What Do Candidates Actually Want?





What Do Candidates Actually Want?
23 Jan 2017

What Do Candidates Actually Want?

There’s good news for companies and hiring managers looking to expand their teams -  The number of candidates looking to change jobs and expand their career prospects is growing. Within the last four years, the number of active jobseekers has increased by 36% according to the 2015 LinkedIn Talent Trends report. But it’s not only the number of active candidates seeking new roles that has increased:

  • Warm passive candidates (those reaching out to a personal network and open to talking to a recruiter) have increased by 16%
  • Super passive candidates (those happy in a role and not looking to move) have decreased by 55%

The report questioned seven million LinkedIn members who changed companies last year. With such significant numbers looking for new challenges – and more following suit every day – it is essential that hiring managers understand what it is that new candidates are looking for.

So what do candidates actually want?

1. Candidates Want Career Opportunities

A concern for career advancement can determine whether an employee stays within a position or seeks out alternative employment. The desire for better career opportunities was listed as the top reason for individuals leaving a role, with 45% of candidates leaving a role due to this concern, and 50% of candidates accepting a job offer because it offered a stronger career path.

Yet firms are still having a hard time getting top talent to respond to career postings. This is largely because they fail to align the potential of a role at their company with candidate career aspirations.

Organisations need to infuse their value proposition with messages about opportunity. For example job descriptions should be crafted around the career opportunities that a role at their company can offer, rather than simply outlining the role requirements and compensation benefits. Employers should also promote testimonials from current employees acting as advocates for the company and demonstrating real life examples of career progression to potential employees. Investing in training and advertising such offerings will also be key in securing the most ambitious individuals.

2. Candidates Want Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is also a key driver for whether an individual stays in a company or moves onto greener pastures. In the same LinkedIn survey, 36% of individuals left a job as they were unsatisfied with the work environment/culture; for 39% of individuals, a belief in a company’s direction was what spurred them into accepting a new role.

Candidates ultimately want to know what it’s truly like to work for an organisation. Here are a few ways that employers can achieve this:

i. Ensure your Employer Branding is on point

The top obstacle to candidates truly understanding a company’s culture is the lack of information regarding the day-to-day reality of working for them. Use your Employer Brand to communicate what it’s like to work at your firm by creating valuable content to showcase your company culture and promoting this via relevant channels. Use examples and images to bring your employer brand to life and create platforms through which candidates can have their questions about the firm answered.

ii. Scale up your message through Brand Ambassadors

Job seekers love looking at profiles of your current employees on LinkedIn and their testimonials on Glassdoor, so a great way to deliver your brand’s message is through the profiles and testimonials of your very own employees. Encourage your employees to update their profiles with information about your firm, actively share content posted by your organisation and provide testimonials on sites such as Glassdoor.

iii. Keep your messaging consistent

With over one quarter of candidates reporting that they receive inconsistent and unclear communications from a company during the recruiting process, it’s imperative to keep your messaging consistent. Ensure all content creators and employees themselves are briefed on your company vision to ensure you maintain consistent messaging across all channels.


Increased preference for small firm culture

Additionally LinkedIn’s survey also found a significant candidate preference towards smaller organisations resulting in a number of large organisations losing out on top talent to smaller competitors. Impact, vision and culture are deemed more important than pay and this is helping small businesses secure high-calibre candidates. Larger firms should therefore seek to adopt the traits of smaller organisations, and small firms should play-up these benefits.


3. Candidates Want A Challenge

Thirdly, professionals are looking for a challenge. Over a third of respondents to the LinkedIn survey said they left their role as they wanted more challenging work, and nearly half of the respondents said they accepted a role as it promised to push them further. Additionally, the most ambitious of candidates look for their skills and expertise to be properly utilised - nearly half of the respondents accepted an offer as it was a better fit for their skills and interests.

In line with this, one in three people who changed jobs entered not only a new company, but a new function, too. Such “career changers” seek to match their transferable skills and experiences to new challenges and interests and are often the most passionate and engaged candidates, bringing new ideas and energy into organisation.  When sourcing and screening candidates it’s important to consider such “career changers” as these profiles can often add the most value to your firm.


4. Candidates Want Compensation

Finally, compensation cannot be overlooked when determining what candidates want. Although compensation and benefits was listed as the fifth and sixth most cited reasons for leaving a role, it is the second most cited reasoning for joining a company.

As the job market strengthens, employers must be prepared to pay more for candidates – not necessarily in terms of salary (although 74% do receive more when entering a new role), but in terms of additional benefits too.


What do different generations want?

Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers all have different expectations when it comes to new job roles. The top concern for Millennials (ages 18-35) is  lack of opportunities for advancement and actively seek new challenges, whereas Gen X (Ages 36-50) and Baby Boomers (Ages 51+) are most concerned with the leadership of senior management officials.

Tailor your job postings to your target demographic to attract more relevant candidates. Sell to Millennials on how their hunger for career advancement and new challenges will be met; and appeal to Gen X and Baby boomers by advertising the quality of senior management and the inspirational direction of an organisation.


What to different genders want?

LinkedIn’s report also found there to be a difference between why women and men seek to change roles. Women are more concerned by poor leadership from senior management, a poor work culture and an unequal work/life balance, and were found to be more likely than men to leave a position if these three aspects were below par. With workforce diversity becoming increasingly important across all industries, firms can see to attract more women by highlighting quality leadership, addressing culture fit, and improving work/life balance.


It’s true that while the candidate pool is rife with talent, those seeking new career opportunities are becoming less afraid to ask for what they want and are seeking only the most promising roles. Salary is no longer the key deciding factor and employers need to take all aspects of working life into the equation when crafting new roles and trying to attract individuals of the highest calibre.

For more information about attracting and security candidates for your organisation, contact Selby Jennings today.

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