What Job Seekers Want — and Why You Should Care

There’s a common message we’re hearing from hiring managers and recruiters at the moment: “Finding great people seems to be getting harder.”

Regardless of the new technologies, recruitment strategies and a changing economy, it seems that there’s still a monumental war for talent.  To win it, and remain competitive, companies need to adapt and refine their recruitment strategy. To do this effectively requires access to the data and analytics that tell the real story, so you can make impactful decisions but also keep a close connection to what job seekers want.  Those that do, will have the best talent available knocking on their door instead of the competition’s. 

One key recruitment strategy that’s fast becoming a “must have” in your sourcing arsenal is talent pooling.  There used to be one place where you could reach the job seeking market, but now there are dozens if not hundreds.  A talent pool breaks your dependence on a third party site to attract the talent you want to tap into by building your own database of interested candidates. 

But it’s not enough to simply create a cloud-based filing cabinet of past applicants.  You need to use that resource to build an engaged community or, as we like to call it at JobGetter, a Job Network. The difference is a community is active, the people are choosing to engage with you and keep their data up to date so when you have a hiring need, you can connect with the right person quickly. If you’re simply filing away past applications, your data is out of date faster than milk spoils if left out of the fridge on a hot day — and is just as useless. 

The key to managing a healthy talent pool is engaging with the community of candidates regularly, on their terms and with content they actually want from you. 

JobGetter runs an annual job seeker survey to provide quantitative and qualitative research on the Australian job seeker experience so we know what people want and can share this with our employers. 

In a recent job seeker report, we focused on the candidate experience paying particular attention to what information they want from the companies they want to work for: 

24% Exclusive information about when/where they’re hiring next

20% General information about the company and what they like/stand for

16% Videos of the HR team and what they look for in candidates

12% Videos of existing staff explaining their jobs

10% Exclusive information about sales/special offers/competitions/events

9% Behind-the-scene pictures

7% Similar stuff that they post on Facebook but more work-related

2% Similar stuff that they post on Facebook

We recently leveraged this data and our insight into what job seekers want when helping Chatime Australia create their new recruitment marketing video shown below: 

Knowing what job seekers want is important, but so is what they don’t want.  Based on responses from the same survey mentioned above, job seekers are taking a stand against poor behaviour: 

42% of job seekers are less likely to apply to a company again if the hiring team did not send a “thank you” for applying email to confirm their application, while 8% would never apply again.

57% of job seekers are less likely to apply to a company again if the HR team did not send an email to tell them about the outcome of their application, while 21% would never apply again.

51% of job seekers are less likely to apply to a company again if someone accepted their application in-store but never acknowledged it after, while 25% would never apply again.

Based on the answers above, companies that do not invest in improving their candidate experience will clearly find themselves in strife when sourcing the best talent to drive their businesses because their talent pool will continue to shrink.  So, if you’re struggling to find supervisors or managers today, you may want to review how your treating your casual or entry-level candidates because they are the ones who will become your leadership talent later down the track.  If you’ve burned your bridges when they’re seemingly not as ‘valuable’ or hard to find, you could be creating a future sourcing headache for yourself.

On the other end of the spectrum, making a positive impression can do wonders for your Employer Brand.

83% of job seekers said they would be more likely to apply to a company again if they received an email to let them know they were unsuccessful that included personalised feedback about how to increase their chances next time.

In fact, the respondents valued personal feedback about their application more than material incentives such as discounts and special offers.  

There’s no doubt that a revolution is stirring amongst job seekers who want to find a job that works for them — and this isn’t just the Millennial generation.  All modern workers ideally want to work on their terms and find a company that offers them this opportunity which means that employers must adapt their recruitment processes and the way the entire business regards recruitment if they want to remain competitive and have access to top talent.

To find out what really matters to candidates, JobGetter asked respondents to list the top three things they look for when searching for a job. 

The most common answers were:

  1. Location – 46%
  2. Salary/Pay – 35%
  3. Hours/Availability – 23%

Of the respondents who entered “Location,” 12% specifically said they look for job that is “Close to home”.  Also notable, was how often the words “Decent”, “Fair” and “Reasonable” accompanied the “Salary/Pay” responses.

When the variety of responses are expanded to the top 50, the profile of the Australian Job Seeker truly takes shape because the answers not only highlight what matters most to them but also provides insight into what experiences they’ve had, as both employees and job seekers.

When analysing the answers to the above question, the following adjectives were most commonly used:

  1. “Friendly”
  2. “Flexible”
  3. “Fun”
  4. “Fair”
  5. “Decent”
  6. “Reasonable”
  7. “Nice”
  8. “Enjoyable”
  9. “Safe”
  10. “Equal”
  11. “Loyal”
  12. “Reliable”

From this list of responses, you get a sense that the majority of job seekers are selective about the companies they apply to, again supporting the concept of the “Consumer Candidate;” that is, job seekers today are savvy and like all educated consumers, they do their research. They look at your employment brand and they also look at your employee value proposition. 

The responses above paint the profile of a Dream Company as a supportive one that has a friendly team, a safe, fun and fast-paced environment and clear expectations.  This ideal employer also provides flexibility, opportunities to train and develop within the company and other meaningful benefits.  It’s also clear that diversity, equal opportunity and an alignment of values are important to today’s job seeker, because respondents listed things like company values and ethics.

You also get a sense that people crave stability. They do their due diligence to establish how long the company has been in operation, what the organisation’s goals are, its reputation, along with listing qualities like security and reliability.

In terms of the ideal job, respondents describe a role that is challenging yet suits their skill set; one that interests them, is enjoyable and provides satisfaction and a sense of meaning. 

It’s also interesting how many times respondents listed things relevant to the way the role is advertised.  There appears to be a rejection of nondescript job ads that fail to outline employer expectations or the profile of their ideal applicant. 

Job seekers also make judgement calls based on the application process, whether there is an assurance they’ll receive acknowledgement of their application and feedback and the date the job ad was posted.  This may be indicative of job seekers rebelling against jumping through inane hoops set up by employers to reduce their administrative burden, with little care for how it impacts the job seekers’ experience.

We recommend considering all of the above when outlining your recruitment strategy, your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and writing your job ads especially if you’re struggling to get applicants, or the right kind of applicants or have a high turnover rate that means you’re in a constant state of recruitment. 

Wrap Up

There is a real opportunity to leverage emerging technologies to dramatically improve efficiency in the recruitment process, while delivering incredible job seeker experiences through personalised 1:1 engagement.  But beware the platforms that are employer-centric, sit in silos and over promise and under deliver. They will do more harm than good.

By genuinely caring about what job seekers want and putting your candidates at the centre of your recruitment process, you’ll be better able to craft strategies that effectively deliver a consumer-quality experience for everyone that comes in contact with them.  And, you’ll successfully navigate the changes currently determining the future of work and who wins the war for talent.

The data above was collected as part of JobGetter’s 2016 Australian Job Seeker Report during which received both quantitative and qualitative survey responses from 1,706 active job seekers throughout Australia.

The survey asked the job seekers about their past and present job search, as well as their preferences and perceptions of recruitment practices.

At JobGetter, we pride ourselves in knowing what job seekers want so let us help you develop sustainable recruitment strategies and create custom content that will have mass appeal. Whether it’s a blog or your latest video — we can help! Read more or schedule a time to have a chat.


Leave a Comment