While viewing the company’s website was the most popular option, most respondents would also go on to look at other options, 69% looking at the careers page as well. You should ensure that you present consistent messages throughout your all your media outlets, if you show inconsistences, it will show that you don’t pay attention and it may make it appear that you are just writing words. You should also consider what your past and current employees have said in their reviews, as 48% of respondents have said that they consider employee reviews when making their decisions: for better or for worse.

The Application Process

The length and complexity of your application process is also something that could easily turn a candidate away. Candidates prefer efficiency and simplicity above all else. Some respondents stating that they prefer to just upload their CV, or at least have the option to save what they have already filled in to minimise later difficulties. Several respondents said that having to input lengthy pieces of information into application portals when it’s already on a CV was tedious, they felt it made the process unnecessarily difficult.

Such problems could be solved by enabling an auto fill for when they have already applied for

jobs with your organisation, or simply allowing them to upload a CV. If you are unsure where your problem areas are, check your drop-off rates. If you can identify exactly what part of the application is causing what could have been the perfect candidate to simply give up, it will make changing it ten times easier.

“I prefer straight upload of my CV for job applications and no parsing, because often the

automated parsing puts information from my CV in the wrong areas...I will decide not to complete the application if it takes me more than 15 minutes to correct parsing errors.” - Survey respondent

You should always double check everything that you write if you cannot have someone else edit your copy. Small mistakes in grammar and spelling may not seem like the most pressing issue you may be dealing with but 72% of respondents felt that these small

mistakes reflected badly on an organisation. While it may not seem that important in the

moment, a quick once over of your copy may be all you need to help attract a candidate and make them want to join your organisation.

The Assessment Process

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, interviews may have been carried out using online tools. They are generally quicker and offer more flexibility, providing accessibility to candidates who, for a host of reasons, may not be able to travel. Despite these benefits, it’s been found that 62% of respondents still prefer face-to-face interviews - the leading age brackets for this preference are 65+, with 25-34 being the next most popular. This could be down to how much easier it is to build rapport with the interviewer when you are face to face with them. While it is true that most respondents do feel confident with all forms of interview, regardless of what your preference is, a company should be flexible enough to give candidates the freedom to choose what works best for them and their situation.

“One way video interviews have been a particularly terrible experience.” - Survey respondent

“Online interviews work really well and save time for everyone involved.” - Survey respondent

Another interesting factor that falls into The Assessment Process is what comes after the interview, specifically what the candidate expects from the interviewer. About 73% of responders said that they expect to be given detailed feedback without having to ask; they feel that it is common sense so that they know where their weaknesses lie. Statistics like this show that there are enough companies not giving feedback, for whatever reason, despite the continuous demand from candidates. They feel that even just a nod that they are rejected is better than being left waiting, having heard nothing.

“A lack of feedback post interview, either positive or negative is the best indication of an

organisation’s culture.” - Survey respondent

Company Culture & Perks

With the wide array of vacancies open to candidates now, pay and locations are not the only

things that they look for in a job – there are enough jobs available, that they have the luxury of being picky about which opportunities they pursue.

One thing they look for in the job description is the benefits, 70% of respondents agreeing that benefits were important deciders for them.

Benefits don’t have to break the bank. Here are a list of suggestions that you could consider, which could help attract the right talent to your team;

  • Real career development opportunities

  • Employee Assistance Program

  • Medical cover

  • Flexible working

  • Team building activities

  • Nights out and other social events

  • Charitable work and social outreach

To conclude this post, the abundance of vacancies available to jobseekers at this point in time has made them selective about the job they want and the companies that they are prepared to work for.

If your business is struggling to secure the right people, our suggestion is to take a look at what sets your organisation apart from similar businesses, any areas where the offer is lacking and then the improvements that can be made. Once that is done, the key is to ensure that your organisation communicates consistently, frequently and as openly as possible with jobseekers and potential employees throughout the hiring process.

​​Brian specialises in delivering recruitment projects for companies across the UK and is passionate about helping organisations to succeed by treating recruitment, development and retention of staff holistically.

Whether you're looking to grow or are finding it hard to attract the right candidates, Brian will be happy to meet with you to understand the challenges and discuss solutions that can help you achieve your growth plans while saving you the time and energy that you could otherwise use to focus on your business.

Get in touch with Brian for an informal chat about your needs

Schedule a Call

E: brian@therecruitmentgeeks.com

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