Talent is on the move. In recent months, the Labor Department has reported the largest number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs since they began keeping track two decades ago. And when those people embark on a search for a new job, what has changed? We wanted to understand the expectations – and reality – of today’s job seekers, so we did some research. We surveyed over 1,500 global employees and job seekers to learn what they’re looking for in the job application experience and how companies are measuring up – and falling short.
Candidates on the move – but unimpressed by what they see
A large majority – 84% of respondents – are looking for, or are open to, a new job in the next six months. But 60% of job seekers are unimpressed by time-consuming recruitment processes and are demanding companies create a more modern recruiting experience.
A major point of contention is how long it takes to go through the initial application. The length of the initial application is a factor for 66% of candidates in determining whether they’ll complete and submit it. And more than 70% of job seekers said they will not submit a job application if it takes more than 15 minutes to complete.
Candidates also are demanding faster responses from recruiters. Almost 58% of candidates expect to hear back from companies in one week or less regarding their initial application. Despite these expectations, many companies are failing to keep up. More than 75% of job seekers have been ghosted after an interview, never hearing from a company again.
Today’s candidates don’t just want quick responses, they’re also looking for meaningful interactions and actionable feedback from recruiters. Over 70% of job seekers say they want feedback on an interview.
More than 60% said that receiving feedback during the interview process, even if they did not receive a job offer, would make them more inclined to apply to future jobs at that company.
Candidates look closely at a company’s commitment to DE&I
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) remains critical for job seekers of all ages when applying for a role, with a large majority of candidates – 86% – considering a company’s investment in DE&I during the process. The most important DE&I investments candidates evaluate when considering a company are:
Employee benefits such as coverage for remote and flexible work arrangements and gender affirmation paid leave (49%)
Employee reviews on platforms like Glassdoor on progress and opportunities (47%) and a diverse leadership team or board (34%)
Promoting affinity/employee resource groups on the career page (34%)
Many companies are failing to create a positive and inclusive interview experience. Almost 43% of candidates have had their name mispronounced in a job interview. Pronouncing every candidate’s name correctly is not just common courtesy, it’s a crucial behavior for achieving true workplace inclusivity and creating a culture of belonging.
Role reversal between companies and candidates
“The results of our latest survey are a call to action for all companies. We’re in the midst of a real role reversal, and the talent pool has never been more selective and vocal about what they want from an employer,” said Greenhouse CEO and Co-founder Daniel Chait. “Whereas employers previously ruled out candidates for trivial issues like spelling errors on their resume, now it’s the candidates who are rejecting employers. Companies who are too slow in responding, are careless with how they treat candidates or who don’t show their commitment to DE&I are losing out on talent.”
As companies continue to face a tight labor market and the demand for talent intensifies, companies need to make the hiring process as seamless as possible for prospective employees. In 2021, the average Greenhouse customer created 46% more job listings than in 2020, meaning job seekers have more options in open roles available. In the same timeframe, the data shows the volume of applications per job has decreased by 21%, showing that it’s possible that candidates are becoming more selective as they search for jobs.
“In 2019, just before the start of the pandemic, we had historic low unemployment and just had hit the plateau of more jobs than those on unemployment,” said Tim Sackett, TA & HR Expert and President at HRU Technical Resources. “We should have predicted The Great Reshuffling, which is about opportunity. Opportunity for candidates who have been stuck in a job and company they didn’t like. Because now, it’s companies who are being interviewed by candidates.
From the job application process to your website and every communication touchpoint, candidates are making decisions on who they want to work for.
Companies need to up their game because those who deliver a great candidate experience and a great employee experience will reap the benefits of this shift to talent-first thinking.
–Tim Sackett, TA & HR Expert and President at HRU Technical Resources
The results are in: candidates have more choice – and more power – than ever. Job seekers who face lengthy initial applications, slow recruiter response times and follow-ups, unprepared and late interviewers, inconsistent feedback and ghosting will be quick to move on. To appeal to today’s talent, companies need a streamlined and structured hiring process that makes every candidate feel valued and respected.
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