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A candidates experience. What are candidates looking for in companies?

Posted in General News on 23rd November 2021

Its 2021 and we are in a job market where the unemployment rate is slowly heading in the right direction after the turmoil of the previous year. We are currently in a hugely candidate driven market so it’s absolutely paramount to understand the needs & expectations of a candidate during this time. Over 63% of job seekers will likely reject a job offer – regardless of how lucrative – because of a bad candidate experience so creating an engaging process highlighting the many virtues of your businesses will go a long way to creating the kind of attention needed in this market.

An effective candidate experience can also be an invaluable tool in helping to increase brand awareness. A recent study showed that 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer brand has a significant impact on the hiring ability of your company. Furthermore, an additional 39% of recruiting leaders say that employer brand will be a long-lasting trend to focus on in the near future.

Acting sufficiently and consistently with the finer details of your hiring process can go a long way to earning you a very valuable reputation in a market where candidates have so many opportunities to discuss their experiences through the innumerable platforms available to them nowadays. Put simply, creating an unforgettable experience for the candidate is key. Companies need to show great initiative in highlighting their USP’s, career progression opportunities and why they should be considered first choice given the current levels of competition for talent.

Equally important is embracing an efficient, speedy and two-way hiring process with constant & consistent communication at the forefront of the experience. Only then are you likely to stand a fighting chance of securing those critical business hires.  

Let’s explore several factors that candidates value in a company:

A healthy work-life balance:

Many jobseekers nowadays are seeking roles which offer some degree of flexibility and a work-life balance that accommodates their lifestyle. Recent studies have shown that 80% of workers say they would turn down a job that didn’t offer some degree of flexible working.

Recently, we have seen a trend of polls on LinkedIn regarding the length and flexibility of the 5-day working week. Results clearly show a trend whereby the majority of people would prefer an improved work-life balance in contrast to the standard 9-5, 5 day a week regime we’ve all been so accustomed to over the years.

A healthy work-life balance is clearly now seen as a deciding factor in the perceived happiness of the modern day workforce and the pandemic has served to focus the minds of many as to how unsustainable the old-hat “work, work, work” mentality had become.

An organisations’ approach to a healthy work-life culture is now a key factor when it comes to considering job offers and a lot of businesses struggle when finding a solution to this problem often seeing it as the employees’ issue to resolve. Incorrect, a business should absolutely see it as their responsibility to incorporate a work-life balance within their culture. Managing directors may fear embedding a sense of life into work will affect employee’s output and depth when as a matter of fact, it will ameliorate progress and volume.

Corporations can easily improve the work-life balance & culture for employees with simple measures like an early finish for one day during the week. Even the creation of a no phone call policy during certain times of the day can encourage employees not to overwork themselves. Candidates are actively looking for companies who value the mental wellbeing of their employees as part of the overall employment package.

Did you know that over 21% of working hours are spent on entertainment, news and social media? By offering a flexible schedule you could reduce this amount and keep the focus on work instead. Studies show 41% of workers feel burnt out from work with 45% feeling emotionally drained so implementing more flexibility into the working regime can serve to increase the productivity of your workforce whilst aiding their general wellbeing.

The pandemic has shown that, with some exceptions, the majority of work can be completed whilst accommodating some degree of home working and such policies need to persist. This may be an ad-hoc or hybrid scheme or allowing permanent WFH options in some instances. If you’re not offering at least some level of permanent remote working options as part of your package, you’re instantly on the back foot when it comes to hiring. In 2021, 86% of employees say they would prefer to continue working from home, at least part term when offices reopened.

Rewarding work with opportunities to grow

Are you providing job roles that allow your employees to feel like they are completing rewarding and engaging work? Are they able to see a clear, structured plan of progression? If not then you might find you have a problem with employee retention as they will often see this lack of progression opportunity as a valid reason to seek work elsewhere.

The most sought after talent out there will always be focussed on opportunities that will allow their careers to flourish particularly after the setbacks of 2020 where a lot of the downtime saw the most proactive employees taking it upon themselves to upskill. As the economy starts to move once more, they want to ensure that effort is sufficiently rewarded.

We have also witnessed a huge shift in the past decade whereby employees are continuously looking for more ways to add substance and value to their work in order to make a difference – Glassdoor studies show that 70% of employees say that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. This is contrasted by only 15% of frontline managers and frontline employees saying that they are living out that purpose at their place of work. Employees become distant and aloof if they feel like their hard work is not being appreciated or noticed. Organisations who value their employees work and allow them to do their job without micromanagement will have a higher success rate. Job seekers want to know you have a plan to assess productivity and free reign to make full use of their  passions in the workplace.

One way organisations can look to achieve this is by making a point of reviewing their job descriptions frequently to ensure the daily duties entailed in each role on offer are maximising that feeling of reward everyone is looking for. By practicing this, organisations can re-evaluate their vacancies and explore ways to adapt the role to always ensure engagement from the incumbent.

As we fall into 2022, organisations should also be prioritising weekly incentive ideas to congratulate employees for their achievements to ensure they don’t seem unnoticed. Providing frequent assessments as well as associated promotion opportunities should also, obviously, be a given.  Promotions allows people to continually learn and upskill themselves whilst hugely increasing their perceived sense of value & worth to the team. No loss there, right?

Embracing culture as part of the bigger picture

79% of job seekers will consider a company’s mission statement before applying so promoting the vision and brand identity of your company is imperative. You can expect any worthwhile candidate to have spent considerable time investigating your ethos across every conceivable social media platform available so time must be spent ensuring they all sing from the same hymn sheet.

As mentioned above, having an adequate rewards package for your employees is integral to attracting candidates and will entice your best performers to stay for the long haul. It has been reported that 60% of people report benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer alongside clear indications of potential salary (50%). This indicates the importance of being honest about the salary and pay benefits when advertising a job role as part of the drive to improve the overall candidate experience. Did you know that job listings which include a salary range attract 75% more clicks than those that don’t?

Graph showing what percentage of job seekers are influence by the benefits and perks. 60% are influenced.
Benefits and perks

Two-thirds of job seekers also say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. It is imperative that organisations make efforts to create a diverse workforce, as in reality this will create a superior workforce which will produce the highest quality work. In a recent survey of working millennials, 83% said they felt engaged at work when they believed the organisation they worked for adopted an inclusive culture.

There is no debate when it comes to the importance of employees feeling valued and included in the workplace, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. Safety is of more worth than speed, and there is no hurry. Around 1 in 3 employees and job seekers (32%) would not apply to a job at a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce. If you want to attract the best talent pool towards your organisation, then it is extremely important to evaluate your companies’ culture and diversity. The workplace should be a safe place for every single worker and no individual should ever be placed in a position of discomfort or discrimination.

Grid showing percentages of BAME workers and the influence companies' diversity has on their employment decisions.
Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

To wrap up…

The hiring process is evolving in all aspects with candidates needs changing and growing as we shift into a remote, more flexible world. The procedure of addressing candidates’ concerns should be a high priority for organisations if they want to make sure they don’t miss out on the talent they need to take their offering to the next level. Expectations are high amongst todays workforce, particularly beyond the obvious aspect of financial gain and this needs to be front & centre of every company’s hiring strategy.

The pandemic has shifted people’s mindset and candidates in 2021 are really starting to recognise their value within the market. Put a realistic value on that worth and add tax. It is a simple as that really. If you are not using your initiative and time to revaluate your organisations brand identity and culture then quite frankly you are not capable of managing the greatest talent out there and difficult times could well lie ahead for you.

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